In what figured to be a tight checking low scoring game, the Dallas Stars jumped out to an early lead with a powerplay goal nine minutes into their game against the Nashville Predators. The goal was scored by defenseman Alex Goligoski. This was his third straight game with a goal and gave him 11 points in 15 games since joining the Stars in a trade-deadline deal for forward James Neal. It should be noted that Dallas is 29-4-2 when they score the first goal of the game.
Nashville tied the game with a scramble goal by David Legwand five minutes later. The Predators are tied for the fewest regulation losses at home in the NHL. And that is precisely what Dallas is aiming to do to begin their road trip.
The second period began inauspiciously as Nashville owned the opening few shifts and grabbed a 2-1 lead on a goal by Mike Fisher. Dallas answered less than two minutes later on a luckbox goal by Brenden Morrow from behind the goal line that pinballed in off the Predator goaltender’s head and into the net to tie the score at 2. Mike Fisher’s second goal of the night gave Nashville a 3-2 lead with half the game left to be played. Dallas seemed a step slow while Nashville seemed to find another gear in the middle frame outshooting Dallas 11-9 and led heading into the final 20 minutes 3-2.
Dallas has an NHL best nine wins when trailing after two periods with six of them coming against Central Division opponents. Tonight’s game certainly fit that criteria. Nashville apparently had other plans as the third period became the tight checking defense first pace that was expected of the entire game. Dallas was the benefactor of a late powerplay opportunity to close the game. The Stars had multiple chances but failed to capitalize and Nashville iced the game with an empty-net goal in the final seconds, winning 4-2.
Dallas isn’t out of the playoffs yet, but they encountered the first bump in what could be a very rough ride to close out the season.