Timonen scored two goals and established a career high for points in a season to lead the Nashville Predators to a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars on Saturday night. Modano scored twice to pass Joe Mullen for the most goals by an American-born player with 503.
Nashville snapped a five-game losing streak by ending the Stars’ four-game winning streak.
After a scoreless first period, Nashville’s Jordin Tootoo opened the scoring at 9:15 of the second. He picked up a loose puck in the lower left faceoff circle and fired a sharp-angle wrist shot over the stick shoulder of Dallas goalie Marty Turco.
Modano’s record-tying goal came 99 seconds later.
With the Stars on the power play, Modano skated down the left side and took a pass from defenceman Darryl Sydor at the blue line. Modano pulled up at the left faceoff dot and fired a wrist shot between the legs of Nashville goalie Tomas Vokoun.
Modano’s 502 goal came in his 1,227th career game. Mullen posted his 502 goals in 1,062 games. Modano, who has played his entire career with the Minnesota-Dallas franchise, has scored at least one goal in four-consecutive games.
“I’ve been feeling good, I’ve been getting chances,” Modano said. “Tonight it just seemed like I only had a couple of shots and they seemed to go in.”
Modano trails only Phil Housley for points scored by an American-born player. Housley had 1,232 points in his 1,495-game career. Modano has 1,217 points.
“I’m going to try to get that one too,” Modano said. “I’d hate to go a whole summer and be four or five points away.”
Modano continues to impress Dallas coach Dave Tippett.
“You look at the impact that Mike Modano has made on hockey in the United States, it’s just phenomenal,” Tippett said.
Timonen’s first goal came on a power play.
Peter Forsberg had the puck on the left side and found Timonen creeping down off of the right point with a cross-ice pass. Timonen sent a shot past Turco for his eleventh goal and 51st point of the season, a new career high for the Predators captain, who turns 32 on Sunday.
“That’s a set play we like to run on the power play,” Timonen said. “It was a huge win, we lost two in a row, and we needed to get back on track.”
Nashville coach Barry Trotz said Forsberg’s pass was the key.
“Peter Forsberg made a great pass on that goal by Kimmo,” Trotz said. “That’s what we remember about him.”
Timonen put the Predators ahead 3-1 with 7.3 seconds remaining in the second period with a shot from just inside the blue line.
“At the end of the second period, to get the goal to give a 3-1 lead, it was a big goal,” Timonen said. “I’m glad I got it.”
The Predators scored their three-second period goals on just 10 shots against Turco, who made 21 saves.
Dallas was unable to find the back of the Nashville net on a 96-second two-man advantage in the third period, with Vokoun denying Jere Lehtinen and Antti Miettinen on close scoring opportunities.
“The guys dug in with a really solid effort, and I thought Tomas played really well for us,” Trotz said.
Vokoun made 34 saves for his 23rd victory of the season.
“We have to be careful taking the penalties, especially late in the game like that,” Vokoun said. “My objective is to win the game, and tonight we did that.”
Modano broke the record and drew the Stars within one with a power-play goal at 17:08, but the Stars could not tie the game.
Notes: Timonen set a career high with 52 points. Modano has seven goals in his last eight games. Forsberg returned to the Nashville lineup after missing six games with an upper-body injury. Brenden Morrow returned to the Dallas lineup after missing 33 games with three lacerated tendons in his right wrist. Dallas defenceman Stephane Robidas was carried off of the ice on a stretcher in the third period after being punched by Tootoo. Robidas was assessed a minor for charging on the play, and Tootoo received a double-minor for roughing.