August 19, 2019

N.H.L. Playoffs: Stars Move One Win From Ousting Predators

N.H.L. Playoffs: Stars Move One Win From Ousting Predators

NASHVILLE — Alexander Radulov scored two goals in the second period and the Dallas Stars beat the Nashville Predators, 5-3, on Saturday to push the Western Conference’s No. 2 seed to the brink of elimination.

The Stars came into the postseason as the West’s first wild card and are ahead by 3-2 in the best-of-seven series over the Predators, the two-time defending Central Division champions. Dallas will have a chance Monday night at home in Game 6 to join Colorado and Columbus as giant-killers in the opening round.

Jason Dickinson also scored twice, Tyler Seguin had a goal and an assist, and Jamie Benn had three assists. The Stars have scored at least five goals in back-to-back playoff games for the ninth time in franchise history, the first since Games 3 and 4 of the 1991 conference finals when the team was still in Minnesota.

Ben Bishop, named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy during the game, made 30 saves for the Stars.

Rocco Grimaldi, Ryan Johansen and Kyle Turris scored for Nashville. The Predators lost back-to-back playoff games for the first time since Games 5 and 6 of the 2017 Stanley Cup finals.

Forward Brian Boyle, who had missed the previous three games with an appendectomy, was back in the lineup, and Coach Peter Laviolette mixed up his lines. It was not enough with Dallas’s top line taking control. Seguin, Benn and Radulov took 16 of the Stars’ 26 shots, and the three were responsible for all three Dallas goals in the second period.

Grimaldi has been Nashville’s most surprising scorer in this series, and he gave the Predators a 1-0 lead at 6 minutes 25 seconds with a wrist shot over Bishop’s glove. Then Predators goalie Pekka Rinne came through with two dazzling saves while on his back 70 seconds later, stopping a backhander from Radulov with his left leg and then a shot from Benn with his left.

Dickinson tied it up for Dallas at 13:08 of the first period, beating Rinne with a wrist shot for his first goal this postseason. The Stars then seized control in the second.

The Predators failed to clear the puck after winning a face-off, and Seguin passed to Radulov, who scored his third goal of the series into an open net with Rinne at the far post just 40 seconds into the second period for a 2-1 lead.

Radulov gave Dallas a 3-1 lead with a goal from the slot off a backhanded pass from Benn at 7:41.

Johansen scored his first goal this postseason at 9:18 off a pass from Filip Forsberg, but the Predators came no closer. The Stars made it 4-2 when they caught Nashville in a line change. Benn passed in the slot to Seguin, who slid the puck under Rinne’s left pad at 15:54.

Dickinson made it 5-2 with a slap shot from the high slot off another Nashville turnover at 1:57 of the third. Turris was credited with a goal at 2:25 where the puck went off Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen’s skate.

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