Legwand, Predators take bite out of Stars

Posted Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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A long dormant Predators power play is finally beginning to produce.

David Legwand had a goal and an assist to lead Nashville to a 3-1 victory over the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.

Patric Hornqvist and Paul Gaustad also scored for the Predators, who have won two straight. Carter Hutton made 33 saves.

Nashville closed out the first period with power-play goals from Hornqvist and Legwand just 28 seconds apart.

“When you can go 2 for 2 pretty much on the power play, that’s a game-changer,” Legwand said. “It’s huge for our team. Executing 5-on-3s is big.”

The Predators had not scored a power-play goal in their previous six games, five of which were losses.

“When we score a power-play goal, it’s pretty good,” coach Barry Trotz said. “The last six or seven games, it’s been a little bit dry in terms of the goal production. That was a real big turning point for us. It gave us a lot of confidence at home.”

Erik Cole had the goal for Dallas, which has lost three of four.

Cole scored the game’s first goal at 18:07 of the opening period when he took possession of the puck behind the Nashville net and skated out front before lifting a backhand over Hutton’s right shoulder.

Making his second consecutive start, Hutton improved to 6-3-1 this season.

Dallas got into trouble when Shawn Horcoff took a high-sticking penalty at 18:45 and Brenden Dillon was sent off for delay of game 7 seconds later after his clearing attempt from inside the Stars blue line sailed over the glass.

“We lost the game in a 2-minute span,” Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said. “We were playing a good period and had a lead, but for me it’s a mental mistake we can’t make as a team.”

Hornqvist got Nashville on the scoreboard at 19:02 on the two-man advantage.

From the bottom of the right circle, Legwand found Hornqvist alone in the slot, where he wired a wrist shot high to the stick side of Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen.

Legwand scored on the 5-on-4 at 19:30 when he collected the rebound of Roman Josi’s shot from the left point and put it by Lehtonen for his sixth of the season.

“I think for me, what’s huge is instead of being down 1-0, we’re up 2-1 after the first period,” Hutton said. “Then you kind of have some confidence and we have a couple of big penalty kills in the second which really kind of get me into a groove.”

Shea Weber assisted on both of Nashville’s first-period goals, giving the team captain 10 points on the power play this season.

Nashville is 11-0-1 when leading after the first period.

Gaustad gave the Predators a two-goal lead at 9:14 of the second, beating Lehtonen with a wrist shot from the left side. The goal came on a delayed penalty to the Stars and with Hutton off for an extra attacker.

Gaustad has four points in his last two games.

This one was the first of three straight road games for Dallas against fellow Central Division teams.

“These are big ones,” defenseman Alex Goligoski said. “We have two more big ones on this road trip to turn it around. Not the way we wanted to start it, but that’s the beauty of hockey. You have to prove it every day.”

NOTES: Dallas D Aaron Rome appeared in his first game of the season. … Josi has points in three consecutive games. … Nashville won for just the third time when allowing its opponent to score first. … Hutton turned aside 12 shots in the first, nine in the second and 12 in the third.

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