It’s been impressive what the Stars have been able to accomplish in the past week since the trade deadline, in the past three games the Stars are 3-0-0 scoring twelve goals in the streak. New leaders have arrived as well as players like Vernon Fiddler, Eric Nystrom and Alex Chiasson have thrived in bigger minutes and bigger roles for the team. Tonight the Stars face off against the injury-plagued Nashville Predators. Nashville missing key players like Paul Gaustad and Gabriel Bourque from it’s lineup tonight. Dallas also missing Kari Lehtonen will rely on Richard Bachman until Kari is back from his lower body injury. Dallas jumped on the Predators early in the game and never took their foot off the gas in this game as Nashville was simply no match for the Stars tonight.
It was clear from the beginning that Dallas was going to take advantage of the inexperience of the Nashville lineup which they did holding Nashville without a shot in the first ten minutes of the period. Nashville did out shoot Dallas 6-5 in the period, but Dallas made their shots count as Dallas scored two goals within a short amount of time at the 6:04 mark of the period when a hardworking shift by Nystrom-Fiddler-Cole resulted in a goal as Eric Cole fired a slapshot past Nashville goaltender Chris Mason for his fifth goal as a Star and eighth of the season. Shortly after at the 8:40 mark of the period, while on the powerplay Dallas cashed in when Ray Whitney was set up for a one timer on the left face-off dot by Alex Goligoski for his tenth goal of the season. After Dallas obtained the two goal lead Nashville looked for ways to get themselves back into the game and got some momentum when Rich Clune who spent the entire first period looking for a fight and finally got one towards the end of the first period when Antoine Roussel answered Clune’s challenge. Before the end of the period Nashville cut Dallas’ lead to one goal as Taylor Beck scored his third goal of the season at the 18:42 mark of the period making the game 2-1 after the first.
Dallas struck quickly to regain their two goal lead as the fourth line got on the score sheet when Tom Wandell finished a play created by Ryan Garbutt and Antoine Roussel for his first NHL goal in over a year. Nashville tried to answer throughout the period, but Richard Bachman held the Predators scoreless in the second stopping all nine Nashville shots. Dallas created a deeper hole for Nashville at the 11:12 mark of the period when Alex Chiasson scored his fourth goal of the season. Dallas ended the period with a big penalty kill and took a 4-1 lead into the second intermission.
The period was mostly a mop up one for the Stars as they were just playing the last twenty minutes. At the 7:03 mark of the period Alex Chiasson scored his second goal of the game and fifth of the season giving Dallas a 5-1 lead. Nashville had a small attempt at a comeback at the 12:12 mark of the period when Bobby Butler scored his second goal of the season, but the comeback was soon put away when Sergei Kostitsyn got a boarding major at the 16:31 mark of the period putting the game away and giving Dallas a 5-2 victory for their fourth victory in a row.
- Richard Bachman won his fourth straight decision and five of his last six
- Vernon Fiddler earned two assist tonight, pushing him to a five game point streak. Fiddler has fifteen points on the season (3g, 12a) and eight of those points have come during the streak.
- Playoff Update: With the break, Dallas was three points behind eighth place Detroit in the west. With the win tonight Dallas is only 1 point behind Detroit with eight games remaining.
- Alex Chiasson didn’t register a point in his first NHL game, but has in his last four including all five goals.
- Three Stars of the Game Chosen by Nashville Media: 1. Alex Chiasson 2. Ray Whitney 3. Vernon Fiddler
- The Stars return home to face the Sharks tomorrow, puck drops at 7:00 pm