Pekka Rinne and the visiting Nashville Predators kicked off the Dallas Stars' 4-game home stand by shutting them out 4-0 Tuesday night.
In two games this season, the Stars have given up 9 goals to the NHL’s lowest scoring team. RInne showed why he is considered one of the best goalies in the world as he stopped all 32 Dallas shots, gave up very few rebounds and made it look easy the whole night.
Nashville opened the scoring 12:16 into the first period. Jamie Oleksiak skated the puck out from behind his own net, and the puck was stolen from him before he reached center ice. The Predators skated the other way with a 2-on-1 opportunity and Matt Halischuk fed the puck over to Nick Spaling on his left. Spaling wristed the puck past Kari Lehtonen’s glove for the 1-0 lead.
On the power play only 2:16 into the second period, She Weber collected the puck off a blocked shot in the slot and backhanded it toward the net. The puck deflected off of Jordie Benn’s stick in front and fluttered in over Lehtonen’s right pad.
After killing a penalty, Rich Clune collected a puck near the Dallas blue line and skated in on Lehtonen. Benn was tired and alone in trailing Clune on the play and his hooking resulted in a penalty shot for Nashville. Clune skated in directly at the net and wristed the puck between Lehtonen’s legs before the pads closed his five-hole.
Nashville took a 3-0 lead into the third period, and the Stars began showing that they had some fight left in them. They controlled most of the third period and outshot the Predators but with 6:17 left in regulation, Eric Nystrom and Ryan Ellis got into a fight. On the power play, Mike Fisher collided with Lehtonen, setting off a rage-filled next couple of minutes.
Lehtonen used his blocked to punch Fisher in the back and Stephane Robidas added several forearm strikes to Fisher’s back. After play was stopped, Robidas and Fisher fought and simultaneously Brenden Dillon fought Bobby Butler and Antoine Roussel fought Shea Weber.
Nashville remained on the power play and David Legwand threw a puck to the slot that was deflected on net and Gabriel Bourque was standing alone to Lehtonen’s left as he popped in the rebound.
Lehtonen stopped only 17 shots and didn’t receive much help from the team in front of him. The Stars ended up 0-for-4 on the power play and 2-for-4 on the penalty kill.
The Stars kicked off a 4-game home stand with the loss to Nashville, and it’s only going to get tougher over the next three games. The Stars host the Pacific Division-leading Anaheim Ducks Thursday night and then the Western Conference-leading Chicago Blackhawks Saturday night.