For the second straight game, the Nashville Predators spotted their opponent a goal. But also for the second straight game, the Predators found their scoring touch late and pulled out a victory as a result.
In front of another sold out Bridgestone Arena crowd, Nashville beat the visiting Dallas Stars, 4-1. Shea Weber and Eric Nystrom scored for the second straight game and Paul Gaustad and Roman Josi added tallies of their own en route to the victory.
“I liked the game that we played from start to finish,” Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “We’re still working at it. When coming out of training camp into real games like this, it’s nice to get results. It’s like a positive reinforcement for the way the guys are playing. But we still have things to work on and things we can do better out there.”
Pekka Rinne saw just 18 shots on the night and improved to 2-0-0 on the young season.
“There’s always big saves that need to be made by a goaltender at the right time and he certainly made some of them tonight,” Laviolette said. “Especially when you’re playing an aggressive game [like we are] there could be holes that open up because of the press you put on. So to have a guy like Pekka back there that you’re confident in to make a save when your team needs a save is real important.”
Halfway through the opening period, a poor clearing attempt by James Neal led to a Stars goal. Antoine Roussel found the puck on his stick on the far side of the ice and fired a shot that glanced off of Ryan Ellis’ skate and past Rinne for the 1-0 lead.
Nashville, who seemed out of sync for most of the game until this point, finally broke through in the final minute of the second. Weber wristed a shot toward traffic in front of the net and the puck found its way past Lindback for the tying goal.
“We knew that we would have to be in small areas and that it wouldn’t be pretty,” Laviolette said. “We knew that sometimes we’d have to get out of the defensive zone as a unit of five and not be able to generate anything but yet we’d get out of the zone. I think the guys did a really good job of grasping that and understanding that.”
“We got better as the game went along,” captain Shea Weber said. “They came out really fast in the first. It was a quick game and I thought we got better as it went along.”
In the final frame, the Predators scored three unanswered goals starting with Paul Gaustad’s first of the season. After receiving the pass from Taylor Beck, Gaustad brought it out from behind the net and tucked it past Lindback on the far side to make it 2-1, Nashville.
“Beck did a great job of getting the puck to me,” Gaustad said. “I just tried to wait it out as long as possible and just jam it in.”
Nystrom would tally just over a minute later to extend the Predators lead. Gaustad was able to dish the puck to Nystrom on a partial 2-on-1. The former Dallas Star sent a tricky backhand toward the net that fooled Lindback for the score.
Josi would add the empty netter to round out the scoring.
“We just want to be good at home and give our fans something to cheer about,” Nystrom said. “They were going nuts tonight. I think they got Frosties so they’re pretty excited.”
Nashville will now turn their attention to Tuesday and the Calgary Flames. The Flames are 1-2-1 on the young season. It’s a non-TV game here locally so be sure to catch all the action on 102.5 The Game.
Puck drops at 7:00pm Central.
MY THREE STARS (as votes on with 5:22 remaining in regulation):
1. Shea Weber (NSH)
2. Paul Gaustad (NSH)
3. Eric Nystrom (NSH)
THE THREE STARS OF THE GAME:
1. Paul Gaustad (NSH)
2. Shea Weber (NSH)
3. Eric Nystrom (NSH)
Your October 11, 2014 installment of Five Minute Overtime:
PHOTO CREDIT: Jeremy K. Gover // TheGameNashville.com