Mike Santorelli, in his first career NHL shootout attempt, won the game for the Nashville Predators 3-2 in Dallas tonight. Dan Ellis had 38 saves on 40 Dallas shots, while Marty Turco turned aside 24 of 26 Nashville attempts in regulation and overtime.
Jason Arnott tallied a goal and assist for Nashville, with Steve Sullivan scoring the other goal while J.P. Dumont and Patric Hornqvist contributed an assist each. Dumont left the game early in the second period after taking a hard hit from Dallas defenseman Stephane Robidas, which drove him into the boards.
Follow the jump for the recap and video highlights...
The Preds took an early lead on a power play goal by Jason Arnott, on a play in which he carried the puck out from behind the net and stuffed a wraparound attempt through Marty Turco. Early in the second, after J.P. Dumont was knocked from the game by a Stephane Robidas hit, Steve Sullivan extended the Nashville lead to 2-0 by tapping a rebound in for the score as he crossed through a major traffic jam in front of the Stars' net.
Dallas pulled back within 2-1 with just seconds remaining in the period, as James Neal pounced on a rebound to lift a wrister over Dan Ellis and under the crossbar. The Stars then tied the game 4:05 into the third, when Dan Ellis gave the puck away right to Neal as he came down the slot, after which Neal fired an easy wrister for his second score. That period saw Dallas dominate most of the action, as the Stars outshot Nashville 13-2 over the first 16 minutes.
The Preds went on the power play in the final minute of regulation due to a slashing call created when Shea Weber drove to the net and several Preds had a chance at the puck. Dallas nearly scored on a shorthanded 2-on-1 break in the final seconds, but the teams headed to OT. The remaining Nashville PP was negated by a Martin Erat hooking call, giving Dallas the 4-on-3, which the Preds successfully killed off.
In the shootout, Steve Sullivan led off for Nashville and was denied. James Neal then clanged one of the goalpost leaving the teams tied after the first round. Marcel Goc went second for the Preds, and never really got a good shot off after mishandling the puck when he went to the backhand. Mike Ribeiro scored on a backhand deke to put Dallas ahead, which put the pressure on David Legwand in the #3 spot - but he responded with a nifty backhand shot to the top corner (shades of Vern Fidddler?) to keep Nashville alive. When Ellis turned Brad Richards' attempt aside, the teams went to a fourth round.
Martin Erat's wrister was stoned by Turco, which led to Mike Modano getting stuffed by Ellis, leading to round five. Mike Santorelli, in his 1st career shootout attempt, scored 5-hole in a hard wrist shot. Loui Eriksson then failed to score in round 5, giving Nashville the win.
Among less celebrated contributions to the win, newcomer Goc won 8 of 11 faceoff attempts, while Jerred Smithson won 5 of 7. In total, the Preds' power play converted 1 of 4 chances, while the PK turned aside 5 of 6 Dallas power plays.
As a result of the Predators' win, Dallas color commentator Daryl Reaugh is on the hook to purchase a ticket to another Stars game for every fan in attendance tonight, thanks to his "guarantee" that Dallas would start the season 1-0.
Who is your Predator of the Game?
Jason Arnott, 1 G 1A, 7 shots (33 votes)
Dan Ellis, 38 saves (49 votes)
Mike Santorelli, GW shootout goal, 3 shots (26 votes)
108 total votes