Stars 2, Predators 1
DALLAS (AP)—Dallas coach Dave Tippett spread the credit around after his team matched a season high with its sixth straight victory. He saved his highest praise for the Stars’ penalty-killing.
Philippe Boucher also scored for the Stars, who needed overtime or shootouts to win their previous four.
The Predators went 0-for-6 on the power play, the last opportunity coming in the final minute with Stars defenseman Sergei Zubov in the penalty box for hooking. Nashville pulled goalie Tomas Vokoun to give the Predators a 6-on-4 advantage, but a penalty-killing unit led by Jon Klemm, Boucher, Stu Barnes and Jere Lehtinen kept the heat off Turco.
“I thought it was excellent,” Tippett said. “We blocked a lot of lanes and didn’t give them a lot to shoot at, and on the chances they did get to the net, Turco was real good. We got a couple of big goals but the penalty-killing was the key for us.”
Martin Erat got Nashville’s only goal, at 7:15 of the third period, and Vokoun stopped 21 shots.
Nashville controlled the action in the third period, outshooting Dallas 7-1, but the Predators’ late power play failed to generate a shot on Turco in the final minute.
“We were trying to get guys open in front of the net and it just didn’t happen,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “We didn’t generate anything there. When you get a chance like that, you have to create havoc and make something happen.”
Boucher got his 12th goal of the season on a rebound at 1:19 of the second period. Morrow scored his 17th of the season, converting Bill Guerin’s centering pass at 11:27 of the second period to make it 2-0.
“We’re doing it in different ways every night,” Morrow said. “A different guy is stepping up every night and making the big play.”
Nashville center Scott Nichol was hospitalized and kept overnight for observation with what Trotz said was a probable concussion sustained in the second period.
Nichol was chasing the puck to the right of the Dallas goal alongside Stars defenseman Trevor Daley when Nichol lost his balance, hitting his head on the ice and sliding headfirst into the end boards.
Medical personnel rushed onto the ice to attend to Nichol, who did not appear to be moving for several minutes. After a 10-minute delay, he was placed on a stretcher and was taken by ambulance to a local hospital to be evaluated. By then he was conscious and had feeling in all his extremities, according to a Predators official.
Daley received a 5-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct. Nashville managed only one shot on goal during the 5-minute power play.
Trotz said he didn’t think Daley intended to injure Nichol.
Dallas held a 10-8 shots edge in a scoreless first period.
Nashville has lost three straight since beating division rival Detroit on Jan. 24.
“It’s a long season and there’s going to be some ups and down,” Vokoun said. “We have to keep our focus. This is not the time to panic.” ^Notes: Boucher has 30 points, matching his career high. … Mike Modano missed most of the last period and the entire overtime of his previous game with a toe injury, but the Stars captain was back in the lineup against the Predators. … Mike Sillinger, acquired on Monday in a trade with St. Louis, made his debut for Nashville. … Guerin has gone without a goal for 17 games. … Dallas is 12-3 in its last 15 games.