Ellis impenetrable as Predators blank Stars

By Jim Diamond
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) — The Dallas Stars had no
solution for Dan Ellis.

Ellis made 27 saves and Joel Ward scored two goals as the
Nashville Predators blanked the Stars, 3-0, on Saturday.

A second-round pick of Dallas in 2000, Ellis turned aside 11
shots in the first period and eight in each of the final two
sessions in recording his second shutout of the season and
eighth career.

“Our defense was outstanding out there in front of me tonight,”
Ellis said. “They did a great job of allowing me to see pucks
and clearing away bodies and made it a pretty easy night for

David Legwand netted his sixth tally of the campaign for the
Predators, who snapped a three-game losing streak.

“We haven’t scored a ton of goals lately, but we have been
playing good defense and getting good goaltending, and that has
been keeping us in games,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said.

Tobias Stephan stopped 35 shots in his first start since October
31, but Dallas failed yet again to notch consecutive wins for
the first time this season. The Stars posted a 3-1 triumph over
the Detroit Red Wings on Friday.

“It was a tough start. I was a little over-aggressive,” Stephan
said. “After that, it was the right game, but we just couldn’t

Ward scored the game’s first goal 4:27 into the opening period.

At the Stars’ blue line, J.P. Dumont sent Ward into the
offensive zone with a behind-the-back pass. Ward faked a slap
shot from the right faceoff circle and carried the puck below
the end line before shifting it to his backhand and sliding it
just inside the near goalpost.

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“I think I surprised myself there a little bit,” Ward said. “I
saw (Stephan) out a little bit, so I tried to go around him and
found a little hole on the back end.”

Ward impressed his coach with the move.

“He had his head up, faked the shot, went around and stuck it
back door,” Trotz said. “That was a pretty goal.”

Legwand added insurance just over seven minutes into the third.
The second overall pick in 1998 carried the puck from the right
corner to the front of the net, where he was able to force it
between Stephan’s pads for a 2-0 bulge.

“Their defenseman stayed high, so I just drove to the net and
tried to stuff it in,” Legwand said. “The scoring has not come
too much for us in the past three or four games, and to not give
them anything is a positive sign.”

Ward sealed the win with an empty-netter, his fifth tally of the
season with 86 seconds remaining.

The Stars fell to 1-6-1 in the second game of back-to-back
contests this season.

“We didn’t have any people who were difference-makers, and
that’s what we need,” Dallas coach Dave Tippett said. “You take
the good stuff from last night and you’re looking to make a
difference tonight, and we didn’t push hard enough to win. It’s
really disappointing.”