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game recap

Predators top Stars for record ninth straight win

Rinne makes 26 saves for shutout; Dallas fails to extend wild-card lead

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators won a team-record ninth consecutive game, 2-0 against the Dallas Stars at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday.

Pekka Rinne made 26 saves for his seventh shutout of the season and 50th in the NHL. He improved to 7-0-0 in his past seven starts.

"It's so much fun right now, nine wins in a row," Rinne said. "We're feeling good and the team is fairly healthy and clicking really good right now. It's so much fun."


[WATCH: All Stars vs. Predators highlights]


The Predators (43-14-9) lead the Western Conference by six points over the Vegas Golden Knights and the Central Division by six points over the Winnipeg Jets. Nashville had won eight in a row from Oct. 5-25, 2005.

"We talk about everything in there," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "We talk about the division, the conference, the regular season. We talk about [Mike Fisher] coming back. We talk about putting your name on something. Those are all great opportunities for our club to fight for something, and I thought they did. I thought as the game went on and it was 0-0 for a while, I thought we fought to get that goal, and then I thought we fought really hard to keep it there."

Video: Rinne earns Tuesday's Pepsi Zero Sugar Shutout

The Stars (37-24-6) are 1-1-2 in their past four games and lead the Los Angeles Kings by three points for the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the West. They have scored two goals or fewer in eight of their past 11 games.

"It was a hard game, a hard game for a lot of our guys," Stars coach Ken Hitchcock said. "That's a [heck] of a hockey club over there. They're really deep. They play the game the right way. They're a hard team to play against. Our goalie gave us a chance going into the third period, and we were the first team to give it away twice."

Ryan Hartman gave the Predators a 1-0 lead at 5:33 of the third period on a backhand shot. Austin Watson chipped the puck toward the left face-off circle, and Hartman shot past Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen for his 10th goal.

"It felt good," Hartman said. "We had a lot of chances coming into that period. It looked like they got a little tired. They played last night at home. We just tried to stick with it, and we knew if we kept playing hard the goals were going to come. That one felt good." 

Hartman has three points (two goals, one assist) in five games with the Predators.

Nick Bonino scored an empty-net goal with 13.6 seconds remaining for a 2-0 lead. It was his 10th goal.

Video: DAL@NSH: Lehtonen denies Johansen with acrobatic save


Goal of the game

Hartman's goal at 5:33 of the third period.

 Video: DAL@NSH: Hartman lifts backhand past Lehtonen in 3rd


Save of the game

Rinne's save on Devin Shore at 15:28 of the third period.

Video: DAL@NSH: Rinne extends pad to deny Shore's wraparound


Highlight of the game

Lehtonen's save on Filip Forsberg at 16:15 of the third period.

Video: DAL@NSH: Lehtonen sprawls to shut down Forsberg


They said it

"I think that that team there is all in. They're all in. They're all in emotionally. They've learned their lessons. They're ready to go. And they're set. And they've learned the lessons for the last couple of years, and we're trying to catch up. That, to me, shows you if that's the best team we've played against, if that's the level, then that's the level you've got to play at. But that team across the way, they're all in." -- Stars coach Ken Hitchcock on the Predators being a measuring stick


"They are responding in the right way. … there is some competition in there, but it doesn't ever get aired that way. It doesn't ever get presented that way. When we met, we talked about a group of however many guys and whoever it takes coming up or whoever may join us, this is our group we're moving forward with. It's not about that anymore. It's just about finishing the regular season, getting to the playoffs and trying to accomplish something that they set a goal for. For me, …  everybody's got to do their part and it's never easy watching or coming out of the lineup. But I think everybody sees the big picture." -- Predators coach Peter Laviolette on his team responding correctly to internal competition


Need to know

Lehtonen made 32 saves. … Stars defenseman John Klingberg is one assist away from becoming the seventh defenseman in team history to have 50 assists in a season. … Predators forward Mike Fisher played in place of Kyle Turris, who received a maintenance day. Fisher played 10:37 and had one shot on goal in his first home game since he came out of retirement.


What's next

Stars: Host the Anaheim Ducks on Friday (8:30 p.m. ET; FS-SW, FS-W, NHL.TV)

Predators: Host the Ducks on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; FS-TN, PRIME, NHL.TV)


Video: Preds blank Stars for club-record ninth straight win

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