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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

me."

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

score."

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.

"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."

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