The Nashville Predators claw their way back against the Dallas Stars

After Game two, the Nashville Predators have tried the series with the Dallas Stars at one game a piece.

Game Summary

First period highlights

The first period opened up with the Nashville Predators showing up trying to get a handle back on this series. The Predators dominated possession through the period. Their blue-line was dangerous from the puck drop. Nashville offence that started at the point was the theme of the night.

The Dallas Stars power play had three opportunities to capitalize and failed to generate much offensive pressure, let alone a goal. The Nashville power play contributed about as much as they did all season, absolutely nothing. The lack of efficiency of the power play for Nashville could end up being their undoing in this series.

Second Period highlights

The opening five minutes of the second period was just about all the offence that came from this game. Dallas captain Jamie Benn was able to get the Stars in the board. A beautiful feed from Tyler Seguin through the crease and a tap in for Benn.

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A quick response by the Predators ties the game up at one. Rocco Grimaldi gets a pass from behind the net and pots his first goal of the playoffs. Working mans goal by a hard work line.

Tweet courtesy of @NHLGIFS

The rest of the period was largely dominated by the Predators. The Dallas offence largely lacked punch throughout the game. Ben Bishop provided solid goaltending and the held the Stars in the game.

Third Period highlights

With just over 13 minutes left to play, a scrum in front of the net turns into a scrum all over the Dallas zone. Craig Smith was taken down after firing a shot from the slot and then immediately jumped up and was ready to go with whoever happened to be next to him. Giving a gloved punch to the face of Stars player Blake Comeau. The brawl that ensued resulted in just a minor for Smith who was less than please with the non call on the hit he took.

The remainder of the third remained chippy amongst the players and both goalies held the fort preventing the game from being lost in regulation. Overtime forced for the first time in this series.

Overtime highlights

The action was dominated by the Predators as this game as a whole, the overtime was no exception. The Preds outshot the Stars 5-2 in overtime with neither of the Stars shots being particularly dangerous. With the puck hitting a defender in the slot and dropping to Nashville winger Craig Smith tapped in the OT winner to tie the series for the Nashville Predators.

Hero of the Game

There is no way you could give this honour to anyone but Ben Bishop. The Stars netminder was brilliant yet again. Stopping 40 of 42 shots on the game, Bishop stood on his head yet again for a Dallas club that could only muster up 22 shots on Predators backstop Pekka Rinne.

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While Nashville controlled this game early and often, the Stars goaltender was the sole reason they were in this game. Before the series, the wxpectatation was that the better goaltending would prevail in a series of two teams with struggling offences but that wasn’t the case in game two. Ben Bishop showed why he deserves some consideration as a Vezina-caliber goalkeeper this season.

Villain of the Game

While he could have been the hero, Craig Smith gets the villain title just because of his style of play. The physical Predators forward was making amuck in all areas of the game. Whether it was battling behind the net, along the boards or in front of the net, Smith was a force on the ice all game. He had six shots on goal, was a plus-four in the shot share department with a 58% CF%.

The Predators forward made havoc in front of the net in overtime and he ended up scoring the game winner on a shot from within 10 feet of the net after the puck hit a Dallas defender and dropped to Smith near the crease. Goal potted, hockey stick sword sheathed, game winner. Series tied.

Three Stars of the Game

🌟DAL G Ben Bishop, 40/42 Saves, .958 S%, 2 goals against

🌟🌟 NSH G Pekka Rinne, 21/22 Saves, 957 S%, 1 goal against

🌟🌟🌟 NSH RW Craig Smith, GWG, 6 SOG, 1 BLK, 58% CF%

Potential for next game

With the series now tied, the Predators will likely look to continue dominating the possession and shot shares going forward. They will likely need Rinne to continue to play well because Ben Bishop looks like he’s in the zone and could quite possibly steal the series if given any goal support. The Stars goaltender has been phenomenal in the two games so far in this series. The likelihood of the Predators putting up big numbers against Bishop are low so Rinne will be key in keeping the series together for Nashville. The story is much the same on the Dallas side of the ledger, score on Rinne and support Bishop as best as possible.

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Author: Tony Ferrari

Born in Ottawa, Ontario and raised in Windsor, Tony has loved hockey his entire life. Growing up as the lone Maple Leafs fan in a household of Red Wings fans, he followed both teams since he was a child. Having been through Toronto’s rebuild as a fan, Tony is ecstatic to be along for the ride and watch the Wings get back to their glory days. Having previously written about the Detroit Lions, Tony looks forward to bringing you content from the hockey world in a series of deep dive articles and analytical points of view that can help you better understand the little things we don’t all notice because they don’t show up on the stats sheet.