Radek Faksa and Jason Spezza scored 46 seconds apart in the second period, and the Dallas Stars beat the Nashville Predators 5-2 on Tuesday night.
Dallas won for the fifth time in six games to keep pace with St. Louis for the Western Conference lead. Each team has 101 points with five games to play, but the tiebreaker currently belongs to the Stars.
Jamie Benn scored two goals for Dallas, and Kari Lehtonen made 27 saves. Patrick Sharp and Benn scored into an empty net during the final two minutes.
Nashville lost for the second straight night, hurting its chances of catching Chicago for third in the loaded Central Division.
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Dallas exceeded 100 points for the first time since 2006-07.
The last time the Stars franchise had at least three with 30 goals was 1992-93, when Russ Courtnall, Ulf Dahlen, Mike Modano and Dave Gagner had between 33 and 36 in the last season as the Minnesota North Stars.
This is the Stars’ first season with three 30-goal scorers — Benn, Spezza and the injured Tyler Seguin.
Ryan Ellis scored a short-handed goal at 6:12 of the first period to give Nashville a 1-0 lead.
The Stars responded with three in a row. Benn scored his 38th goal on a breakaway at 10:55. In the second period, Faksa put in the rebound of Antoine Roussel’s shot at 11:03 and Spezza held the puck on a 2-on-1 to beat Pekka Rinne for his 30th of the season.
Viktor Arvidsson got Nashville within one with a power-play goal at 14:41 of the second.
The Predators had chances to tie the game with 7:11 left when Filip Forsberg’s shot hit the crossbar and 2:07 to play when Calle Jarnkrok hit the right post.
Rinne finished with 20 saves.
Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski had two assists.
Dallas had a scoring chance early in the first period, but Johnny Oduya’s shot from the blue line went off a post.
On the game’s first power play, Ellis intercepted a pass by Stars defenseman John Klingberg for a breakaway and his ninth goal of the season.
Benn also scored on a breakaway. He took a long pass from Goligoski, crossed the blue line and beat Rinne with a short shot.
NOTES: Ellis left during the second period because of an upper-body injury. … Predators C Paul Gaustad (upper body) returned after missing 10 games. … Dallas exceeded 100 points for the first time since 2006-07. .. This is the Stars’ first season with three 30-goal scorers – Benn, Spezza and the injured Tyler Seguin. The last time the franchise had at least three with 30 goals was 1992-93, when Russ Courtnall, Ulf Dahlen, Mike Modano and Dave Gagner had between 33 and 36 in the last season as the Minnesota North Stars. … It’s Spezza’s fifth 30-goal season. … Dallas’ Ales Hemsky, who assisted on Faksa’s goal, has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in the last 11 games.
First Period—1, Nas, Ellis 9, 6:12 (sh). 2, Dal, Ja.Benn 38 (Goligoski), 10:55. Penalties—Jackman, Nas (slashing), 5:21; Josi, Nas (interference), 13:15.
Second Period—3, Dal, Faksa 3 (Roussel, Hemsky), 11:03. 4, Dal, Spezza 30 (Goligoski), 11:49. 5, Nas, Arvidsson 8 (Johansen, Neal), 14:41 (pp). Penalties—C.Smith, Nas (hooking), 7:11; Dal bench, served by Sharp (too many men), 12:43; Nichushkin, Dal (cross-checking), 15:27.
Third Period—6, Dal, Sharp 19, 18:05 (en). 7, Dal, Ja.Benn 39, 18:44 (en). Penalties—Sissons, Nas, major (fighting), 1:58; Eaves, Dal, major (fighting), 1:58; Nas bench, served by Wilson (too many men), 4:37; Weber, Nas (embellishment), 6:39; Roussel, Dal (cross-checking), 6:39; Ja.Benn, Dal (holding), 7:10.
Shots on Goal—Nas 8-10-12—30. Dal 7-9-9—25. Power plays—Nas 1 of 3; Dal 0 of 4. Goalies—Nas, Rinne 32-20-10 (23 shots-20 saves). Dal, Lehtonen 23-10-2 (30-28). A—18,265 (18,532). T—2:36.