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Preds win ‘old-time hockey’ battle over Stars

Monday night’s contest between the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators was a battle, especially in the second period. In a period where goals were plentiful, the physical play between the two teams was perhaps just as frenetic. It had a bit of a playoff-like atmosphere to it.

In the end, the Predators rallied from a 4-2 deficit to get a 5-4 overtime victory over the Stars.

“It was pretty chippy out there. A little bit of old-time hockey. It was good to see. The boys responded coming back from two goals there. We showed some good legs after a tough start, but we got the job done,” said Predators forward Brandon Yip.

Nashville found themselves down 4-2 in the second period after closing the first with a 1-0 lead. Dallas scored 25 seconds apart at the beginning of the period, forcing Predators head coach Barry Trotz to take his timeout. Roman Josi scored the game-tying goal, only to see the Stars answer with two more tallies.

The Predators needed a spark and Yip provided one to when he fought Eric Nystrom at 11:45 of the second.

“I was trying to get them going when we were down one or two, but they didn’t want to go. Then we needed a spark and Nystrom was in front of Pekka so we just decided to go,” Yip said.

Shea Weber had just been high-sticked before the fight, causing the captain to bleed from the bridge of his nose, and no call was made on the play. Weber delivered two massive hits to Matt Fraser and Cody Eakin after taking the stick to the face, and Yip decided he would take matters into his own hands when Nystrom went to the front of the net.

“Brandon went in there and stood up for Shea there. That’s how you rally around guys when guys stand in for other guys, and Yipper needed to do that — not only for our team, but also I think for himself to get emotionally engaged into the game. He sat a couple games. He wanted to prove a point to me and everybody that he was going to be engaged, and he was tonight. That’s a step in the right direction for sure,” said Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz.

The Predators were not sharp defensively in the second period, and their penalty kill was not playing well either. However, the Predators still found a way to battle back and win. It was a big game for the Predators, who had been shut out in their two previous games leading into Monday night.

“We knew coming into tonight we needed a win, and it was nice to get one for Peks. He’s our backbone all year, and it was nice to rally for him and get the win because he deserves it,” Yip said. “We know when we start playing well we have success. We tighten up in our zone like we did in the third, and it creates more offense. It was nice to bury some tonight and get a couple of guys’ confidence back.”

“It was a real character win,” Trotz said. “We ran into a little adversity and found a way to get it done. We gave up a point, but gained two, so that’s the way we have to look at it.”

Roman Josi had two goals and two assists on the night, including the game-winning goal in overtime. It was a breakout game for the second-year defenseman. Josi was really good defensively all night long, and his offense was simply sensational as he had a career-high four-point night. It was the type of game that makes the Nashville faithful forget about Ryan Suter.

“I think I have some more confidence, and I am feeling good right now and am just trying to make plays and use my legs,” Josi said after the win.

Nashville will head back west on Wednesday to take on the red-hot Anaheim Ducks in the first of three consecutive road games out west. They’ll take on Anaheim, San Jose and Los Angeles before returning home to take on Edmonton on March 8. The Predators have already gotten wins in San Jose and Los Angeles this season.

“We had some success early on so we’re going to be fired up. These are must-win games,” Yip said. “We’re right in the mix where if you drop a couple like we just did, you’re back in seventh place from fourth. It’s tight, especially with not many games this year. We’re going into some tough barns in Anaheim, L.A. and San Jose. It’s not going to be easy, but we’ll do our best.”

 
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