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Moving on: Klingberg lifts Stars past Predators in OT to advance

The defenseman notches the winning goal, ending the series and setting up a meeting with St. Louis in Round 2

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Klingberg wins it in OT for Stars

NSH@DAL, Gm6: Klingberg scores in OT for series win

R1, Gm6: John Klingberg collects the puck in the circle and wires a wrist shot past Pekka Rinne for the series-clinching goal in overtime

  • 01:51 •

The Dallas Stars are headed to Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

John Klingberg scored with 2:58 left in overtime as the Stars advanced with a 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators in Game 6 of their first-round playoff series at American Airlines Center Monday night.

Blake Comeau also scored for the Stars and Ben Bishop stopped 47 shots.

The Stars will face the St. Louis Blues in the second round. That series schedule will be announced at a later date.

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

 

1. Klingberg follows advice, notches series-winner

Stars defenseman John Klingberg got some advice from backup goaltender Anton Khudobin just before overtime began between the Stars and Predators on Monday night. And Klingberg heeded that advice when he took a cross-ice pass from Alexander Radulov and scored from the left circle with 2:58 left in OT to give the Stars a 2-1 victory and send them to the next round of the playoffs.

"Dobby, he told me to shoot low glove," Klingberg said, "and that's where the puck went in."

When the puck went in, the Stars had their first playoff series win since 2016 and had closed out a series at home for the first time since 2008. And they did it before a crowd of 19,025, the biggest of the season at American Airlines Center.

"It's big," said Stars goaltender Ben Bishop. "[The fans] deserve it. They've been great all season. They've been unbelievable in the playoffs. It's fun to get the win for them. They're the real backbone of the organization, so for them to -- especially on home ice -- get that win, it's always a little bit nicer."

"Awesome. A lot of emotion," added Stars center Tyler Seguin. "It was the game we kind of expected. [The Predators] gave everything they had, so did we. What better way than for it to go to overtime and happy we found a way to win."

The Predators had some good pressure early in the game and scored 5:47 into the first period to take a 1-0 lead. After a Jason Spezza turnover in the Dallas zone, Nashville defenseman P.K Subban put a shot on net that Brian Boyle tipped and Austin Watson scored on the rebound.

The Stars drew even at 5:20 of the second period. Shortly after Bishop made a series of stops, including a great one on Kyle Turris, Stars center Radek Faksa poked the puck past Subban at the Dallas blue line to send the Stars on a 3-on-1 rush to set up Blake Comeau, who scored from the slot to tie the game 1-1.

Video: NSH@DAL, Gm6: Comeau beats Rinne on odd-man rush

"Faksa made a great play, chipping it past," Comeau said. "We had a 3-on-1, and I was looking to pass it again. Then I saw their [defense] slide, so I tried to snap it low-blocker, and I was happy to see it go in."

The Stars penalty killed thwarted two Nashville power plays to keep it a 1-1 game heading into the third period.

There were some great chances in a chaotic final 20 minutes of regulation. Stars defenseman Esa Lindell hit the post with a backhand shot. Predators forward Colton Sissons had a breakaway, but his backhand bid was denied by Bishop, who turned away a quality look by Filip Forsberg off the rush a short time later. Preds forward Calle Jarnkrok hit the post with 5:29 left.

The Predators got a power play with 1:53 remaining regulation, but they failed to cash in, and it was onto overtime where the Stars had the better of play, and some great chances before Klingberg scored at the 17:02 mark to propel the Stars into the second round.

"The fourth game is always the hardest to win," said Stars captain Jamie Benn. "That's a good team over there; played a great game. It was awesome to close it out at home."

Video: NSH@DAL, Gm6: Preds, Stars face off in thrilling OT

 

2. Bishop stellar in net

Stars goaltender Ben Bishop was stellar in goal, stopping 47 of 48 shots. The 47 saves set a postseason career-high for Bishop, who not only had a lot of saves but some big ones -- and those were key in a game that was 1-1 at the end of regulation.

He made quality stops on Calle Jarnkrok and Mikael Granlund in the first period, had a slick stop on Kyle Turris in the second, stopped Turris again in the third period and denied Colton Sissons on a breakaway in the third.

Video: NSH@DAL, Gm6: Bishop shuts the door on Granlund

"Our best player was [Ben Bishop]," said Stars coach Jim Montgomery. "He was incredible."

Bishop posted a 4-2 record in the first round series, and among postseason goaltenders he ranks third in goals-against average (1.90) and second in save percentage (.945).

"Bish made some huge saves when we needed him to," said Stars forward Blake Comeau. "He's been a star for us all series, all season long."

Video: NSH@DAL, Gm6: Bishop discusses Game 6 victory

 

3. Penalty kill delivers again for Stars

The Stars won the special teams battle in the series with the Predators. Monday night it was the Dallas penalty kill that came up huge, killing off all four Nashville power plays in the game.

The Stars were 15-for-15 on the penalty kill in the series.

"When your penalty kill is really well and your goaltender is really good, your players are sacrificing and their stick details are really good," said Stars coach Jim Montgomery. "When I say sacrificing, they were eating pucks. I don't know how many pucks [Ben] Lovejoy, Esa [Lindell] and [Roman] Polak ate, but forwards as well. They were just working together."

It was not a good series for the Nashville power play, which ranked last in the league during the regular season and could not get on track at all during the series with the Stars.

"I don't know. We had a lot of meetings, we tried working on it, we kept working on it, and for some reason, we didn't execute on the power play," said Predators captain Roman Josi. "I'm part of the power play, so I take full responsibility for that. It's a huge part, and you saw it in the playoffs. Even tonight we had the chances, and if we got a goal there it's a different game."

The Stars were 4-for-22 (18.2 percent) on the power play in the series and used three power-play goals to fuel a 5-1 win In Game 4 that tied the series 2-2.

Video: Montgomery impressed with the young guns

 

4. Bring on the Blues

Up next for the Stars are the St. Louis Blues, who defeated the Winnipeg Jets in six games in the other Central Division Playoff series.

"The St. Louis Blues have been the best team in the NHL since Jan. 1," said Stars coach Jim Montgomery. "They're our next challenge, and we'll start working on it tomorrow."

Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo led St. Louis in scoring with six points, all assists, in the series against Winnipeg and Jaden Schwartz was tops with four goals, all in the final two games of the series. Rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington, who led the NHL with a 1.89 goals-against average during the regular season, had a 2.63 goals-against average and .908 save percentage in the series.

The Blues will have home-ice advantage in the series.

The Stars won the season against the Blues during the regular season, 3-1-0, splitting the two games in Dallas and winning both in St. Louis.

Video: Stars celebrate after series-clinching victory

 

5. Hintz goes into concussion protocol, returns

Stars forward Roope Hintz missed the first few minutes of the second period due to being in the NHL's concussion protocol. Hintz, who returned and finished the game, was hit in the head late in the first period by Predators forward Austin Watson, who was given a minor penalty for an illegal check to the head.

Video: Bogorad, Razor on Stars' series win over Predators

The Stars outshot the Predators 51-48 and had a 100-89 advantage in shot attempts. ... High-danger chances were 23-16, Nashville, according to naturalstattrick.com. ... Jamie Benn led the Stars with eight shots on goal, and Tyler Seguin was tops with 12 shot attempts. ... Benn and Blake Comeau both had three high-danger scoring chances. ... The Stars won 33 of 78 faceoffs (42 percent). Seguin won 13 of 26 faceoffs. Radek Faksa won 7 of 19 (37 percent). ... Miro Heiskanen led the Stars with 32:25 of ice time.

Video: Benn shares his thoughts after series-clinching win

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

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

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

Ben Bishop
Anton Khudobin

Injured: Mattias Janmark (lower body)
Scratched: Valeri Nichushkin, Brett Ritchie, Taylor Fedun, Julius Honka, Landon Bow, Joel Hanley, Dillon Heatherington, Gavin Bayreuther, Denis Gurianov, Joel L'Esperance, Nick Caamano, Adam Mascherin
Injured Reserve: Martin Hanzal (back), Stephen Johns (post-traumatic headaches), Marc Methot (knee surgery)

Video: NSH@DAL, Gm6: Prescott, Elliott cheer on Stars

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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