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Miettinen's first career two-goal game lifts Stars past Predators 4-1

Miettinen had a career-high two goals, both on power plays, and Jere Lehtinen scored the go-ahead goal with the man advantage as the beat the Central Division-leading Nashville Predators 4-1 on Friday night.

With the game tied 1-1, the Stars had a two-man advantage when Sergei Zubov set up Lehtinen for his ninth goal of the season and 199th of his career at 7:02 of the third.

Another Nashville penalty resulted in another two-man advantage for Dallas. Miettinen, scoreless in his previous 10 games, struck 32 seconds after Lehtinen, who collected his eighth of the season from close range to give Dallas a 3-1 edge.

"What's made it tough is that I haven't been playing well overall," Miettinen said. "It's a relief.

"Maybe this will break the shell that's around me."

Marty Turco made 19 saves, and Patrik Stefan added an empty-net goal with 36 seconds left for the Stars, who've won five of their last seven games.

Stars coach Dave Tippett said a key to the victory was capitalizing on the two-man advantages.

"It's an opportunity in a game to seize momentum," Tippett said. "Our 5-on-3 got us a couple of goals.

"That was the turning point right there."

Sitting out for the Stars were left-winger and captain Brenden Morrow (severed tendons in his right wrist), centre Eric Lindros (upper body injury), and offensive catalyst, centre Mike Modano (hip flexor/groin injury), who missed his 12th straight game. Dallas is 7-5 since Modano's injury.

"With the guys we have out, we have to win one-on-one battles and be hard to play against," Miettinen said.

Scott Hartnell got the Nashville goal and Chris Mason stopped 26 shots for the Predators, 7-1 in their previous eight games.

Nashville, 2-14 in Dallas, was whistled for five penalties in the third period. Predators coach Barry Trotz didn't have a problem with any of the calls.

"We took too many bad penalties," Trotz said. "When I look at the replays of those penalties, they were non-working penalties.

"We deserved what we got. Dallas had some of their big guys out and they had other guys step up."

Friday night marked the Texas return of Predators centre Jason Arnott, who played the previous three-plus seasons for the Stars. Arnott, signed by Nashville as a free agent in the off-season, was injured and did not skate in the teams' only other meeting this season Nov. 22, a 1-0 Dallas victory.

Arnott had three goals in his previous three games for the Predators, but went scoreless against his former team.

Out for the Predators were goalie Tomas Vokoun (thumb), centres Scott Nichol (suspended) and Vernon Fiddler (shoulder) and right-winger Scottie Upshall (groin).

Dallas outshot Nashville 10-4 after the first but the Predators led 1-0.

"I thought the first period was one of our better periods this season," Stars centre Jeff Halpern said. "The effort is something we're proud of."

Hartnell converted Alexander Radulov's lead pass at 4:51 of the opening period, Hartnell's 15th goal of the season.

Miettinen's power-play rebound at 5:29 of the second, his first since Nov. 27, tied it 1-1.

The Stars had an apparent rebound goal by Miettinen disallowed with 1:41 left in the second when the officials blew the whistle after losing sight of the puck.

Turco was heartened when his teammates had the better of the play in the first period despite the deficit.

"It was a hard-nosed game for us," Turco said. "It was great to see.

"I like our chances when we play like that."

Notes: Dallas has had three power-play goals in each of the last two games . . . Vokoun and Fidder are close to returning to action . . . Modano is still a few days away from skating full speed at practice . . . Morrow is out for at least two months after having his wrist run over by a skate blade in a game Tuesday night at Chicago . . . Stars RW Matthew Barnaby was a healthy scratch . . . Hartnell had a goal disallowed with 8:15 left when replays showed that he threw the puck into the net.



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