The Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators will contest a crucial Game 3 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Monday night. Nashville evened this Western Conference first-round series with an overtime victory on Saturday. The Stars had previously stolen Game 1 on the road.
All tied up
It may not have been an absolute must-win situation, but the Predators knew how daunting a challenge they would face if they lost the first two games of their Western Conference first-round series at home. Instead, they picked up a dramatic 2-1 overtime defeat of Dallas on Saturday, giving them renewed confidence heading into Game 3 on the road on Monday. Although Nashville dominated Game 2, the Central Division champs needed a goal from Craig Smith five minutes into OT to level the series at one game apiece.
“It’s a huge win for us; now we’ve tied the series and go in their building and have an opportunity to get the lead,” goalie Pekka Rinne commented. “Not too high, not too low, enjoy this, but also get ready for the next couple Dallas games.”
Smith, who has scored at least 21 goals in five of the past six seasons, emerged as the hero with his franchise-record (tied) third playoff game-winner. Nashville also got a huge contribution from a much less-heralded player in Rocco Grimaldi, a late addition to the lineup because Brian Boyle was dealing with an illness. Grimaldi recorded his first postseason goal and also first since Feb. 19.
“I think it’s a huge booster anytime he cracks in the lineup,” Rinne said of Grimaldi. “He’s always one of the bright lights out there. Again, he did a really good job.”
The Stars were outshot by a nearly two-to-one margin during Saturday’s setback but they headed home with a mission-accomplished mindset after a 3-2 victory in the series opener.
“It’s a seven-game series,” center Tyler Seguin noted. “We came into Nashville wanting to get one, wanting to steal one on the road. We did that. We’re excited to get home and play in front of our fans.”
Razor says it was a "chore to score" in Game 2, but the Stars picked up what they came to get in Nashville, earning an early series split.
— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) April 14, 2019
Despite captain Jamie Benn scoring the opening goal, Dallas managed only 23 shots on net and struggled badly on the power play, failing to capitalize on any of its six chances with the man advantage.
“You go 0-for 6…you get a couple of good chances–but you’ve got to come through,” head coach Jim Montgomery admitted. “We need to think shot first. We’re all looking at the next play instead of looking to score. That’s not only power play but also 5-on-5.”
The Nashville Predators:
- 1-4 in their last five games against teams with winning records
The Dallas Stars:
- 6-2 in their last eight overall
- 5-2 in their last seven games against the Western Conference
- 8-3 in their last 11 games against the Central Division