Monday, February 25, 2013
Nashville Predators 5, Dallas Stars 4 (OT)
Stars blow two-goal lead with undisciplined play and poor defense.
The Dallas Stars snatched defeat from the jaws of victory once again, losing 5-4 to the Predators Monday night in Nashville. The loss dropped Dallas to 9-8-2 on the season, while Nashville improved to 9-6-5.
Nashville got on the board first at 13:43 of the opening period when Craig Smith was left completely uncovered by the Stars' Vernon Fiddler and potted an easy one for his second goal of the year and a 1-0 lead.
The game seemed headed for a low-scoring defensive affair until it broke loose in the second period. Dallas opened the middle frame with a pair of goals from two rookie forwards. First at 1:20 Matt Fraser scored on a rifle to the far corner for his first NHL goal in his first game since being called up from the AHL. Then 25 seconds later Reilly Smith chipped in his third of the season for a 2-1 lead.
The Predators tied it up just 1:20 after that when Roman Josi scored on a long distance bomb that eluded overmatched Stars rookie goaltender Christopher Nilstorp and made it 2-2. But two minutes later Nashville's Martin Erat got called for a holding penalty, and as the powerplay nearly expired Mike Fisher was called for a four-minute high sticking penalty. With the extra attacker, Dallas controlled play in the Predators zone and Jamie Benn got a pass off to a streaking Fiddler, who blasted a shot past Predators goalie Pekka Rinne for his first goal of the season and a 3-2 lead.
Dallas still had 12 seconds on the original call and thus had the entire four minute powerplay to work with, capitalizing two minutes later at 9:21 when Loui Eriksson' pass to Benn was deflected in by Josi for Eriksson's fifth goal of the season and a 4-2 lead.
Fiddler personally gave one back to Nashville soon after, however, as he drew an unsportsmanlike penalty call while killing linemate Eric Nystrom's own unsportsmanlike penalty, putting Dallas on a 3-on-5 penalty kill for 1:41. They nearly got through it, coming within two seconds of killing the first call when Patric Hornqvist tipped one past Nilstorp to make it 4-3.
The Predators completely dominated the third period, outshooting Dallas 12-5 and scoring the frame's only goal when Mike Fisher skated through two Dallas defensemen and backhanded the puck through Nilstorp's five-hole for his 200th career goal and a 4-4 game. Neither team scored the rest of regulation, but Josi struck again just 28 seconds into overtime. Dallas' Jaromir Jagr was stripped of the puck and planted on the ice, putting Dallas down a man as he skated to the bench. Josi took advantage of the time and space to score his second of the night for the 5-4 victory.
Nilstorp was largely terrible, stopping just 26 of the 31 shots he faced and letting in some softies at crucial times. Rinne was one better, making 20 saves on 24 shots to improve to 8-5-4.
Dallas next heads to Columbus tomorrow night, where their abysmal record on the second night of back-to-backs will be put to the test by the 5-12-2 Blue Jackets.