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5 things to know: Predators edge Stars in OT to even series

Bishop comes up stellar once again, but Dallas goes 0-for-6 on the power play in its Game 2 defeat

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

It's a best-of-five series now between the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators.

Craig Smith's goal at 5:00 of overtime lifted the Predators to a 2-1 victory over the Stars to even the first-round playoff series at one game apiece.

Game 3 is Monday night in Dallas.

Jamie Benn scored the lone goal, and Ben Bishop stopped 41 shots for the Stars, who did grab home-ice advantage by getting a split in the first two games in Nashville.

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

 

1. Opportunity missed, but Stars will take split in Nashville

After winning Game 1 on Wednesday, the Stars had a chance Saturday to take a 2-0 series lead and put the Predators on their heels. But Nashville pushed hard in Game 2 and five minutes into overtime, Predators forward Craig Smith scored from the bottom of the left circle after a Mattias Ekholm shot rebounded off traffic, and the Stars will head back to Dallas tied 1-1 in the series.

"We're going to move on from this game as quickly as we moved on from winning the last game," said Stars center Tyler Seguin. "It's a seven-game series. We came into Nashville wanting to get one, wanting to steal one on the road. We did that. We're excited to get home and play in front of our fans."

The Stars expected a better Nashville team Saturday, and they got it. Nashville outshot the Stars 43-23 including 31-14 during 5-on-5 play. Ben Bishop was excellent in goal, stopping 41 of 43 shots.

"We knew we were going to get Nashville's best and we did. They were the better team tonight," said Stars coach Jim Montgomery. "Probably not for Bish, we're not in overtime. We got to come back, and we will. We'll be better."

There were missed opportunities for the Stars, who went 0-for-6 on the power play in the game.

The first period had 10 minutes of special teams play. The Stars went 0-for-3 with the man-advantage and couldn't cash in on a four-minute power play after Ekholm took an interference penalty and then had two more minutes tacked on for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The Predators were 0-for-2 on the power play in the first.

The Stars got the game's first goal at 1:59 of the second period. Ekholm turned the puck over to Seguin, and he set up Jamie Benn, who scored from close range to put the Stars up 1-0.

The Predators answered just under two minutes later when Austin Watson sent the puck from behind the net to Rocco Grimaldi who scored from the top of the crease to make it a 1-1 game at 3:56 of the second.

There were more power plays in the second with the Stars getting two more chances and the Predators one, but neither team could take advantage.

The Stars had a couple of quality chances in the third.

Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne made a great save on a close-range bid by Seguin, and Jason Dickinson rang a shot off the post. The Stars missed on their sixth power play of the game when Smith was called for roughing six minutes into the third, and the game would end up in overtime where Smith scored from the bottom of the left circle.

"Opportunity we missed, but we got a win in the first game here," said Bishop, who said he didn't see the puck on Smith's game-winner. "Just get home now and worry about Game 3."

Video: Montgomery says Stars must win more battles to puck

 

2. Power outage

Special teams play ate up 30 percent of regulation play in Saturday's game. The Stars had six power plays, and Nashville had three, the two teams combining for 18 minutes of power-play time during the 60 minutes of regulation.

Neither team could score. The Stars were 0-for-6 on the power play Saturday and missed on a four-minute power play in the first period. They had a total of nine shots on goal and four high-danger chances during the six opportunities.

"You go 0-for 6, you get a couple of good chances. But you've got to come through," said Stars coach Jim Montgomery. "We need to think shot first. We're all looking at the next play instead of looking to score. That's not only power play but also 5-on-5. I thought we passed up too many shots."

The second power-play unit, which was better in Game 1 and scored a goal, was better in Game 2, according to Montgomery. On the sixth power play in Saturday's game, Miro Heiskanen took John Klingberg's spot on the top unit, and Klingberg moved onto the second unit.

The Stars penalty kill was 3-for-3 Saturday and is now 7 of 7 in the series.

Video: Seguin, Stars turning page on tough Game 2 loss

 
3. Janmark returns after injury scare in second period

Stars forward Mattias Janmark shook off what looked like a potentially bad injury in the second period and was able to return to the game. A little more than three minutes into the second period, Janmark got tangled up with former Stars defenseman Dan Hamhuis and went awkwardly into the end boards.

Janmark had to be helped off the ice and was putting no weight on his left leg as he headed to the locker room. But late in the second period, he returned to the game and took regular shifts the rest of the night.

"We were surprised (he returned)," said Stars coach Jim Montgomery. "Amazing effort. Toughest Swede out there, I was joking with him. He's a great player for us, and it meant a lot for our team when he came back."

Video: Bogorad, Razor give thoughts on Stars after Game 2

 
4. Predators bounce back with strong push in OT

After struggling in the final 40 minutes of Wednesday's first game of the series, the Predators were looking for a more consistent effort Saturday, and they got it. They had the edge in play the first two periods, the third period was even, and the Predators came out with a strong push in overtime to get the win and even the series.

"I thought it was good. It has to be good," said Predators coach Peter Laviolette. "They're a good team. They're deep; they're big, they have defensemen that can move the puck and they play good defense. I thought we were much better at the consistency part of it."

Nashville forward Brian Boyle missed Saturday's game due to illness. He is day-to-day. He was replaced in the lineup by Rocco Grimaldi who scored the Predators goal in regulation.

"[Grimaldi] was great and not just on the goal," said Predators captain Roman Josi. "His speed - he is extremely fast, and he works hard every shift. He's hard to play against for a defenseman because he is so quick, and I thought he had an amazing game. "

The Predators lost forward Wayne Simmonds in the first period when he was hit in the leg with a puck. Simmonds did not return and there was no update on his status after the game.

Video: Bishop reacts to Stars' gritty OT loss in Game 2

 

5. Odds and ends

The Stars will be off on Sunday. ... The Predators outshot the Stars 43-23 and had a 77-51 advantage in shot attempts. ... Naturalstattrick.com had the high-danger chances 7-4, Nashville, at 5-on-5 and 9-9 for all situations. ... Tyler Seguin led the Stars with four shots on goal and eight shot attempts. ... Roope Hintz led the Stars with three high-danger chances. ... The Stars won 29 of 71 faceoffs (41 percent). Radek Faksa won 12 of 24 faceoffs (50 percent). Seguin won 8 of 16 (50 percent). Hintz won 1 of 14 (7 percent). ... Ryan Johansen won 15 of 23 (65 percent) for Nashville. ... Miro Heiskanen led the Stars with 29:12 of ice time. Esa Lindell was next with 27:28.

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

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

Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Miro Heiskanen - Roman Polak
Taylor Fedun - Ben Lovejoy

Ben Bishop
Anton Khudobin

Scratched: Valeri Nichushkin, Jason Spezza, Brett Ritchie, Jamie Oleksiak, Julius Honka, Landon Bow
Injured: None
Injured Reserve: Martin Hanzal (back), Stephen Johns (post-traumatic headaches), Marc Methot (knee surgery)

Video: DAL Recap: OT loss evens series with Predators

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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