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First Round

Stars searching for more goals in Game 4 against Predators

Plan to keep shuffling lines in attempt to even first-round series

by Jeff Miller / NHL.com Correspondent

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars have been limited to three goals in the past two games, falling behind the Nashville Predators 2-1 in the Western Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

First-year coach Jim Montgomery hasn't shied away from switching up his forward lines all season, and he's confident he'll find the right combinations heading into Game 4 at American Airlines Center on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; USA, SN, TVAS2, FS-SW, FS-TN).

"Yesterday I moved people around a lot, and we played pretty well," Montgomery said of the 3-2 loss in Game 3 at AAC on Monday. "Players, they know I'm sometimes going on a hunch. … The ability for everybody to play with everyone, those are things that players come to expect. And they know they're getting rewarded if they play well." 

 

[RELATED: Complete Predators vs. Stars series coverage]

 

The Stars top three goal-scorers in the regular season -- Tyler Seguin (33), Alexander Radulov (29) and captain Jamie Benn (27) -- each has scored once in this series. They played on the same line for much of the season before Montgomery moved Benn to bring toughness to the line centered by speedy Roope Hintz. He brought the three of them back together late Monday.

The only Dallas player with two goals is Mats Zuccarello, who started Monday at left wing with Seguin and Radulov for the first time. Zuccarello pulled the Stars within 2-1 at 17:11 of the second period, and Seguin tied the score 2-2 at 8:15 of the third period before Predators forward Mikael Granlund scored the game-winning goal with 8:19 to play.

"Usually when you lose a game you start doubting," said Zuccarello, who played two regular-season games for Dallas after being acquired from the New York Rangers on Feb. 23 and then sustaining a broken arm in his Stars debut on Feb. 24. "Obviously in the playoffs it's important to find ways to win, and they did that last game. But we've got to stick to our game. I think all in all we played a really good game."

Video: Rinne powers Predators to Game 3 road win vs. Stars

The Stars seek to improve a power play that is 1-for-13 in the series and hasn't scored on its past 11 chances. In the Game 3 loss, the Stars had 11 power-play shots, including five on a 5-on-3 in the second period.

"I think we've got to move the puck around a little bit quicker, find a way to generate more shots," Benn said of the power play. "I think everything after that kind of creates itself."

Defenseman John Klingberg said of the power play, "Obviously we know we're not going to score every time. We have to build momentum, hopefully."

Montgomery said, "We're not making them uncomfortable, and we have to make them uncomfortable. We've got to look at making tweaks to try and make them look uncomfortable by getting more pucks and people and bodies and sticks to the net."  

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