That message was received, with Dallas getting goals from seven
different players in an impressive 7-3 victory against the Nashville
Predators on Friday night at American Airlines Center.
"We got some good breaks," Ruff said. "We had a couple put in by
their defensemen. We got enough pucks going to the net and got
rewarded for it."
Dallas (35-27-11, 81 points) also had five different players
register multiple points, a group led by defenseman Alex Goligoski,
who contributed three assists. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen stopped 25
The win moves Dallas to within three points of Phoenix, which
currently holds the final wild-card playoff spot in the Western
Conference. The Coyotes, who were idle Friday, hold a game in hand
Dallas struck first when center Ryan Garbutt scored his 15th on a
tap-in 8:03 into the opening period.
Garbutt received a pass from left winger Antoine Roussel in the slot
and quickly flipped the puck over the blocker of Nashville goalie
Pekka Rinne to make it 1-0.
The Stars added a second tally in the opening 20 minutes when left
winger Vernon Fiddler beat Rinne with a one-timer from the right
circle at 14:05. Goligoski initiated the sequence with a pass to
center Colton Sceviour that he received near the Nashville blue
After crossing into the Predators zone, Sceviour then laid the puck
off to Fiddler, who finished with a shot, again over Rinne's
blocker, for his fifth of the season.
Nashville (32-32-11, 75 points) cut it to 2-1 early in the second
when right winger Patric Hornqvist beat Lehtonen with a wrister
through the five-hole at 2:53.
"They looked fresh. They jumped on us," Predators coach Barry Trotz
said of Dallas. "They're such a good transitional team. There were
only a couple of guys that I thought were really, really good up
front and that's really where it all started for me, was the poor
However, it wasn't a two-goal game for long as Dallas answered at
5:37 when Sceviour scored his fifth of the season after a shot from
distance by Stars defenseman Trevor Daley from near the Predators
blue line deflected in off his right skate. After a short review by
officials, Sceviour's goal was deemed valid.
Dallas added another at 8:58 of the second when Chiasson redirected
a long-range blast from left winger Ray Whitney past Rinne for his
13th of the season, a power-play goal that made it 4-1.
The Predators would answer again when defenseman Michael Del Zotto
blasted a slap shot from near the Dallas blue line through
Lehtonen's wickets just 1:05 later at 9:53.
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Dallas then went ahead 5-2 when Daley scored his seventh after
grabbing the puck out of the air after a shot by Benn was deflected.
Daley's deflection then floated over Rinne's right pad before
landing in the far side of the net with 8:41 remaining in the second
Early in the third period, Nashville again made it a two-goal game
when left winger Eric Nystrom, a former Star, beat Lehtonen short
side with a wrister from the right circle 1:48 into the final frame.
However, Dallas would answer twice later in the period, off goals
from rookie right winger Valeri Nichushkin and center Cody Eakin
nine seconds apart to put this one away.
Nichushkin's goal, his 14th, came at 7:39 when his wrister from the
right circle deflected in off the stick of Nashville defenseman Shea
Weber. Eakin then added his 15th when he beat Rinne top shelf after
a nice pass from Garbutt on a bang-bang play at 7:48.
"I thought we were patient," Ruff said. "There wasn't a lot going on
really if I looked at the first seven minutes. We were playing the
way we wanted to. I thought that part was good."
Rinne stopped 22 of 29 shots for Nashville.
NOTES: Predators RW Patrick Eaves (lower Body), C Paul Gaustad
(upper body) and D Seth Jones (concussion) were scratched. ... Stars
LW Erik Cole (upper body), D Kevin Connauton, C Chris Mueller, who
was recalled from AHL Texas on an emergency basis on Thursday
afternoon, and C Rich Peverley (irregular heartbeat) were scratched.
... Prior to the start of the game, Peverley, who collapsed on the
bench during the first period of a March 10 game with Columbus with
a cardiac episode before being revived and sent to a local hospital,
addressed the media for the first time since undergoing a successful
procedure to correct an irregular heartbeat last week. ... Predators
LW Eric Nystrom played 74 games for Dallas in the 2011-12 season.
... Stars D Alex Goligoski had his second three-assist performance
of the season. ... Announced attendance was 18,532, a sellout.
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