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Erik Haula’s OT goal lifts Predators over Stars

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Erik Haula scored the overtime winner and Juuse Saros posted the shutout to give the host Nashville Predators a 1-0 victory over the Dallas Stars on Saturday and maintain their hold on fourth place in the Central Division standings.

Saros made 28 saves for the Predators (28-22-2, 58 points), who earned a bit more breathing room. Nashville has a three-point edge on the Stars (21-17-13, 55 points), who have one game in hand.

The Predators have four games remaining to the five Dallas has slated. The top four teams in the division earn a trip to the Stanley Cup playoffs, and the Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers have already earned a spot.

Moments after the Predators failed to score on an overtime power play, Haula crashed the net and redirected Mattias Ekholm’s pass into the net at 3:32 of the extra frame.

Anton Khudobin stopped 33 shots for Dallas, who have dropped three straight games.

Nashville finishes with five victories in eight games in the head-to-head season series with the Stars (5-3-0), and all five of their wins have come in extra time. Dallas finishes with a 3-0-5 mark against the Predators.

As to be expected, both goalies stood out in the tight-checking affair that ramped up in the third period.

Khudobin made a couple of clutch saves just before the midway point of the third period, denying Haula and Calle Jarnkrok on golden chances within seconds of each other, while Saros denied Jamie Benn power play late in the third period to force overtime.

The Predators had extra good news with a trio of injured players returning. Forward Filip Forsberg (upper body) who last played March 25; forward Brad Richardson (lower body), who hadn’t skated since March 9; and defenseman Alexandre Carrier (lower), out since April 1, all were back in action. However, forwards Viktor Arvidsson (upper body) and Nick Cousins (non-COVID illness) couldn’t suit up.

The injury-riddled Stars, who appear will soon see forward Tyler Seguin back in action after off-season hip surgery, took another hit with forward Denis Gurianov missing the game due to an upper-body issue. Then, forward Jason Dickinson left the game due to a lower body injury.

–Field Level Media

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