Saros, Predators shut out Stars again
Makes 37 saves, Ellis scores only goal for Nashville, which gains in Western wild cardby Josh Clark / NHL.com Independent Correspondent
DALLAS -- Juuse Saros made 37 saves, and the Nashville Predators shut out the Dallas Stars for the second straight game with a 1-0 win at American Airlines Center on Saturday.
Saros, who has four shutouts this season, made 33 saves in a 2-0 victory at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday.
"He's been playing amazing," Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis said about Saros. "[Juuse] has been unbelievable. He looks so calm even on high-danger chances. He's just swallowing them up, eating them every time, and very limited rebounds.
"To be honest, he looks phenomenal right now."
[WATCH: All Stars vs. Predators highlights]
The Predators (34-26-8) moved into a tie with the Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets for the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.
"Two huge wins for us against a team like Dallas," Predators captain Roman Josi said. "They're a really good team. It's just the way we competed, the way we defended, and [Saros] was unbelievable in both games, which definitely helps."
Video: Saros earns Saturday's Pepsi Zero Sugar Shutout
Ben Bishop made 22 saves for the Stars (37-23-8), who have lost five in a row (0-3-2) and lead Nashville by six points for third place in the Central Division.
"It's a five-game losing streak," Stars center Tyler Seguin said. "It can't happen, but I am glad it's happening now and not the last five games of the season. We have time to keep building and get back on track, and I think we understand and hear that you can't just flip a switch for [Playoff Game 1]."
Filip Forsberg had a chance to score on a 3-on-1 at 5:44 of the second period, but Bishop made the save.
"I felt really good," said Bishop, who missed the previous three games because of a lower-body injury. "It was nice to be back. It felt like a long time, so it was nice to be back out there and it felt really good."
Ellis gave Nashville a 1-0 lead at 10:29 of the second on the power play when his shot from along the right wall went in off Bishop short side.
Video: NSH@DAL: Ellis opens scoring with PPG from boards
"It's a big goal for where we're at in the season," Ellis said. "It was a tight game tonight and a big goal. It felt good, but we're still hunting something and we're chasing right now. All that matters is that we won this game."
Said Bishop, "I never saw it. I didn't really expect him to shoot from there and I think it kind of surprised us a little bit. I couldn't see it through us, so it was just kind of unfortunate."
Dallas has allowed at least one power-play goal in five straight games (9-for-16 on penalty kill), and each of its past five goals against have come on the power play.
"They got a very fluky goal," Stars coach Rick Bowness said. "I thought our penalty killers did a great job tonight, and they get a lucky goal with three seconds to go (on the man-advantage) that they throw from the boards. That's what we're going through right now."
Saros made 14 saves in the third period, including on Radek Faksa from in front at 6:20 to preserve the win.
"It's a pretty similar game to Thursday," Saros said. "We played really solid defense, blocked a lot of shots (27), and everyone was really committed to this game. It was a good game for the whole team."
They said it
"You win a game tonight and you're in a playoff spot. If someone else wins by the end of tonight, you're not in one. The thing we all understand is that this will be a race. As long as you can take care of yourself, you'll be in it until the end. It's just focusing on the next game and not getting too emotional either way, whether you're in a playoff spot or out of a playoff spot." -- Predators coach John Hynes
"I think it's frustrating when you can't get the results. Obviously, we are playing some good hockey right now. I thought we absolutely dominated that third period and their goalie was feeling it, and we've just got to find a way to get one of those ugly ones, whether it's off of somebody's leg or a rebound or something to kind of get the ball rolling in the right direction. We are doing a lot of good things." -- Stars goalie Ben Bishop
Need to know
Saros is 6-0-1 against the Stars. … Dallas was shut out for the sixth time this season and has not scored an even-strength goal since Feb. 29 (211:02).
Predators: At the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; TSN2, RDS, FS-TN, NHL.TV)
Stars: Host the New York Rangers on Tuesday (8:30 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-SW, MSG 2, NHL.TV)
Video: Saros, Preds shut out Stars in second of back-to-back