NASHVILLE, Tenn. - After shutouts at the hands of Vancouver and Detroit over the weekend, Nashville entered Monday night's game with Dallas averaging fewer goals per game than any team in the National Hockey League.
But defenseman Roman Josi said the Predators didn't really change their strategy much during a 5-4 win that was decided on his second goal of the game 28 seconds into overtime.
"We had a lot of chances the last couple of games," he said of 1-0 and 4-0 defeats against the Canucks and Red Wings, respectively. "But we just didn't get the bounces."
Whether it was a bounce here and there or just converting more of its opportunities, Nashville (9-6-5) won for just the second time in six games with its second-highest offensive output of the year. After a sluggish first six minutes, the Predators consistently created good scoring chances and buried them this time.
Josi finished the last one off, blistering a slapper from just inside the blue line past 29-year-old rookie goalie Cristopher Nilstorp for his third goal of the season. Josi also had two assists, including one on Mike Fisher's game-tying goal 8:22 into the third period.
It was the kind of display many fans expected from the second-year player, who was teamed with All-Star defenseman Shea Weber to start the season but struggled and was shifted to a pairing with Kevin Klein.
"The last couple of games, he's played with jump and pizzazz," Predators coach Barry Trotz said of Josi. "He's becoming a very important part of this team. For a young kid like him, it can be a bit intimidating (to play with Weber), but he's comfortable in his own skin."
It was an unusual victory for Nashville, which usually prevails in low-scoring contests based around goaltending and defense.
Not Monday night, when the Predators and Stars swapped defensive errors and brilliant offensive sequences in a game which turned wild and crazy after a calm first period.
After Nashville scored the lone goal of the first period, when Craig Smith converted Rich Clune's perfect pass into the slot for his second tally of the year, the Stars (9-9-1) exploited a series of defensive gaffes during a four-goal explosion in an 8:01 span of the second period.
Matt Fraser started the onslaught with a wrister from the left faceoff circle at 1:20, followed by Reilly Smith's deflection of Michael Ryder's shot 25 seconds later. That goal so infuriated Predators goalkeeper Pekka Rinne that he flung his stick into the boards behind the net.
Perhaps as displeased as Rinne, Trotz took his timeout following Smith's tally. It gave the Preds a brief jolt as Josi's slapper from the blue line eluded Nilstorp for the equalizer at 3:05.
But Dallas potted power play goals less than two minutes apart, inspiring rare booing from the 23rd straight sellout crowd at Bridgestone Arena. Vernon Fiddler, who started his career with Nashville, zipped his first goal of the year past Rinne at 7:29, and Loui Eriksson scored off Ryder's third assist at 9:21.
It was the 10th straight game in which the Stars have scored at least three goals, the longest current streak in the NHL and the first time they've done so since the 2001-02 season.
Patric Hornqvist pulled the Predators within 4-3 at 13:43 with a backhander from the doorstep on the power play. Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan pointed to that goal as the turning point.
"You can't give them a 5-on-3 after going up 4-2," he said. "It let them back in it and got the building excited. It was an emotional game, but at the end of the day, we needed to be disciplined and we were emotional."
Notes: Nashville center Paul Gaustad (upper-body injury) sat out his second straight game and hopes to be ready for the start of the Predators' three-game California road trip Wednesday night in Anaheim. Teammate Hal Gill (lower-body injury) was also scratched and his status for the road trip isn't known ... Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen, who was 7-2-1 with a 2.12 goals-against average before suffering a lower body injury, remains on his team's lengthy injured reserve list, which also includes veteran forward Ray Whitney (foot) ... With last week's firing of Lindy Ruff by Buffalo, Trotz is now the longest-tenured head coach in the NHL at 1,085 games. In North America's major sports, only Gregg Popovich of the NBA's San Antonio Spurs has coached his team longer ... Fisher's goal was the 200th of his career ... Weber played in his 500th career game.