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First Round

Stars rediscover power play in Game 4 win against Predators

More aggressive approach produces three goals in first period

by Tracey Myers @TraMyers_NHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars talked about their power play during meetings on Tuesday. It was frustrating enough that they weren't scoring on it in the Western Conference First Round, but they were generating little momentum off it.

Still, they felt the talk would lead to results, and it did. The Stars scored three power-play goals in the first period in their 5-1 win against the Nashville Predators in Game 4 at American Airlines Center on Wednesday.

"I thought it was the puck movement, the convergence on the net, and then retrieving pucks afterward," Stars coach Jim Montgomery said. "I thought we outworked their penalty kill."

 

[RELATED: Stars score four in first period to beat Predators | Complete series coverage]

 

The best-of-7 series is tied 2-2, with Game 5 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Saturday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVAS).

It was the first time the Stars scored three power-play goals in one period of a playoff game since they relocated to Dallas in 1993-94. The Stars were 1-for-13 with the man-advantage in the previous three games.

Dallas hadn't scored a goal in the first period in the series and was last in the NHL in first-period goals during the regular season with 39.

Video: Stars shine on power play in early stages of Game 4

It was a frustrating night for the Predators, who took seven penalties and were 3-for-6 on the penalty kill.

"We're always an accountable group," Predators forward Ryan Johansen said. "That's why we've been successful the last few years. Just with the way we compete and sometimes your stick gets a little careless. You're a little unlucky. You go to the box and they make you pay. That's on us and we've got to find ways to clean than up."

Montgomery said after the 3-2 loss in Game 3 that the Stars needed to be more proactive on the power play. He was particularly frustrated when they had five shots during a 5-on-3 for 1:29 but failed to score. He said they needed to have better spacing and attack more.

Video: Clutch Performance: Stars net three PPGs in Game 4

Defenseman John Klingberg, who had three assists, said the message was received.

"It's easy to say yes because we scored three power-play goals," Klingberg said. "But I think we created a lot of different shots and rebounds they had to turn around and try to find, and that's where we made plays. We brought the puck to the net, we were in attacking mode today."

Roope Hintz scored the first power-play goal from above the left circle for a 1-0 lead at 3:42. Alexander Radulov scored the second, off a face-off, at 4:58 to make it 2-0.

Video: NSH@DAL, Gm4: Radulov doubles the lead with PPG

Mats Zuccarello scored the third from the slot, off a pass from Klingberg, for a 4-0 lead at 13:45. Zuccarello's goal marked the end of the night for Predators goalie Pekka Rinne, who was pulled after allowing four goals on eight shots.  

The Stars thought they were going in the right direction despite the loss in Game 3, but they needed to get their power play going. They were reminded in Game 4 of the difference it can make.

"It can give us momentum," defenseman Esa Lindell said. "It's how we play and manage that power play. It can make a big difference like today. Those two first goals made a big impact on our game and got the crowd going."

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