Predators 3 Stars 2
(Nashville leads series 2-1)
DALLAS —Stars captain Jamie Benn was asked before meeting Nashville on Monday night at the American Airlines Center what his team needed to do.
“Get some goals,” Benn said.
Maybe next time.
Mikael Granlund scored on a long wrist shot with 8:19 remaining to give Nashville a 3-2 victory and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Granlund’s goal came two minutes after Tyler Seguin had tied the game for the Stars.
Goals are hard to come by in this series. The Predators lead 7-6 in cumulative scoring.
The Stars were blanked again on the power play, failing on four tries. They are 0 for 10 on power-play chances in the last two games.
The Stars let a prime chance get away in the second period. They had a two-man advantage for 1:29 but did take advantage. The Stars thought they had scored, but replay showed there was no goal.
Rocco Grimaldi, all 5 feet 6 and 180 pounds of him, put Nashville ahead, 1-0, in the second period. He maneuvered around defenseman Miro Heiskanen and beat goalie Ben Bishop to the far side with a wrist shot.
Grimaldi got into the series on Saturday because of an illness to center Brian Boyle. The Predators said Boyle had an “appendix procedure,” and his status is week-to-week.
Grimaldi has become an annoyance for the Stars. He has scored a goal in each of the last two games.
Filip Forsberg, a more expected scorer, added Nashville’s second goal in the period. He eluded to defenseman Roman Polak and Heiskanen to beat Bishop with a back-hand shot. Bishop had given up only five goals in his previous five playoff games.
Down by two goals more than halfway into the game, the Stars came back on scores by Mats Zuccarello in the second and Seguin in the third.
Zuccarello gave the Stars a chance by cutting Nashville’s lead to 2-1 late in the second period. Defenseman John Klingberg turned Zuccarello loose with a sharp breakout pass, and he maneuvered around defenseman Ryan Ellis for his second goal in this series.
Seguin scored the tying goal with 11:45 remaining regulation. Benn did the dirty work, gaining possession of the puck behind the Nashville goal and getting it to Seguin for the score.
The physical style of play started early. The Stars were credited with 34 hits for the first two periods. Defenseman Jamie Oleksiak led with five.
The target often was Nashville’s talented defenseman P.K. Subban. At every chance, the Stars made sure to put a body on Subban to neutralize his impact.
Nashville came out flying, outshooting the Stars 7-1 in the first eight minutes. As was the case in the first two games, Bishop kept his team in the game.
The flow shifted later in the period, with the Stars peppering Predators goalie Pekka Rinne. He looked shaky at times, including one moment when Seguin had a big opening but could not control the puck near the goal.