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NHL Winter Classic

Stars have confidence in ability to rally

Score four straight goals, including three in third, to top Predators in Winter Classic

by Tracey Myers @Tramyers_NHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

DALLAS -- It's not the most ideal situation, but when the Dallas Stars have trailed after two periods this season, they haven't panicked.

That's understandable, considering how good the Stars have been at coming back in games, and they did it again on Wednesday when they scored four straight goals, including three in the third period, to defeat the Nashville Predators 4-2 at the 2020 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Cotton Bowl Stadium. 

"We have that confidence," Stars forward Tyler Seguin said. "We'd like to have better starts. Again, some penalties (tonight), you don't want to get them but that's out of your control in some ways. We'd like to have better starts, but we have the comeback games, we have that confidence."

 

[RELATED: Complete 2020 NHL Winter Classic coverage]

 

For the Stars, who are 7-10-1 when trailing after the second period, the most wins in the NHL, it was their third straight game in which they used a third-period rally. On Saturday, they trailed 2-1 entering the third before topping the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 in a shootout. The following day, Dallas trailed 2-0 before scoring four unanswered goals in the final frame to defeat the Arizona Coyotes.

"We just keep the game simple in the third period, just chip pucks," Stars forward Radek Faksa said. "We have great speed on the forecheck and we're getting a lot of chances from the forecheck. I think we outskated the teams and I would say we have more energy, too. So that's why we're winning the third periods."

On Wednesday, the Stars again fell behind 2-0 following a 5-on-3 power-play goal by Predators forward Matt Duchene at 5:46 into the first period, and a 5-on-4 power-play goal by defenseman Dante Fabbro at 7:36.

But this time, Dallas said its big spark didn't happen in the third period, but late in the second when forward Blake Comeau cut it to 2-1 with 1:08 remaining.

Video: NSH@DAL: Comeau finishes off the feed from Dickinson

"We settled in," Stars forward Jason Dickinson said. "I think the first period, obviously the five-minute penalty, the 5-on-3, it's hard to kind of get our game going in that situation because we know they're excited, they're out there moving the puck around well and they score a couple of goals. Now all of a sudden, it looks like we're playing a really bad game. But we felt like we were going well. It was just a matter of they got the chances early and they capitalized. From there, we took over and we forced our card and played our game."

The Stars also took advantage of the Predators being without defenseman Ryan Ellis, who left the game 2:44 into the first period with an upper-body injury after he was elbowed in the head by Corey Perry, who was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct.  

"When Ellis was out -- it's unfortunate for him and their team -- they have five defensemen and when guys are playing more minutes, you're able to grind them down a little bit more," Stars forward Andrew Cogliano said. "So I think that led to us getting some more momentum, getting some zone time, but the goal at the end of the second really helped everyone. We took a deep breath because we hadn't scored yet, and it's a type of game when you want to score some goals for the fans. That was huge."

Miro Heiskanen would go on to score 58 seconds into the third period to tie the game 2-2 before Alexander Radulov (5:06) and Andrej Sekera (6:35) helped complete the Stars comeback, and cause the Predators to feel like they let one slip away.

Video: NSH@DAL: Stars erupt for three goals in 3rd for lead

"This game, it didn't feel like just a regular-season game. It felt like something bigger," Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne said. "So I feel like that makes it a little bit worse and makes it sting a little bit more than it would."

Although the Stars would rather keep from falling behind in games, they know if they do, they've got the ability to answer.

"We had chances, and you always want that first one to go in," Dallas forward Mattias Janmark said. "It gives you more trust in it, and that's what happened. In the third, I think we rolled over them."

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