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5 things to know: Predators slip past Stars to swipe series lead

Dallas rallies from a two-goal deficit, but Nashville breaks a third-period tie to steal Game 3

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

The Dallas Stars had their chances Monday night, but not enough finish.

The Stars launched 42 shots on goal but scored on just two of them and fell, 3-2, to the Nashville Predators in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series at American Airlines Center. Nashville leads the best-of-seven series, 2-1. Game 4 is Wednesday in Dallas.

Mats Zuccarello and Tyler Seguin scored goals for the Stars, who went 0-4 on the power play including a lengthy five-on-three advantage. Ben Bishop stopped 25 of 28 shots.

Here are five things to know from Monday's game.

 

1. Stars play well, but it doesn't add up to a win

The Stars played well, but it wasn't enough to win Game 3 of their playoff series, and now, they find themselves down 2-1.

The Stars outshot the Predators 42-28, had an 89-47 advantage in shot attempts and a 28-12 edge in high-danger chances. The Stars had 11 shots on four power-play chances, but couldn't cash in on any of them. Some credit has to go to Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne, who was superb in making 40 saves.

"We need to find a way to score more goals," said Stars coach Jim Montgomery. "You've got a 5-on-3 for a minute and a half, you got to score. That's what your best players are paid to do."

There was no scoring in an intense, physical first period that had a combined 30 hits between the two teams (20 for Dallas, 10 for Nashville). The Predators had the better of play early in the period, and the Stars pushed back late in the frame.

Predators forward Rocco Grimaldi opened the scoring at 3:29 of the second, beating Stars goalie Ben Bishop with a shot from the right half-wall off the rush.

"It's unfortunate. It's a bad goal," said Bishop. "It's one you've got to have. It's just one I got caught in between. I was going to go punch it out and then corral it, and it caught the inside of the hand and went in. It's unfortunate, but it happens."

The Stars had a chance to get on the board with 1:29 of five-on-three power play time a few minutes later, put six shots on goal during the two-man advantage but couldn't crack Rinne.

The Predators made it a 2-0 game when Nick Bonino chipped the puck out of his end to Filip Forsberg, who had gotten behind the Dallas defense, and Forsberg broke in on net and slipped the puck past Bishop at the 14:35 mark.

But the Stars cut the lead in half less than three minutes later. John Klingberg sent a stretch pass to Mats Zuccarello, who held off Predators defender Ryan Ellis and beat Rinne through the legs to make it a 2-1 game at 17:11 of the second.

The Stars tied the game at 8:15 of the third when Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov won a puck battle behind the Nashville net and Benn set up Seguin who scored from close range, and it was a 2-2 game.

The Stars came close to taking the lead 31 seconds later, but Rinne made a spectacular save on a point-blank bid by Benn to keep it a 2-2 game.

And then the Predators took the lead three minutes later. After an icing call on the Stars, Kyle Turris won an offensive zone draw, Mikael Granlund took a pass from Dante Fabbro, skated up to the right point and scored off a shot from the right point that Bishop said deflected off traffic and into the net, and it was a 3-2 game at the 11:41 mark.

The Stars pulled Bishop with 2:11 remaining for the extra attacker but couldn't get the equalizer. Now it's on to Game 4 Wednesday at the AAC.

"Never get too high, never get too low," said Montgomery. "It's 2-1. I think we've been the better team two of three games. Keep playing that, and usually the hockey gods get back on your side."

Video: Razor breaks down Bishop's performance in Stars' loss

 
2. A rough night for Bishop

Ben Bishop has been a rock for the Dallas Stars this season. But there were a few cracks in Monday's Game 3 for Bishop, who allowed three goals on 28 shots. Bishop gave up what he admitted was a "bad goal" to Rocco Grimaldi, who scored from the right half-wall to give the Predators a 1-0 lead in the second period.

Nashville's third goal -- the game-winner -- by Mikael Granlund was a spinning shot from the point that deflected and handcuffed Bishop. The Stars goaltender said he would just move forward.

"You've just got to put it behind you and go play another game," he said. "You don't change anything. It's a long season. Some nights there are unfortunate bounces, some nights you are lucky. It doesn't change anything. It's the same routine night in and night out."

Stars coach Jim Montgomery said Bishop could have used some help from his teammates.

"I don't know if we're playing if it's not for our goalies and especially Ben. Our players have to pick him up for the number of times he's picked us up," Montgomery said. 

"Would Bish like to have some of those back? Yeah, but they constantly had traffic, and you have to give Nashville credit as they're getting to that net front and causing havoc."

Video: Bishop on his Game 3 performance in Stars' defeat

 

3. Stars come up empty again with man advantage

The Stars were 0-for-4 on the power play Monday and are now 1-for-13 with the man-advantage in the series. The power play could have been a difference maker Monday, especially with the Stars having 1:29 of 5-on-3 power-play time when Nashville had a 1-0 lead in the second period.

"Not good enough," Stars defenseman John Klingberg said of the power play. "Obviously, we know we're not going to score every time. But we have to build momentum, hopefully. Create some good energy for the team. Right now, our unit is struggling a little bit. The second unit is bringing a lot to the table. We have to be better there."

The Stars had 11 shots on their power plays, including six on the 5-on-3 advantage.

The Stars changed the power-play units coming into the game. The first unit had Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Alexander Radulov, Roope Hintz, and Klingberg. The second unit had Mats Zuccarello, Jason Spezza, Justin Dowling, Miro Heiskanen, and Esa Lindell.

Video: Montgomery impressed with fans despite loss to Preds

 

4. Rinne shines for Predators

The Predators got a sparkling performance from goaltender Pekka Rinne. Rinne stopped 40 of 42 shots, and none was bigger than the save he made on Stars captain Jamie Benn's point-blank bid just 31 seconds after Tyler Seguin had tied the game 2-2 in the third period.

"[Rinne] was really good," said Stars coach Jim Montgomery. "Without that save on Jamie Benn, that would have put us up 3-2, and the roof probably would have come off of the AAC."

"That was a big point, I thought, in the game," said Predators coach Peter Laviolette. "He was terrific all night. He played a heck of a game, but at that point he was under fire a little bit, and they start to grab the energy in their building. I thought that save was big, but for me, it just resembled his whole night."

Forward Rocco Grimaldi, who came into the lineup for Brian Boyle (appendix procedure) in Game 2 on Saturday, has scored a goal in each of the two games he's played in the series.

Forward Miikka Salomaki, who came into the lineup Monday for Wayne Simmonds (lower-body injury) picked up an assist on Grimaldi's goal.

Video: DAL Recap: Stars lose after erasing two-goal deficit

 

5. Stars make late lineup changes

The Stars made a few late lineup changes for Monday's game. Mattias Janmark (lower body) did not play, and Tyler Pitlick was a healthy scratch. Jason Spezza and Valeri Nichushkin were inserted into the lineup, both playing for the first time in the series.

'It was difficult (not playing)," Spezza said. "You want to be in the lineup and make an impact. I pride myself on playing well this time of year. You just have to stay ready and make sure when you do get your chance you stay in the lineup."

Spezza played 14:40 and had three shots on goal and seven shot attempts.

Naturalstatrick.com had the scoring chances 60-28 in favor of Dallas. High-danger chances were 28-12, Stars. The 60 scoring chances and 28 high-danger chances were the highest of the season for the Stars this season including regular season and playoff games.

Tyler Seguin led the Stars with 11 shots on goal. ... Alexander Radulov led Dallas with 18 shot attempts (eight on goal, six blocked, four missed). ... The Stars were 0-for-4 on the power play and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill. ... Dallas won 36 of 63 faceoffs (57 percent). Spezza won 9 of 14 (64 percent). Roope Hintz won 9 of 15 (60 percent). ... Miro Heiskanen led Dallas with 28:17 of ice time. John Klingberg was next with 27:36.

Here is the lineup the Stars used to start Monday's game.

Mats Zuccarello - Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov
Jamie Benn - Roope Hintz - Justin Dowling
Jason Dickinson - Radek Faksa - Blake Comeau
Andrew Cogliano - Jason Spezza - Valeri Nichushkin

Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Miro Heiskanen - Roman Polak
Jamie Oleksiak - Ben Lovejoy

Ben Bishop
Anton Khudobin

Scratched: Tyler Pitlick, Brett Ritchie, Taylor Fedun, Julius Honka, Landon Bow
Injured: Mattias Janmark (lower body)
Injured Reserve: Martin Hanzal (back), Stephen Johns (post-traumatic headaches), Marc Methot (knee surgery)

Video: Razor discusses the marvelous position of goaltending

For complete postseason coverage, visit Stars Playoff Central.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mark Stepneski has covered the Stars for DallasStars.com since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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