Predators eliminated from playoff contention

The Nashville Predators saw their slim playoff hopes disappear Tuesday night by the hands of the Dallas Stars. Entering the game, Nashville was behind six points with four matches remaining. They had to win to survive. Unfortunately, they did not and their season came to an end in the skills competition.

It took the third round before anyone was able to get the puck across the goal line in the shootout. Roman Josi and Vernon Fiddler traded goals before entering the extra rounds. After Matt Cullen was stopped, Tyler Seguin scored the game-winner on the glove side of Pekka Rinne.

The game was an entertaining one to say the least. If there was a prototypical Central Division game, it would be that one. It had all the ingredients of solid goaltending, physicality, and grittiness.

Alex Goligoski, who had 4 assists in Dallas’ 7-3 route over Nashville in their last meeting, scored the opening goal of the game at 2:23 of the first period.

Gabriel Bourque notched his first goal of the game at 1:22 of the second period, but the game would be knotted up at 1 for only a short time.

Approximately seven minutes later, Jamie Benn powered a wrist shot past Rinne on a 2 on 1 to reclaim the one-goal lead.

A bad turnover by Jamie’s brother, Jordie, led to Bourque’s second of the night at 10:24 of the third period. Paul Gaustad intercepted the D-to-D pass behind the net and fed Bourque alone in the slot.

Rinne made 27 saves in the loss.

Kari Lehtonen stopped 28 shots on goal, but none prettier than Eric Nystrom’s 2 on 1 one-timer attempt with 8:56 to play in the second period.

Now, Nashville has nothing to play for except intentionally losing for draft position. It’s been real Predators!