Predators 4, Stars 1
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Shea Weber and Roman Josi played Monday like the top defense pair the Nashville Predators expect them to be on a nightly basis.
Weber scored the go-ahead goal in the first period, and Josi tacked on a goal and an assist as Nashville shrugged off an early deficit to take a 4-1 win over the Dallas Stars at Bridgestone Arena.
Predators goaltender Carter Hutton (10-7-2) turned in one of his best performances of the season with 35 saves, 19 in the third period, as the Predators won for the third time in four games.
Dallas (21-20-8) lost for the ninth time in 10 games and fell into 11th place in the Western Conference, a point behind Nashville (22-22-7).
Weber appeared to start the scoring with a slap shot past goalie Kari Lehtonen at 3:06 of the first period, but center David Legwand tripped Lehtonen. Referee Rob Martell quickly waved off the goal and sent Legwand to the penalty box.
Stars center Cody Eakin cashed in the power play with a one-timer from the right faceoff circle, his 11th goal of the season, off a nice pass by center Rich Peverley at 4:45.
It was all Predators after that, starting with a rebound goal by left winger Nick Spaling at 11:35. Lehtonen couldn't control Josi's slapper, and Spaling converted for his eighth goal.
Weber made it 2-1 at 17:16 with his 13th goal, a wrister from straight on that Lehtonen didn't react to until the puck was past him. Left winger Eric Nystrom, who recorded one of his two assists on the goal, screened the goalie.
Josi upped the lead to 3-1 at 19:28 of the second period with a wrist shot over Lehtonen's glove hand, his sixth goal.
Nashville center Mike Fisher tacked on his 13th goal at 3:46 of the third off a pretty drop pass from center Colin Wilson, who won a race to a loose puck with defenseman Kevin Connauton near the goal line.
Lehtonen (17-14-8) recorded 19 saves.
NOTES: Dallas rookie RW Valeri Nichushkin was scratched for the third consecutive game after playing in the first 46. The 18-year-old Russian will represent his country next month in the Sochi Olympics. ... Newly acquired G Devan Dubnyk did not play Monday night after losing his Nashville debut 5-4 Saturday night against the Colorado Avalanche. Dubnyk likely will return to action during the team's four-game trip through western Canada, which starts Thursday night against the Vancouver Canucks. ... Barring injury, Stars LW Erik Cole will play his 800th career NHL game Thursday night at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs. ... D Roman Josi's assist on the Predators' first goal gave him a point in four consecutive games.
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