Predators' scoreless streak ends, losing streak continues at Dallas

Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 4:42pm
Staff reports

The end of the Nashville Predators’ scoring drought came from an unlikely source.

A streak of more than seven full periods without a goal ended when Ryan Suter scored exactly five minutes into the second period. It was just the second goal of the season for Suter, whose only other one came back on Dec. 11.

The Predators’ losing streak reached four games, though, as they blew a third-period lead and fell 3-2 to the Dallas Stars on Saturday in Dallas. The loss dropped them further off the pace in the Western Conference playoff chase.

Loui Eriksson scored the game-winner, a power-play goal, with 3:42 remaining, 1:06 after Shea Weber was sent off for boarding.

Nashville (31-23-8) and Dallas (33-23-6) entered the game tied in the Western Conference standings with 70 points apiece but — based on tiebreaking procedures — both were outside of the top eight. The Predators were 10th, one spot behind the Stars.

The Predators’ season-high scoreless streak lasted 145:50 and included shutout losses at Columbus on Tuesday and at home against Chicago on Thursday.

It did not take long after Suter scored, though, before they got another.

Colin Wilson gave Nashville a 2-1 lead when he scored on a rebound chance with 6:28 to play in the second period. Wilson also had an assist on Suter’s goal as he snapped a personal six-game streak without a point.

David Legwand had an assist on each goal. He has scored seven points (two goals, five assists) in the last eight games.

The Stars tied it when defenseman Alex Goligoski, a recent trade acquisition from Pittsburgh, scored an unlikely goal 6:02 into the final period. Goligoski flipped the puck toward the net from just inside the blue line, and it bounced over the pad of goalie Pekka Rinne, just inside the far post.

Goligoski then added the primary assist on Eriksson’s game-winner.

Nashville plays a rare afternoon home game when it hosts Columbus, 2 p.m. Sunday.

Briefly

• Tough guy forward Wade Belak cleared waivers and was reassigned to Milwaukee. Belak appeared in just 15 games and did not have a point for the Predators this season.

The last time he played in the American Hockey League was 1998-99, when he was a member of the Calgary Flames’ organization.

• Steve Sullivan was placed on injured reserve prior to the game.

• Blake Geoffrion made NHL history when he became the league’s first fourth-generation player. The 23-year-old center made only a minimal impact, though, in his NHL debut.

Geoffrion played just 4:53, fewer than all but one player on either team. He did not have a shot on goal and lost the only three faceoffs he attempted.