Defenseman John Klingberg scored with less than three minutes remaining in overtime as the Dallas Stars advanced to the second round of the NHL playoffs with a 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators on Monday.
The Stars are the third wild card team to knock off a division winner in the NHL playoffs this season and that trend could continue on Wednesday if the Carolina Hurricanes beat the reigning Stanley Cup champions Washington Capitals in game seven.
Russian forward Alexander Radulov fired a sharp pass to Klingberg, who made no mistake by wristing a shot over the glove of Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne to give Dallas a 4-2 series victory. The Stars captured a playoff series on home ice for the first time since 2008.
Blake Comeau scored his first goal of the series and goaltender Ben Bishop stopped 47 shots for the Stars, who will face the St. Louis Blues in the second round. Bishop broke into the NHL with the Blues back in 2008-09 and played parts of two seasons for them. The Blues eliminated Winnipeg in six games during their first-round series.
Austin Watson scored a goal and Rinne finished with 49 saves for the Predators, who failed on all four power-play opportunities to finish 0-for-15 with the man advantage in the series.
Elsewhere, the Hurricanes bounced back from a game five beatdown to rally and defeat the Capitals 5-2, forcing game seven in their first-round series.
Jordan Staal and Dougie Hamilton each had a goal and an assist as the Hurricanes scored three third-period goals to stay alive in the first round Eastern Conference best-of-seven series. Defenseman Brett Pesce said Carolina is starting to figure out the formula needed to upset the reigning NHL champs, after the Capitals had put the Hurricanes on the brink of elimination by dominating game five 6-0.
“We have been underdogs all year,” said Pesce, an American who assisted on Justin Williams’ third-period goal. “We didn’t give them much time and space. We don’t give up. We are going to be ready for it (game seven). We have so much resilience in this group. It showed tonight.”
Williams scored the insurance goal on Monday just seconds after the Capitals had a potential tying goal disallowed.
Canadian forward Warren Foegele and Teuvo Teravainen also scored, Hamilton added the empty-netter and Czech goaltender Petr Mrazek made 23 saves to extend their first postseason appearance in 10 years by at least one more game.
Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin became unglued at the end of the game and took a two-handed swing with his stick at Carolina’s Saku Maenalanen which earned the Russian an ejection from the game. Game seven is on Wednesday in Washington. The winner will play the well-rested New York Islanders in the second round.
Meanwhile the Carolina Hurricanes bounced back from a beatdown in game five to come from behind Monday and defeat the defending champion Washington Capitals 5-2, forcing game seven in their NHL playoff series. Jordan Staal and Dougie Hamilton each had a goal and an assist as the Hurricanes scored three third-period goals to stay alive in the first round Eastern Conference best-of-seven series. Defenseman Brett Pesce said Carolina is starting to figure out the formula needed to upset the reigning NHL champs, after the Capitals had put the Hurricanes on the brink of elimination by dominating game five 6-0.
Carolina 5-2 Washington
Dallas 2-1 Nashville
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