The Dallas Stars scored four goals in the first period on their way to defeating the Nashville Predators by a 5-1 final in Game 4 on Wednesday night. The result sees the Round One series now tied 2-2 with Game 5 set for Saturday in Nashville, and Game 6 now becoming a necessity in the best-of-seven set.
Three of Dallas's four goals in the opening frame came on the power play, and although the Preds settled things down in the final 40 minutes with Roman Josi getting the Preds on the board in the third, the early returns were simply too much to overcome.
"We're definitely angry about this one," Josi said. "Everybody's angry. I think it's normal after a game like that, but that's playoffs. At the end of the day you have to look at it, but you have to put it in the trash tomorrow and then look forward. It's one game, but we're definitely angry about it."
"It's tough to see the scoreboard go that way," Preds center Nick Bonino said. "We came out and had four good shifts. Each line had a good shift 5-on-5, and obviously we got into penalty trouble and our kill has been so solid for a couple months now. You never want to see three go in like that."
Roope Hintz, Alexander Radulov, Andrew Cogliano and Mats Zuccarello all tallied for the Stars in the opening 20 minutes of Game 4, and Hintz added another in the middle period.
Predators goaltender Juuse Saros relieved Pekka Rinne after Dallas's fourth goal; Saros stopped 16 shots in relief, as Nashville eventually ended up outshooting the Stars by a 35-29 margin on the night.
Josi's goal came at 8:11 of the third period to spoil the shutout for Ben Bishop, but that was all the visitors were able to get.
"They were definitely the better team tonight," Josi said. "They played better than us, they deserved to win the game and there are things we can do better."
The Predators will now have two days to review, regroup and get set for Game 5 on Saturday afternoon (at 2 p.m. CT) in Nashville.
"I'm going to give the cliche hockey answer, but we came here, we won an away game and we have home ice back for a best-of-three, so that's our focus," Bonino said. "We did what we wanted to do coming to Dallas. We would've loved to go up 3-1, but it did not happen. Everyone on this team has been in a 2-2 series before, so we'll go home and try to get Game 5."
"It's a best-of-three, and we have home-ice advantage," Preds center Ryan Johansen said. "We'll get back home, we'll get some rest here the next couple days and go out and do what we do."
Video: NSH Recap: Josi scores in Game 4 loss to Stars
Nashville kept the same lineup in Game 4 that was seen in Game 3, including Miikka Salomaki seeing his second consecutive game action after previously being out since Jan. 4.
Brian Boyle (appendix), Wayne Simmonds (lower-body), Yannick Weber, Rem Pitlick, Zac Rinaldo, Matt Irwin, Cody McLeod, Frederick Gaudreau and Niclas Westerholm were scratched for Nashville in Game 4.
With the series a best-of-three competition, Game 5 is set for Saturday afternoon in Nashville, a 2 p.m. CT start from Bridgestone Arena. Game 6 is now necessary and will take place in Dallas on Monday night, time to be determined.