By Amanda DiPaolo
The Nashville Predators need to play desperate hockey. That’s the message Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz tried to convey to his team, especially after allowing three goals in the third period on Thursday against Anaheim.
“We’ve got to be more desperate than them even though they’re trying to catch us. The other day we were talking about a dying snake in our meeting about Anaheim — they can come back and bite you and kill you. We didn’t allow that tonight. That was a lesson learned,” Trotz said.
The Dallas Stars have a 13-4-1 record against the Central Division going into Saturday’s contest against the Predators.
At the 7:39 mark of the first period, Sergei Kostitsyn got called for a high stick, putting the Predators down a man for two minutes. It took Dallas 1:10 into the power play to register their first shot on the man advantage, but it beat Predators goalie Pekka Rinne and the Stars took a 1-0 lead.
Loui Eriksson sent a cross-ice pass from the top of the right circle to Alex Goligoski who’s shot beat Rinne stick side.
The Predators came back and tied things up at 14:26 of the period when Martin Erat took a shot on goal that David Legwand was able to bury on the rebound.
The Predators took an early 2-1 lead in the second period when Mike Fisher picked up his second goal as a member of the Predators. Patric Hornqvist sent the puck from behind the net to Fisher who was in the left circle. Fisher one-timed the puck passed Kari Lehtonen.
“That was a huge, huge win for us. That’s a team that’s right on our heels. So, to get that and to kill the last two minutes was really good. It felt awesome,” Fisher said of the win.
Less than two minutes later the Stars tied the game. Shea Weber was tripped at center ice, but there was no call on the play. As the play continued, Dallas captain Brenden Morrow took a shot from an awkward angle almost behind the net. The puck deflected off Blake Geoffrion’s stick and over the shoulder of Rinne. It was Morrow’s 22nd goal of the season.
The tying goal for Dallas was also their first shot of the period.
But the Predators regained the lead when Fisher picked up his second goal of the night. Fisher picked up the rebound of a Ryan Suter shot on goal that he was able to backhand into the net. It was Fisher’s 17th goal of the season.
The Stars went into the third period down a goal, but 6 of the 9 come-from-behind wins for Dallas have come against Central Division teams.
The Predators held on, despite Suter taking a slashing call with just 2 minutes left to play.
Suter said the team didn’t panic when the penalty was called. “I think that says a lot about our team right now. We have a lot of confidence in ourselves, and they did a great job of killing that penalty in the end,” he said.
With the goalie pulled and six attackers on the ice trying to tie the game up in the dying seconds, Legwand notched his second goal of the game.
The Predators now have 92 points with six games remaining and are only one point shy of fourth place–and home ice advantage for the first round of the post-season– in the Western Conference standings.
The Predators are now idle until Tuesday when they host the first place Vancouver Canucks. Nashville is 2-1-0 against the Canucks this season. Tickets are still available.
Photo credit: AP
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