John Klingberg took a pass from across the ice from Alexander Radulov and scored with 2:58 left in overtime to give the Dallas Stars a 2-1 victory over the Nashville Predators Monday night at American Airlines Center.
The Stars advanced in the NHL playoffs for the first time since 2016. It’s the first time they’ve clinched a series on home ice since 2008.
“I wanted to shoot a one-timer first,” Klingberg said. “But I don’t think I put myself in the right spot to do that … [Anton Khudobin] told me before we went out to overtime, he told me that shoot low glove and that’s where the puck went in. He was laughing about it.”
Dallas took 51 shots, including a 14-8 advantage in OT, but for much of the night Nashville had the shot advantage. They finished with 48.
The Predators had a chance to keep the series alive late in the third period. But Dallas survived a power play over the final two minutes of regulation after Blake Comeau was called for tripping.
It was the fourth power play of the night for Nashville, which was 0 for 4 on Monday and 0 for 15 in the series.
“It was a game that we kind of expected,” Tyler Seguin said. “They gave everything they had and so did we. What better way for it to end than for it to go to overtime. I’m happy we found a way to win.”
The Stars play the St. Louis Blues in the second round. The last time the Stars clinched a series on home ice was 2008 in the Western Conference semifinals against San Jose. In 2016, the Blues eliminated the Stars in Game 7 at the AAC.
Game 6 is the second time the series has gone to overtime. The Predators won Game 2 at home 2-1 in OT.
Both goalies made heroic saves all night. In overtime, Pekka Rinne made the save after Tyler Seguin made a steal inside the blue line and fed Jamie Benn for a shot from the slot.
Nashville took a 1-0 lead on Austin Watson’s goal off a rebound 5:47 into the first period. The Predators outshot the Stars 19-10 in the opening period. Bishop made 17 saves in the period.
The Stars didn’t muster many scoring chances on their first power play of the game the final two minutes of the first.
Comeau tied it with a goal on an assist from Radek Faksa 5:20 into the second period as the Stars converted a 3-on-1 advantage.
For much of the game, the Predators were on the prowl. They had a 32-24 shots on goal advantage after two periods. The Stars outshot Nashville 13-8 in the third period. Entering overtime the Predators led in shots, 40-37.
Esa Lindell hit the bar on a shot early in the third. Another near goal bounced off the bar from Benn in the first period. Comeau had a shot from just outside the crease in OT stopped by Rinne. Nashville had plenty of near-misses, too.
“They gave it to us in the first period,” said Stars coach Jim Montgomery, who is the second coach with no previous NHL head coaching experience to win his first-ever playoff series. “Slowly, in the second period, third period and overtime we got better and better. It wasn’t easy because they played really well.”
Both goalies were spectacular. Bishop had 48 saves, including eight in overtime. Rinne had 51, including 14 in OT.
After Klingberg’s game-winner, Seguin and his teammates gathered to celebrate at center ice.
“That’s when you kind of lose control and black out a little bit,” he said. “I was so happy. I went to Klingberg and then, obviously, I went to Bish, he’s been our MVP all year.