Mattias Janmark scored the game-winning goal, as the Dallas Stars defeated the Nashville Predators by a 3-2 final in overtime on Monday night at Bridgestone Arena. The result gives the Preds a point, bumping their total to 62 on the season.
The Preds and Stars went back and forth all night long, be it offensive chances, impressive goaltending and physical play in the first of four meetings set to take place between the two clubs over the next eight weeks.
“It was a hard-fought game, a division game against a good team,” Preds Captain Shea Weber said. “We knew it was going to be hard. It was hard fought right until the end, and we just need to be better in overtime.”
“It was a game that went back and forth,” Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “They had some good moments, and we had some good moments. It was pretty tight, and they’re a dangerous team. Defensively, I thought we were pretty good. When we needed some big saves from Carter [Hutton], I thought he did a good job.”
Craig Smith gave the Preds a 1-0 lead at 11:32 of the first, picking up a Mattias Ekholm rebound at the left side of the cage and lifting it past Antti Niemi for his 12th of the season.
After Dallas took a 2-1 lead in the second, courtesy of goals from Cody Eakin and Ales Hemsky, the hostility ramped up a bit between the Central Division rivals. Weber and Antoine Roussel fought at the side of the Preds net, and just over a minute later, Paul Gaustad and former Pred Vernon Fiddler had a spirited scrap.
“It’s always great when guys step up like that,” forward Filip Forsberg said. “Weber got the first one, and then Gaustad got that big one too. Those guys are important, and it brings a lot of energy back.”
The fisticuffs brought the Bridgestone Arena crowd to life and Forsberg gave them another reason to cheer when he potted his 19th goal of the season at 16:18 to even the contest at 2-2.
The third period brought about a number of stellar stops from Preds goaltender Carter Hutton, who was making his second consecutive start. Hutton stopped 29 of 32 shots he faced on the evening and kept his club in the game against one of the League’s top teams.
Overtime was required to decide a winner, and Nashville got caught on a line change, allowing the Stars to capitalize off a 3-on-1 rush that was finished by Janmark.
“That was a change; Filip came to the bench, and for whatever reason, no one was ready to go,” Weber said. “That’s something that’s easily fixable. We’ve been better. We’ve improved since. We’ve done some work on it, but still, those points make the difference.”
Gif of the Game:
Paul Gaustad drops the gloves with former-Pred Vernon Fiddler. We’re giving the nod to Goose on this one.
Peter Laviolette on Filip Forsberg scoring five goals in his last five games:
“He’s the type of player that can do that. He’s playing the game fast, and he’s attacking the game. He’s the type of guy that if you give him the opportunity to find a little bit of space, he can find it. He’s got a shiftiness to his game. He will attack off the rush, and he has a good shot. All those things will lead to that.”
Craig Smith registered his second multi-point effort of the season with a goal and an assist against the Stars.
Filip Forsberg now has five goals in his last five games and points in five of his last seven against the Stars.
Nashville hosts the Boston Bruins at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday night before welcoming the Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.
Filip Forsberg earns the spotlight after scoring his fifth goal in as many games.
Infographic: Just Shy in 3-on-3 OT