Just ask defenseman Roman Josi and the Nashville Predators.
Josi's wrist shot at 19:28 of the second period gave Nashville a
two-goal lead after it had controlled the flow of play without
scoring and the Predators went on to post a 4-1 win on Monday night
over the Dallas Stars at Bridgestone Arena.
Nashville goaltender Carter Hutton (10-7-2) turned in one of his
best performances of the season with 35 saves, including 19 in the
third period, as the Predators (22-22-7) won for the third time in
It didn't hurt that he got a boost from an offense that scored four
goals for the fourth straight game. Josi, who drew the lead assist
on left winger Nick Spaling's tying goal at 11:35 of the first
period, came up with the game-turning play.
After left winger Eric Nystrom and center Paul Gaustad extracted the
puck from the corner, Gaustad chipped it to the trailing Josi. He
picked the upper right corner with a 21-foot wrist shot, beating
goalie Kari Lehtonen (17-14-8) for his sixth goal of the season.
It was Josi's second point of the night and his sixth in his last
"I guess I've just been a little more lucky lately," he said. "I
always try to jump up into the play and make something happen. I try
to get a lot of shots through and lately, they've been going in."
Nashville put it away at 3:46 of the third period. Center Colin
Wilson won a race to a loose puck with defenseman Kevin Connauton
near the goal line and slipped a nice drop pass to trailing center
Mike Fisher, who potted his 13th goal of the season.
It was the only Predators goal on which a defenseman wasn't involved
in the scoring. Josi's partner, Shea Weber, gave Nashville the lead
for good with his 13th goal at 17:16 of the first period, his 13th
point in as many games.
"We've asked them to be more active," Predators coach Barry Trotz
said of his defensemen supplying more punch on offense. "The
forwards are doing a better job managing the puck so the defensemen
can jump up into the play."
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Weber appeared to have started the scoring at 3:06 of the
first period with a slapper, but center David Legwand tripped
Lehtonen as the shot went by. Referee Rob Martell quickly waved
the goal off and penalized Legwand.
Dallas center Cody Eakin cashed in on the power play at 4:45
with a one-timer from the right faceoff circle for his 11th goal
of the season. But that was it for the Stars (21-20-8) as they
suffered their ninth loss in 10 games.
"I think you have to play the game on your toes and go after
it," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "We missed a puck at the end
of the second period and instead of it being a one-goal game
where we can really go after it, we walk into the dressing room
and it's 3-1.
"You've got to push through it. It's on me to get the team
Ruff tried double-shifting lines during the second period but to
no avail as Hutton denied a spate of quality opportunities
during the final 40 minutes. Dallas also had no luck with goal
posts as defenseman Sergei Gonchar and Eakin each had shots
clang off the iron.
Meanwhile, Nashville was more efficient with its opportunities.
"It was everybody contributing and that's what it takes for our
team to win," Spaling said. "It is all lines going and the
defense going. When they're chipping in, it's great for us."
NOTES: Dallas rookie RW Valeri Nichushkin was scratched for the
third consecutive game after playing in the first 46. The
18-year-old Russian will represent his country next month in the
Sochi Olympics. ... Newly acquired G Devan Dubnyk did not play
Monday night after losing his Nashville debut 5-4 on Saturday
night against the Colorado Avalanche. Dubnyk likely will return
to action during the team's four-game trip through western
Canada that starts Thursday night against the Vancouver Canucks.
... Barring injury, Stars LW Erik Cole will play his 800th
career NHL game on Thursday night at home against the Toronto
Maple Leafs. ... D Roman Josi's assist on the Predators' first
goal gave him a point in four consecutive games. ... Stars
goalie Kari Lehtonen finished with 19 saves.
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