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Nashville Predators 3, Dallas Stars 2: Coasting across the finish line

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The new guy fit in pretty well.
The new guy fit in pretty well.

Ever have one of those times when your car runs out of gas, but you're able to coast just far enough to make it home?

Tonight, the Nashville Predators got themselves a two-goal lead heading in to the 3rd period, and then let the Dallas Stars take over the final 20 minutes, getting outshot 11-6 in the final 20 minutes, giving up a goal to make the game close, and fighting off a penalty in the final minutes to preserve the win.

Video highlights and post-game reaction from this one follow after the jump:

Cue the video (might take 30-45 minutes post-game to work):

Your random observations:

  • Could you ask for more wild-card story lines heading into a game? Mike Fisher's sudden scratch due to illness, Hal Gill's debut, Craig Smith getting the top-line gig to start, 7 D dressed...
  • The opening goal for Dallas made for a perfect example why, for the playoff run, I'd love to see the Preds add an experienced center (as opposed to wing) and allow Craig Smith to stay on the wing, where his defensive responsibilities are simpler. As the Stars worked the cycle and Ribeiro carried the puck behind the Nashville net, Smith made a poor decision to leave his man (Ryder) alone in the slot to help out Kevin Klein with Ribeiro. A pass right through Smith gave Ryder a slam-dunk opportunity from right between the faceoff circles, and he delivered. If Smith stays on his man, that's just a weak wraparound attempt by Ribeiro.
  • And the answering goal minutes later, credited to Bourque? It's like we always say, it's best to pass up a shooting opportunity from the faceoff dot to attempt a pass instead.
  • I do like the suggestion by some folks on Twitter that when a player's hands are on his stick, it shouldn't matter if he knocks the puck into the net with his glove. Bad break for Halischuk there, because even though Weber's shot was going in, there's no way he could hold up from trying to bury it.
  • How about Colin Wilson's goal? That was one of those "power forward" moments that make fans drool. It's just too bad we haven't seen them more consistently.
  • You couldn't help but notice the sparse crowd in the arena tonight. New ownership has only had a matter of weeks to get started on things, so here's to hoping Dallas can head back towards being one of the stronger American NHL markets next season.
  • Hal Gill fit in pretty seamlessly, didn't he? His size & strength are a welcome addition on the blueline.
  • This would have been the first time since March 31, 2011 against Colorado that the Predators went an entire game without having to kill off a single penalty... but Gill took that tripping call in the final minutes of the 3rd. Of course, that came moments after I wrote this bullet into the recap. Oh, those hockey gods...
  • All in all, it was a good two points to earn before some very tough opponents come to Bridgestone Arena over the next week.

Box Score - Game Summary - Event Summary - Corsi Numbers