DALLAS – The Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators were dragging, with both playing their fourth game in six nights. The Stars had a little more left.
Brian Sutherby scored a short-handed goal, Brad Richards had a power-play goal and an assist, and the Stars ended the Predators’ four-game winning streak with a 4-1 victory Sunday night.
“They’re not all masterpieces, but we’ll take the win and the two points,” Stars coach Dave Tippett said. “You’re physically fatigued but you push through it.”
Marty Turco made 25 saves, and Mark Parrish added a goal for the Stars, 11-1-1 in their last 13 at home. Steve Ott’s empty-netter with 1:34 left clinched the win for the Stars, coming off a 10-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Friday night.
The Stars are 9-2-2 in their last 13 games, all starts by Turco. Dallas’ special teams also have come up big during the current streak, with the Stars going 7-for-21 on the power play in February.
“Marty was on tonight and that was huge,” Richards said. “We weren’t at our best but we found a way to get through it. It’s nice to have the special teams going. It was a tough week. Tonight we battled through some sluggish play.”
Turco played in his 23rd consecutive game, tying Cesare Maniago’s franchise record set in the 1968-69 season when the team was based in Minnesota. Turco is 8-2 in his last 10 with a 1.80 goals-against average.
Turco said fatigue hasn’t been a problem, adding that his teammates are helping out by playing far better defence than they did in December when the Stars tumbled to 15th and last in the Western Conference.
“I feel energetic and sharp,” Turco said. “I need to be playing with confidence and poise, getting the opportunity to make and make saves.”
Former Star Jason Arnott scored for Nashville. The Predators had won five of their previous seven games with Dallas.
Dallas’ Mike Modano got a double-minor for high-sticking 2:19 after the opening faceoff when his stick caught the face of Nashville’s Steve Sullivan, drawing blood.
But the Stars’ penalty-killing unit produced the game’s first goal when Sutherby scored for the third time in his last five games, converting Richards’ centring pass on a 2-on-1 break at 5:07.
Parrish made it 2-0 at 15:32 of the first period, sweeping a loose puck into an open net. Nashville goalie Dan Ellis appeared to have control after stopping a shot by James Neal, but the puck skittered through Ellis’ pads and Parrish tapped it in.
“We know we have to get a better start than we did tonight,” Sullivan said.
Nashville held a 13-8 shots edge in the second period, and Arnott scored off a 2-on-1 with J.P. Dumont at 14:04.
But Turco stopped the rest, frustrating the Predators, who had outscored their opponents 14-4 during their four straight victories.
“We definitely had a bunch of chances in the second period, but it was a case of running into a hot goalie,” Predators defenceman Shea Weber said. “We shot ourselves in the foot in the first period, and it’s tough to play from behind, especially against a good team like this.”
Dallas skated 5-on-3 when Richards blasted a 40-footer past a screened Ellis at 1:42 of the third period to make it 3-1.
Notes: Tippett said there would be no practice on Monday, giving the team a rare day off. … Out for the Stars were LW Fabian Brunnstrom (ankle) and RW Landon Wilson (ribs). … The Predators were without RWs Jordin Tootoo (hand) and Wade Belak (shoulder). … Dallas D Stephane Robidas was credited with his 100th career assist on Sutherby’s goal. … Sullivan missed the rest of the first period to get medical attention but was back on the ice for the second period. He needed multiple stitches to close a gash on his upper lip. … Ott has at least a point in a career-high eight games.