Roman Josi started the comeback and the Nashville Predators scored five unanswered goals to defeat the Dallas Stars by a 5-3 final on Sunday evening at Bridgestone Arena. The victory gives Nashville 27 wins and 62 points on the season, in a game that saw four different Preds put the puck in the net during one of the more entertaining outings of the campaign.
"They were awesome," Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said of his team. "Going out in the third period, we could have had a different outcome after two periods with penalty shot, power play, and the chances at the end of the period. It didn't happen and the guys truly believed that if they went out and played like they did in the third they could win the game."
Laviolette wanted his team to come out and play with passion after Saturday's loss to Florida, and they were feisty from the start, with Ryan Johansen, Vernon Fiddler and Calle Jarnkrok all collecting fighting majors in the first period. But Nashville's energy also got them into penalty trouble, faced with two 5-on-3 situations in the opening frame and allowing two power-play goals to Dallas before the period was out.
"You want to be aggressive, but you still want to be smart," Josi said. "You can't win games if you're in the penalty box too much, but 5-on-5 I thought we played really well, and we didn't get scored on. We had a lot of scoring chances, and I thought in the second period and the third period we did a great job of playing hard, but still being smart."
The Stars added a third goal on the man advantage at 12:02 of the second, but before the stanza was out, Josi gave the Predators life when his shot from the wall found a way through traffic and past Kari Lehtonen.
Less than a minute into the third, Josi did it again, this time on the power play for his second of the night, which led to Jarnkrok tying the contest at 4:40 and then Filip Forsberg scoring shorthanded at 6:02 to give Nashville the only lead they would need.
Video: DAL@NSH: Forsberg steals puck, tallies on breakaway
"We came out hard and ready to battle," Nashville Captain Mike Fisher, who added an empty-netter, said. "We found ourselves killing some early, but the guys did a great job early and getting us going. I think we fed off that first kill and that energy. There was tons of penalties both ways, and our power play came up big, and the [penalty kill] with a big goal - that was huge."
After a 7-4 loss to the Florida Panthers 24 hours earlier, the Predators wanted nothing more than to come back on Sunday with an inspired effort and two points against their opponent. It sure didn't start out that way.
After falling behind 3-0, Nashville stormed back to score five unanswered on the Stars, a character win if there ever was one.
"I didn't doubt that they would be ready to play tonight," Laviolette said of his players. "These guys have always come out after a tough game… [We] answered the bell and responded the way you need to in order to be successful. Even if we had lost that game tonight, we still played hard. Their intentions were in the right place."
Video: DAL@NSH: Jarnkrok beats Lehtonen with top-shelf snipe
For the Preds, the win itself leaves a good feeling, but the circumstances in play - wanting to avenge yesterday's result and head into the break on a positive note - made it that much sweeter.
"That was a great win no matter how you look at it," Fisher said. "After yesterday, we put a solid effort in on the back-to-back [games], and to come back like that - those go into the memory bank. When we know we can do that going forward, too, because we're going to have to, I'm sure down the stretch."
Video: DAL@NSH: Josi blasts one-timer for his second goal
With four goals in his last three games, Roman Josi is what one would call "on fire."
The Nashville defenseman tallied twice on Sunday, first to give the Preds their much-needed first goal of the contest, and then again early in the third to pull them too within one, almost singlehandedly mounting the comeback for his club. Josi now has four goals in his last three games and has scored in three straight, a career high.
"It's always tough coming back from an injury," Laviolette said of Josi. "It's OK if you miss one game or a couple of days, you can jump right back in, but I think when you miss extended time it is more difficult jumping in. It's like trying to catch a moving train. Tonight, I thought Roman looked excellent out there. His skating, his puck movement, and the fact that he was getting his shot off, the way he defended. He looked really good to me. That was the best he's looked since coming back."
Video: Josi leads Predators to 5-3 comeback win vs. Stars
P.K. Subban earned the 299th and 300th points of his career. He has four assists in his last three games.
Calle Jarnkrok now has five goals and four assists in his last nine games.
Prior to Sunday's game, the Predators placed forward Cody McLeod on Injured Reserve with a lower-body injury and activated forward Harry Zolnierczyk, who returned to the lineup after missing three games.
The League-mandated five-day break will now commence for the Predators. They'll return to the ice next weekend with a back-to-back set on the road at Minnesota on Saturday and then Columbus on Sunday.