DALLAS (AP) — The bounce-back effort by Ben Bishop after a tough game didn’t surprise Dallas Stars coach Jim Montgomery.
Dallas also got a power boost to go with Bishop’s 34 saves, scoring three power-play goals in the first period on the way to a 5-1 victory over the Nashville Predators on Wednesday night to even the best-of-seven series at two games each.
“It was nice to see the power play do it in such a dominant fashion,” Montgomery said.
Roope Hintz and Alexander Radulov scored power-play goals on Dallas’ first two shots, and the Stars chased Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne with four goals on eight shots in less than 14 minutes.
“It’s nice to see the guys did a great job in front of me and get that lead in the first 15 minutes, made it a little easier on me,” Bishop said. “I thought everybody, top to bottom, played a great game and doing all the small things it takes to win.”
Bishop allowed a couple of soft goals in Game 3 in his home playoff debut with Dallas, when the Predators won their second consecutive game after the Stars won the series opener in Nashville.
Hintz, who started the season with the Stars and was sent to their AHL team three times before returning for good Jan. 29, added his second career playoff goal in the second period. That came on John Klingberg’s third assist of the game.
“We played desperate from the start,” Klingberg said. “We came out and set the pace right away.”
Game 5 of the Western Conference first-round series is Saturday in Nashville.
The Stars were 1 of 13 on the power play in the first three games, but went 3 of 4 in the first period of Game 4. It was the first time they scored three power-play goals in one period of a playoff game since moving to Dallas before the 1993-94 season.
“Our kill, which has been so solid for a couple months now, you never want to see three go in like that,” Predators center Nick Bonino said. “They made some nice plays. They picked some corners. That’s going to happen.”
Andrew Cogliano and Mats Zuccarello also scored as part of the Stars’ four goals against Rinne before Juuse Saros replaced him and stopped 20 of 21 shots. Rinne, who started his 87th consecutive playoff game for Nashville, had stopped 40 of 42 shots in Game 3.
“It’s frustrating when you’re geared up to win a hockey game, and you look up and it’s 4-0 on the board with five minutes to go in the period,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette. “You’re battling back at that point, and the frustration is easy to let into the game.”
Zuccarello’s third goal of the series was a power play goal, and made it 4-0.
Dallas led 1-0 when Hintz scored on a pass from Klingberg only 3:42 into the game. The Stars were back on the power play only 90 seconds later, and converted again when Radulov got his second goal of the series .
“I don’t think any of the first three (goals) were Pek’s fault. He’s played fantastic to this point,” Laviolette said, mentioning multiple times two redirects and an initial pad save on another shot. “Hard to fault (Rinne) on those goals and those situations, the circumstances and situations we put him in.”
The Stars had scored only 39 goals in the first period all season — through 82 regular-season games and then had none in the first three games of this series that were all decided by one goal.
Nashville hadn’t allowed three power-play goals in a single period this season, or faced a four-goal deficit after the first period.
The Predators didn’t score until more than eight minutes into the third period, when Roman Josi shot from the slot in the middle of the circles. The puck whizzed to the right of Bishop, who had a lot of traffic in front of him.
NOTES: Josi has two goals in this series. In 32 career regular-season games against Dallas, Josi has 10 goals and 15 assists. The only team he has more goals against is Colorado, with 11 in 32 games. … Dallas scored four goals in one period for the first time in its last 33 playoff games — since a 5-2 win over San Jose on April 27, 2008. The franchise record is five, the last by the North Stars in April 1994 against St. Louis. … The Predators lost in Dallas for the first time this season. They were 3-0 in the regular season before winning Game 3. … Dallas snapped a four-game home playoff losing streak.
The series switches to Nashville for Game 5 on Saturday afternoon, then back to Dallas for Game 6 on Monday night.
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