Thursday, January 5, 2012
Stars top Predators 4-1
By Mark Stepneski
The Dallas Stars picked up two key points Thursday night, beating the Predators 4-1 in Nashville. The victory pulled the Stars to within one point of the Predators in the Western Conference standings. Mike Ribeiro scored two goals and Jamie Benn had one goal and one assist for his third straight multi-point game. Adam Burish also scored for the Stars. Kari Lehtonen stopped 24 of 25 shots to improve to 15-6-1 on the season. The Stars were 3-3 on the penalty kill and are now 8-8 on the PK over the last four games.
Just 1:46 into the game Predators forward Jordin Tootoo dropped the gloves with Stars defenseman Mark Fistric, whose hit had knocked Nashville captain Shea Weber out of action the previous four games.
The Stars opened the scoring at the 4:18 mark when center Mike Ribeiro beat Nashville defensemen Roman Josi and Kevin Kline and then backhanded the puck past Pekka Rinne from close range.
The Predators drew even 8:31 of the period when Tootoo beat Stars defenseman Adam Pardy in a puck battle behind the Dallas net and centered the puck to Gabriel Bourque, who then beat Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen from close range.
The Stars took a 2-1 lead with 38.7 seconds left in the period. Nicklas Grossman put a shot on net from the left point that got behind Rinne and Ribeiro poked it into the net for his second goal of the game.
The Stars made it a 3-1 at 6:28 of the second period. After Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter reversed the puck behind his own net it went right to Stars forward Jamie Benn, who quickly put it past surprised Predators goalie Pekka Rinne.
The Stars came close to making it a 4-1 game seconds one later, but Steve Ott hit the post on a breakaway.
Ott got a shorthanded breakaway a couple minutes later, but was pulled down by Suter and was awarded a penalty shot. Ott had Rinne beat, but his shot hit the post and it remained a 3-1 game.
The Stars went on their second power play of the game late in the period and lost Mike Ribeiro when he was hit in the face by a Trevor Daley one-timer.
Ribeiro returned later in the third period wearing a full cage.
The Stars extended the lead to 4-1 at 12:53 of the third, cashing on a Nashville turnover in its own end. Jamie Benn set up Tom Wandell, whose shot from the left circle was tipped into the net by Adam Burish.
Scratched: Dowell, Petersen