Stars outlast Predators 4-3

Photos by Dominic Ceraldi

Jason Robertson tipped in shots from John Klingberg twice on the power play, Luke Glendening scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period and the Dallas Stars beat the Nashville Predators 4-3 on Wednesday night.

Roope Hintz had his team-leading 21st goal in the opener of a crucial stretch of eight consecutive games against Central Division opponents for the playoff-chasing Stars.

The division rivals were playing for the first time since the All-Star break, which came with both on a roll. Dallas has now won six of eight, while Nashville lost for

the second time in six games.

The game was a makeup of one of the postponements from the league’s COVID-19 pause in late December and early January.

Matt Duchene scored his 22nd for the Predators, who erased one-goal deficits with each of their goals. Eeli Tolvanen and Yakov Trenin also scored for Nashville. All-Star Roman Josi had two assists.

Robertson’s goals, both on tips of shots by Klingberg near the blue line, were Robertson’s 18th and 19th. Klingberg has 24 assists.

“I just get in front of the net,” Robertson said. “I know he shoots the puck well. Just got to get a stick on it.”

While allowing Robertson’s two goals on power plays, the Predators killed four other penalties. They survived a 3 1/2-minute stretch that included 32 seconds of 5-on-3.

“We’ve got to do a better job controlling our sticks,” said Josi, who was called for tripping twice. “I think we get a lot of trippings. I’ve just got to control my stick better. In certain situations, we’ve got to be more disciplined and more mindful.”

Glendening created the chance that led to his goal with a sprawling swipe at the puck while prone on the ice in the Dallas zone. He jumped up to join a 2-on-1 with Michael Raffl, who fed Glendening for the shot past Juuse Saros. The All-Star goalie stopped 23 of 27 shots.

The Stars beat one of the four teams ahead of them in the Central, and will face division-leading Colorado twice in this eight-game stretch. It ends with a visit to Nashville.

“Where we’ve put ourselves, we have to have a high level of desperation,” Glendening said. “Sometimes that’s what it takes. I was probably out of position honestly, if I’m on my belly, but sometimes that’s how it goes.”

The teams traded two goals apiece in the final four minutes of the second period.

The second power-play connection between Robertson and Klingberg put Dallas up 2-1 before Duchene beat Jake Oettinger just 18 seconds later. Oettinger stopped 20 of 23 shots.

After Hintz put the Stars back in front with his team-leading 21st goal with 2:01 remaining in the second, Trinen pulled Nashville even again with just nine seconds left. Trinen poked home a loose puck in a crowd around the crease with Miro Heiskanen trying to hold him off.

The Stars lost a challenge on Trinen’s goal, so they spent most of the first two minutes of the third period killing the penalty for delay of game. The Predators didn’t have any great chances on the power play.

The first Klingberg-Robertson connection opened the scoring in the first period. Nashville erased the first of three straight one-goal deficits on Tolvanen’s 55-foot shot from the left point.

The Predators controlled the pace in the first 10 minutes, but also had three

penalties in that stretch. Robertson’s first goal came during a 4-on-3.

“We’ve been in situations where we’ve had complete control of the game, and we take undisciplined penalties,” Nashville coach John Hynes said. “It’s awareness, it’s mindfulness, it’s habits and it’s got to get fixed.”