With a West Coast trip coming up, newcomer Alex Goligoski made sure the Dallas Stars left with a much-needed win.
Goligoski, a defenseman acquired earlier in the week from Pittsburgh, had a fluky goal and a gorgeous assist to help the Dallas Stars to a 3-2 comeback victory Saturday afternoon against the Nashville Predators at American Airlines Center.
It was a critical victory for Dallas. The Stars moved into seventh place in the Western Conference with only their third win in the past 11 games as they head West for their next four games.
The Stars passed Nashville, which lost its fourth in a row and could fall to 12th place by the end of the weekend if the Predators' slide continues Sunday against surging Columbus.
"Trailing going into the third period, a big road trip coming up, this was a big game, and obviously where (the Predators) were in the standings and where we were, it was a big win, definitely," Goligoski said.
The Stars trailed 2-1 entering the third period but Goligoski leveled the score with a wrist shot from the right point that beat Pekka Rinne at 6:02. His shot hit Nashville rookie defenseman Jonathan Blum's stick on the way to the net and knuckled before glancing off the far post and into the net.
It was Goligoski's 10th goal of the season and first since joining Dallas in a trade from Pittsburgh on Monday for forward James Neal and defenseman Matt Niskanen.
“They got a fluke goal, plain and simple,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “We defended well and did all the things you have to do in the third period. They were just dumping it in. Please. That’s a one-in-a-million thing.”
There may have been some luck involved on his goal, but Goligoski's game-winning assist was a magnificent effort.
Goligoski broke up a 2-on-1 break at the defensive end, then retrieved the puck to start a counterattack. Brenden Morrow left a pass for Goligoski as the Stars entered the offensive zone, and he deftly split two defenders with a pass that Loui Eriksson redirected past with 3:42 left in regulation.
"You could see where Goligoski's speed and ability to join the rush just adds creativity to your offensive game, when you can create an outnumbering chance, and he knows what to do with the puck," Stars coach Marc Crawford said. "He made a good pass to initially start it, he followed the play, and then made a quality pass to Loui Eriksson to put it home."
It was Eriksson's 21st goal of the season. Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen shook off a shaky second period and finished with 25 saves for the victory.
Nashville took a second-period lead with goals by Ryan Suter and Colin Wilson. Suter's first shot was blocked, but he connected on the second try 5:00 into the period for his second goal of the season. The goal also ended a scoring drought of 145:50 for the struggling Predators.
Wilson scored his second goal in 15 games at 13:32. Lehtonen left a juicy rebound from a Cody Franson shot and Wilson was able to swat it past the goaltender for his 14th of the season.
Tom Wandell had the lone goal of the first period when he elected to shoot on a 2-on-1 with Jamie Langenbrunner at 18:06 of the first period and beat Rinne for his fourth goal of the season.
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report