By Amanda DiPaolo
The Nashville Predators dropped their fourth straight game and find themselves quickly being left behind in the Western Conference race to the playoffs when they were edged 3-2 by the slumping Dallas Stars Saturday afternoon. Before the game, both teams sat at 70 points, just outside the top 8 teams in the Western Conference.
The game was the first for Blake Geoffrion. The Brentwood native becomes the first four-generation player in the NHL. Geoffrion saw 5:14 in ice time, had a take away and lost three faceoffs.
Jordin Tootoo was scratched by the Predators.
Nashville was called for a tripping penalty barely over a minute into the game when Kevin Klein tripped Jamie Langenbrunner. The Stars are ranked 12th in the League and were unable to get anything going in the offensive zone. The solid penalty kill lead to some pressure in Dallas’ end by Nashville in the first five minutes of the game.
The first period was dominated by the Stars after the early going. Dallas got the best scoring chance early when almost 6 minutes into the game, Cody Franson turned over the puck and Jamie Been took a pass ending up behind Franson and Shane O’Brien. Pekka Rinne was able to stop the point blank shot from the Dallas forward.
The Predators found themselves on their lone full two minute power play when Matt Halischuk took a stick to the face 15:54 into the period. Langenbrunner was sent to the box for the infraction.
Not able to generate any shots on goal on the power play, as soon as it expired the Stars would take a 1-0 lead. With Jonathon Blum jumping into the play deep in the zone, he was unable to get a hold of a bouncing puck from a pass by Mike Fisher. It was picked up by Tom Wandell who went up the ice on a 2-on-1 and shot the puck right through the five-hole of Rinne at 18:06 into the first.
It was Wandell’s fourth goal of the season.
With the end of the first period came the seventh consecutive period that Nashville was unable to find the back of the net. Nashville hadn’t scored a goal since the final minute of the game against the Phoenix Coyotes last Saturday.
Nashville finally scored a goal early in the second period. It was 145:50 minutes between goals for Nashville as Ryan Suter broke the drought to tie the game at the 5:oo minute mark. It was his second goal of the year. Colin Wilson and David Legwand picked up assists.
Suter skated into the Dallas zone, took a shot that was blocked by Stephane Robidas. Suter got his own rebound and stuffed it in the back of the net behind Kari Lehtonen.
Nashville took a 2-1 lead at 13:32 of the middle frame when Colin Wilson scored his 14th goal of the season. Franson took the shot and Wilson dove for the rebound, swatting at the puck. Legwand picked up the other assist.
Nashville picked up a couple more penalties in the last six minutes of the second period. Joel Ward and Nick Spaling were called for minors within seconds of each other giving the Stars the 5-on-3 but just 10 seconds into it Brenden Morrow was also sent to the box. Neither team was able to score, though the Predators only had 10 seconds of power play time.
Dallas tied the game at 6:02 into the third period when Alex Goligoski sent a wrist shot toward the net to dump the puck in the zone. The shot hit Blum, changed direction and bounced over the pad of Rinne. It was Goligoski’s 10th goal of the season and first as a member of the Dallas Stars.
Nashville was sent to the box twice in the final stages of the tied game.
With 11:06 left to play in regulation as Jerred Smithson was called for interference when he collided with Wandell. The Predators killed off the penalty that produced three shots on goal for the Stars.
With just 4:48 remaining, Shea Weber was called for boarding. It was Nashville’s fifth minor penalty of the game.
Dallas took the lead with a power play goal with just 3:42 to play in the third period.
Nashville had a shorthanded 2-on-1. Legwand passed the puck to Ward but he fanned on the shot and the puck was picked up by Goligoski who fed it to Loui Eriksson who then beat Rinne. Morrow also picked up an assist. It was Eriksson’s 21st goal of the season.
Nashville tried but was unable to find the equalizer before time ran out on the clock. Nashville now needs to play again less than 24 hours from now when the Predators take on Columbus at Bridgestone Arena. Game time is 2 pm.
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