The playoffs have been an absolutely wild ride so far with two sweeps coming in the first round and every other series either standing at 2-1 or tied 2-2. Tonight, the Stars and Predators played the fourth game of their first-round series and with the Predators up 2-1, this game was already primed to be a huge one. Either the Predators take a commanding 3-1 lead or the Stars tie it up and this series becomes a best of three with two of the three games taking place in Nashville. How did game four shakes out? Let’s dive in.
The first period was all Dallas Stars. The onslaught began at 3:42 in the first period when Roope Hintz would get the Stars on the board with his first goal of the playoffs. With the Stars on the power-play, Hintz would take a pinpoint pass from John Klingberg and rifle a shot past Pekka Rinne for a 1-0 lead and the first of three power-play goals for the Stars in the first period. Alexander Radulov would join the fun next. After a key faceoff win, Esa Lindell would slide a quick pass to Radulov who would laser a shot past Rinne for a 2-0 lead and the second power-play goal of the period for the Stars.
The Stars just wouldn’t stop coming and the Predators seemingly has no answers for them. Andrew Cogliano would clean up the rebound of Blake Comeau’s shot at 8:24 of the first period to put the Stars up 3-0. The goal was Cogliano’s, who was acquired by the Stars earlier in the season, first of the playoffs and it couldn’t have come at a better moment. The Stars would score their third and final power-play goal of the first period when Mats Zuccarello, a trade deadline acquisition from the New York Rangers, would come up big. John Klingberg would make his presence felt again and he set up Zuccarello with a great feed that he would snipe past Rinne for a 4-0 Stars lead. Rinne would then be chased from the net and replaced by Juuse Saros. The second period would be make or break for the Predators with them already being down 4-0.
The second period would feature much more back and forth play with both teams getting some A+ chances. Unfortunately for the Predators, the Stars would add to their lead and Roope Hintz would strike again. With a great move in the zone, John Klingberg would execute a perfect 3-on-1 play from the blueline in and dished a nice feed to Hintz who would easily beat Saros. The Stars were determined to not go back to Nashville down 3-1. Towards the end of the second-period things would begin to start getting chippy and it as clear frustration was beginning to set in for the Predators. The Stars were imposing their will and the Predators just seemingly couldn’t find any answers.
The third period featured more of the same with both teams trading chances once again and playing some good hockey. The Predators would finally breakthrough though roughly halfway through the period. Roman Josi would score the 10th playoff goal of his career and his first on the road with a nice wrister from the point. It was his second of the playoffs and Predators gained some life after the goal although it would ultimately prove to be for naught. The Stars would skate off with a 5-1 victory.
Three Stars of the Game:
- Ben Bishop.
- Roope Hintz
- John Klingberg