It took just over 17 minutes of overtime, but the Dallas Stars eliminated the Nashville Predators from the playoffs Monday night.
The Stars snagged the 2-1 victory, effectively ending their first round series with Nashville in six games. Dallas will go on to face the St. Louis Blues in the second round.
The series-winning goal for the Stars came from defenceman John Klingberg, marking the first time in 11 years that the team has been able to seal a series on home ice.
“We wanted to close it out today and don’t have to deal with going back there,” said Klingberg. “We treated it like a Game Seven.”
It was the third consecutive win in the series for Dallas, who found their groove and rolled over the Predators when it mattered most. The Stars held the edge in shots on goal, 51-48, and they played a more physical game. They had eight penalty minutes to Nashville’s two, but nobody was able to capitalize on a power play in Game Six. The Predators finish the series without a goal on the man-advantage, period.
The Predators held the edge in the faceoff circle and blocked more shots Monday night, with Pekka Rinne standing on his head to give his club a chance to hang in there. He set a career best by stopping 49 shots on goal in his 89th playoff game.
Stars goalie Ben Bishop was one of the best players in the game and the series. He made 47 saves for the win for a .979 save percentage. Through the first round, the 32-year-old has a .945 save percentage and a 1.90 goals against average. Freshly named as a Vezina Trophy finalist, Bishop was every bit as good as he needed to be against the Predators.
“We slowly, second period, third period and overtime got better and better,” head coach Jim Montgomery said. “Obviously our best player was Bish. He was incredible.”
The Stars and Blues have met in the second round before, most recently in 2016 when St. Louis won the series in seven games. The Blues have home ice advantage this time.
(Photo credit: NHL.com)