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Nashville Predators 4, Dallas Stars 1: The Sam Girard Show

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Samuel Girard must really like Nashville. He’s playing like he wants to stay awhile.

Dallas Stars v Nashville Predators
And a child shall lead them.
Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Nothing like a Central Division rival to stir up some trouble, huh?

That’s what the Dallas Stars attempted to do on Thursday in Nashville, but a better defensive effort and magic from the likes of Filip Forsberg, Samuel Girard and Viktor Arvidsson proved to be too much in a 4-1 victory.

It didn’t start out great for the Preds, however. A delay of game penalty on Pekka Rinne for covering the puck too long behind his own net led to Jamie Benn’s power play goal, the lone tally in the first as the Stars led 1-0 after 20 minutes.

It was the Samuel Girard show in the second period as the 19-year-old scored his first NHL goal on a laser beam from the right point early on. His initial shot created a juicy rebound for Forsberg to cash in on the power play less than three minutes later.

Arvidsson gave the Preds a little breathing room, as Forsberg found him with tons of room cruising down the middle with less than five minutes to play.

P.K. Subban gave the fans Frostys with a 190-foot goal into an empty net to put the game away.

Colton Sissons returned after a one-game absence from the lineup, while captain Roman Josi missed his second consecutive game due to a lower-body injury.

Dallas Stars v Nashville Predators
You’d be this excited too if you scored your first NHL goal before you could legally drink.
Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Random Observations

  • The first of four anthem singers, Katie Ohh, debuted on Thursday and did a very good job with it. Interested to see the other three when they get their opportunity.
  • Kevin Fiala must have had a little lingering road rage. Radek Faksa and Antoine Roussel felt Kev’s wrath with solid hits early on.
  • Rinne’s delay of game for covering the puck behind his own net comes back to haunt him. Jamie Benn found six inches of space to go five-hole and the Stars strike first on the power play.
  • Will Martin Hanzal hear about that high hit on Weber from the league? Probably not.
  • Still looking for the Preds to begin that five-minute power play.
  • Samuel Girard…wow. An absolute missile for his first NHL goal and Bridgestone Arena erupts…
  • …as does Cody McLeod right after that by having a fairly long go with Stephen Johns.
  • Girard wanted his second goal of the night, but a juicy rebound finds Filip Forsberg and all of a sudden it’s 2-1 Nashville. And all is forgiven for the first period (not really).
  • That’s four goals in four games to start the year for Forsberg. Just 27 games better than last year, no big deal.
  • Kimmo Timonen in the building. Hi, Kimmo!
  • Emelin out with Irwin and it looks...like Rinne has to do all the work. Weber’s absence putting a real strain on the defensive pairings, but they’re holding up for now.
  • Preds with a very good second period, save for the two minutes Emelin was caught in his own end and Rinne kept things intact.
  • Fiala’s brakes work and they create a wonderful scoring chance that Dallas managed to break up in time.
  • Viktor Arvidsson would have been haunted by a swing and a miss on a point-blank chance, but oh boy did he make up for it after Forsberg created a turnover and gave him another try.

Quotables

Girard

“Once we got the lead, we just worked on forechecking them. We were trying to create some offense and I think that’s the way we need to play.”

On his first NHL goal:

“I just put the puck at the net and it was a great shot.”

Forsberg

“It doesn’t look like it’s (Girard’s) second game. He plays with so much poise and the skill he has, there’s only a few in this league that has that.”

On his goal, coming off of Girard’s rebound:

“It’s just more nervous that the (defense) might get a piece of it. (Bishop) was trying to make himself big, but it went in.”

Rinne

“That was the most complete 60 minutes so far this season,” Rinne said. “It was a step in the right direction, for sure.”

On Girard’s play:

“When I think about myself at 19, there’s no way I could have played in this league. Guys seem to be more and more ready the younger they are. (Girard) looks like a veteran out there.”

Super Duper Stars of the Game

  1. Sam Girard: His first goal in the NHL, plus an assist on the go-ahead goal. Huge night!
  2. Pekka Rinne: Stopped 30 of 31 shots, including some fantastic stops in the 2nd and 3rd periods.
  3. Filip Forsberg: A goal and an assist. He has six points in four games to start this season.

Tweets of the Night

Game Extras

Game video