NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — After a turbulent trip to Nashville, the Dallas Stars were settled down by their goaltender once they got on the ice.
Anton Khudobin made a career-high 49 saves to lead the Stars to a 2-0 victory over the slumping Predators on Thursday night.
“It didn’t seem like we gave up 49 shots. It didn’t seem like we were under siege,” Dallas coach Jim Montgomery said. “Usually when you give up 49 shots, you are usually a little bit under siege on the bench. I think we gave up a lot of perimeter stuff. For the most part, we allowed him to see the puck and he did a good job of taking whistles when needed.”
Tyler Pitlick and Mattias Janmark scored for Dallas, which has won two of three.
Pekka Rinne stopped 28 shots for the Predators, who have lost five straight.
“We’re working to create. It’s not from a lack of effort or opportunity,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “When you put that many pucks at the net, you’re looking to do the right things.”
Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm led all Nashville skaters with eight shots on goal.
Following the three-day Christmas break, the Stars held a morning skate Thursday in Dallas before flying to Nashville for the game. The team’s charter had a bumpy ride into Music City.
“It was tough,” Pitlick said. “We skated in Dallas and then got on the plane and flew through a thunderstorm and barely landed and got here. It was a little bit of a challenge for our team, but it was good for our team to battle through that and get a win.”
Khudobin posted his first shutout this season and the seventh of his career. He was tested often, with his best save coming with six minutes remaining when he denied Ryan Johansen’s slap shot from the right side with Nashville on a power play. Khudobin also set a franchise record for saves in a shutout.
“It’s just a number,” Khudobin said. “I’m more happy with the win.”
Pitlick scored the first goal at 7:20 of the opening period.
After a give-and-go with linemate Radek Faksa, Pitlick used Predators defenseman Matt Irwin as a screen and beat Rinne with a wrist shot from the left circle to the far side.
Janmark’s unassisted goal at 11:09 of the second doubled the Dallas lead.
Irwin could not control a bouncing puck at the Stars blue line and Janmark carried it the other way. From the top of the left faceoff circle, he pulled up and fired a slap shot on net. The puck deflected off Rinne’s glove and trickled across the goal line.
The banged-up Predators got two players back in the lineup. Star defenseman P.K. Subban missed 19 games with an upper-body injury and forward Viktor Arvidsson missed 21 games with a broken thumb. Both were activated off injured reserve.
“Even though I’ve been out for a while, there’s no excuses,” Subban said. “I’m on for two goals, and in my career I’ve never liked to be on the ice for even-strength goals so I’m going to have to look at the tape and get a little better for next game.”
NOTES: Dallas is 15-1-1 when leading after two periods. … Pitlick scored in consecutive games for the first time this season. … Nashville RW Ryan Hartman played his 200th NHL game. … The Predators have not scored on the power play in nine of their last 10 games.
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