DALLAS – The Dallas Stars got off to a fast start, then held off Nashville’s latest comeback bid.
Vernon Fiddler, Loui Eriksson and Steve Ott scored during a span of 3:05 in the first period and Dallas went on to beat the Predators 6-3 on Friday night.
“One of the keys was getting on them right away,” Fiddler said.
Dallas rookie Richard Bachman stopped 34 shots in his seventh consecutive start in place of Kari Lehtonen, who is out with a groin injury but is expected back within a week.
Bachman was perfect in the first period while Nashville had 17 shots on goal, and good enough the rest of the way to improve his record to 5-2.
“He’s had tough times in that we’re playing him in just about every game,” Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. “I thought he made some key saves tonight. He left a couple of rebounds that we cleaned up, and that’s not like him.”
Mike Ribeiro and Jamie Benn also scored for the Stars. Michael Ryder had an empty-net goal and two assists.
The Predators were coming off a 6-5 home win over Columbus on Thursday night, when they rallied from a three-goal deficit. This time, their comeback bid fell short.
“We’re down 3-0 right away,” coach Barry Trotz said. “You can’t dig yourself a hole and come out of it every night. You’re battling back, gaining momentum, the next shift is crucial. We did that twice (gave up a goal after narrowing the deficit to one) and that’s unacceptable. We’ve got to firm up.”
Second-period goals by Matt Halischuk and Martin Erat drew the Predators to 3-2, but Ribeiro got one back for Dallas later in the second to extend the advantage.
David Legwand’s power-play goal at 4:38 of the third again pulled the Predators within a goal at 4-3, but Benn’s goal 30 seconds later restored the Stars’ two-goal cushion.
“Those response goals really hurt Nashville tonight,” Gulutzan said.
Ryder’s empty-netter at 17:53 of the third period wrapped up the victory.
Dallas struck first when Fiddler swept a loose puck into the upper right corner of the net from the left circle at 9:25 of the first period.
Eriksson needed only 1:16 after Fiddler’s goal to make it 2-0 on a wrister from the left circle, and Ott’s deflection at 12:30 stretched Dallas’ lead.
“We can’t fall behind every game,” Nashville captain Shea Weber said. “We think we can come back. We score a huge goal, but we give up a goal on the next shift.”
Trotz pulled starting goalie Pekka Rinne after Ott’s goal, inserting Anders Lindback.
Halischuk got the Predators on the board at 8:56 of the second, powering a rebound past Bachman during a pileup in front of the net.
Erat struck from the right circle during a 5-on-3 at 11:45 of the second to make it a one-goal game, but Ribeiro extended Dallas’ lead to 4-2 at 14:10 on a sharp-angle shot.
“We came back with big goals at the right time,” Ribeiro said. “To get quick goals like that meant that we always had the lead.”
NOTES: Stars D Sheldon Souray left early in the second period with an ankle injury and did not return. … Dallas scored on three of its first seven shots. … The Stars allowed 13 goals in their previous three games. … The Predators have given up 15 goals in their last three. … Dallas D Philip Larsen was back after missing two games with a lower body injury. … F Tomas Vincour (knee) and D Stephane Robidas (foot) were out for the Stars. … Nashville D Kevin Klein (flu) missed the game. … Ott’s deflection goal stood after a video review to determine if his stick was above the crossbar when it made contact with the puck.