DALLAS (AP) — Calle Jarnkrok scored in the fifth round of the shootout and the Nashville Predators finished a franchise-record eight-game road trip the same way they started it, with a 4-3 shootout victory over the Dallas Stars on Sunday night.
Eeli Tolvanen had the tying goal with six minutes remaining in regulation and two assists for the 21-year-old rookie’s first career three-point game. Ryan Johansen had a power-play goal in the first period, and Filip Forsberg pulled Nashville to 3-2 late in the second.
Rhett Gardner scored his first NHL goal, fellow rookie Ty Dellandrea picked up his third and Radek Faska also scored for the Stars, who let a third-period lead slip away with a chance to win consecutive games for the first time since starting the season 4-0.
Dallas, the defending Western Conference champion, dropped out of a tie for sixth place with Nashville in the Central Division. The top four teams in the division go to the playoffs.
Johansen had the first goal of the shootout before Joe Pavelski pulled the Stars even on their third and final chance. Dallas’ John Klingberg, Tolvanen and Stars captain Jamie Benn failed to convert before Jarnkrok gave Nashville a 4-3-1 record on the trip.
“I’m ready to get in bed,” Johansen said. “I’m exhausted. We found a way to win some games and get some points on this trip against some good hockey clubs. Overall, we’re happy with this trip.”
The second straight shootout between the injury-plagued teams came with both playing on the second night of a back-to-back. Klingberg almost won it for Dallas in overtime, hitting the inside of the far post from the right circle with the ricochet almost coming back to him.
Faksa was injured on a blocked shot during a penalty kill in the second period, and fellow forward Joel Kiviranta also didn’t return because of a lower-body injury.
“We’re disappointed we lost that point,” coach Rick Bowness said. “But you’re down to 10 forwards halfway through and the workload we’ve had, give the guys credit. They gave us everything they had tonight.”
Anton Khudobin stopped 19 shots for Dallas a night after recording his career-best third shutout. Pekka Rinne had 27 saves for Nashville.
Gardner scored after Esa Lindell sent a puck off the boards back in front of the net. The 25-year-old didn’t get much on the wrist shot from close range, but the slow-moving puck fooled Rinne and went under his pads.
Faksa redirected a shot from Jason Robertson for his fourth goal of the season and a 2-0 lead in the first period. The 21-year-old Robertson is second among NHL rookies with 13 assists.
Dellandrea was the second Dallas player to redirect a shot by Klingberg, the defenseman who made a nifty move to set up the goal. Pavelski was the first to tip it, giving him and Klingberg a team-leading 14 assists apiece.
Forsberg’s 11th goal was one off his skate and was held up on review to see if he kicked it in. Johansen tipped in a shot from Mattias Ekholm, who has nine assists.
Tolvanen, a 21-year-old rookie, scored from near the blue line after Johansen won a faceoff, with the shot beating Khudobin over his right shoulder.
“We’re missing a lot of key players,” Johansen said. “For all these young guys to step up and compete the way they have and be difference-makers, it’s been a lot of fun on this trip. Fun to watch them. It was kind of a make-or-break trip for us.”
Dallas forwards Alexander Radulov and Roope Hintz both sat the second night of a back-to-back because of lower-body injuries. Radulov had played three straight games after missing the previous 15. Hintz has been in and out of the lineup for a month.
Mikael Granlund, who had two goals in the first three games against the Stars, added to a long of absences for the Predators. He was scratched for the first time since missing the first three games of the season.
Predators: The first of two at home against Detroit on Tuesday.
Stars: A five-game homestand continues Tuesday with the first of two at home against Tampa Bay. The Lightning have won the first three meetings between last season’s Stanley Cup finalists.
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