The Nashville Predators know they might well end

#1
NASHVILLE Frederik Andersen Jersey , Tenn. (AP) — up seeing Dallas in the first round of the playoffs, and that made protecting home ice even more crucial after a loss here to the Stars only six days ago.Ryan Johansen scored 43 seconds into overtime and the Predators beat the Stars 3-2 on Thursday night for their second straight win and a little cushion in the Central Division.“They’ve been playing some very good hockey lately, and we’re not going to let that happen anymore, especially in our building,” Johansen said.Juuse Saros made 27 saves to improve to 14-6-1, with wins in six of his last seven starts.Viktor Arvidsson had a goal and an assist, and Craig Smith also scored for Nashville, which evened the season series at 2-2-0 and pushed the second-place Predators’ lead to nine points over the Stars in the division.Taylor Fedun and Miro Heiskanen scored for Dallas, which ended its season-high five-game winning streak.Saros made a pad save on Alexander Radulov with 1:38 left in regulation, and Nashville had a chance late with Johansen’s shot from the slot wide.Johansen made up for that with his winner with a wrister from the inside edge of the right circle set up by a pass from Arvidsson.“Great individual play there Womens Jake Gardiner Jersey ,” Johansen said of his linemate. “We were kind of looping and swooping waiting for some space. Even when he got it down in the corner, it was bobbling and he had to make a good play and he put it right in my wheelhouse. It’s good to finish it off.”Nashville had a lot on the line, wanting revenge after a 3-1 loss to the Stars last weekend.“It’s good to get a win just because they’ve beaten us the last two times,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said of the Stars. “They’re playing well right now.”The Predators also debuted forwards Brian Boyle and Cody McLeod after a pair of trades Wednesday , and center Kyle Turris returned after missing the last 17 games because of an injury. The 6-foot-6 Boyle immediately joined the top power-play unit, planting himself in front of the net, and McLeod just missed on a scoring chance in the second.Khudobin came in having allowed only one goal in Dallas’ last two wins over Nashville, and he robbed Kevin Fiala on a 2-on-1 with a great glove save in the first period. But the Predators finally beat the goalie by literally scoring off him. Fiala’s shot deflected off Smith’s back over the net and bounced off Khudobin’s back and in at 17:48 of the period.“That was the easiest goal I’ve scored,” Smith said. “We’re doing a lot of the right things. I thought we made some good plays. You’re going to have to make enough good plays to get good looks. I thought we did that. We got rewarded with an easy one.”The Stars tied it up twice in the third to set up the final game of the season series Feb. 19 in Dallas. Heiskanen tied it up at 3:05, and Fedun tied it at quicklyafter Arvidsson’s goal put Nashville up 2-1. In between Matt Bartkowski Jersey Womens , defenseman Roman Polak swept the puck away from the goal line after Colton Sissons‘ slap shot went off Khudobin’s stick.“We’re coming out and believing that we can win games, and we put ourselves in a really good situation tonight,” Stars coach Jim Montgomery said. “We got a point and we got five out of six points in this rink against a really good hockey team.”NOTES: Nashville improved to 24-3-1 when scoring first. … Buffalo Beauts goalie Shannon Szabados was at the game ahead of the NWHL All-Star Game here Sunday. … Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer and football coach Jeremy Pruitt were at the game.UP NEXTStars: Visit Arizona on Saturday.Predators: Visit St. Louis on Saturday afternoon. GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Already down a goalie, the New Jersey Devils watched MacKenzie Blackwood leave in the first period with a lower-body injury.Keith Kinkaid filled in nicely for someone who hadn’t played in four games.Kinkaid stopped 21 shots and had two saves in a shootout, lifting the New Jersey Devils to a 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Friday night.“It was nice to see Keith come in and he was strong for us,” Devils coach John Hynes said. “He got better and better as the game went on.”Kinkaid started the season as New Jersey’s No. 1 goalie, but the Devils have been riding Blackwood’s recent success with Cory Schneider out.Blackwood, making his seventh start in nine games seemed to tweak his leg midway through the first period and was replaced by Kinkaid late. Kinkaid gave up goals to Conor Garland and Christian Fischer in regulation, but stopped Alex Galchenyuk and Nick Cousins in the shootout.Kyle Palmeiri and Drew Stafford scored in the shootout for the Devils Youth John Tavares Jersey , who have won four of six.In regulation, New Jersey’s Nico Hischier scored his 11th goal on a shot that didn’t go into the net and Blake Coleman had his 12th of the season.“It was a good effort,” Stafford said. “It wasn’t the prettiest game, but we found a way.”Arizona’s Darcy Kuemper made a pair of spectacular saves in overtime, swiping a puck out of the crease after it trickled through on one, snatching another shot from a seated position on another. He allowed goals on the two shots he faced in the shootout and finished with 33 saves.The injury-depleted Coyotes went 0 for 5 on the power play, including a lengthy 5 on 3, and have lost 11 of 15.“Five, six regulars out, I hate to keep saying it Nazem Kadri Jersey ,” Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said. “We worked hard, but you could tell the skill level wasn’t there sometimes. We’re just grinding away.”The Devils scored a goal 1:05 into the game that never actually went into the net.New Jersey had a 2-on-1 after an Arizona neutral-zone turnover and Kyle Palmieri fed the puck to Hischier. Kuemper got a piece of Hischier’s shot and the puck shot in the air just as Arizona forward Clayton Keller crashed into the goal, dislodging it. Initially called no goal, the officials awarded it to Hischier upon review, ruling the puck would have gone in had Keller not knocked the goal off its moorings.“The puck was in the air, so I don’t think you can assume it wasn’t going to hit the top of the net,” Tocchet said. “It went to Toronto. I don’t know.”Garland tied it late in the first period, intercepting a pass by New Jersey’s Pavel Zacha in front of the crease and slipping the puck under Kinkaid’s left pad.Fischer put the Coyotes up midway through the second period, beating Kinkaid stick side with a wrister from the left circle.Coleman tied it late in the period, one-timing in a pass from Travis Zajac that hit Kuemper’s left pad and trickled through his legs.Kuemper made a spectacular save in the third period to prevent a short-handed goal Authentic Mitchell Marner Jersey , doing to splits to get a skate on Hischier’s breakaway attempt.It wasn’t enough. Arizona missed on some chances in the third period and overtime, and couldn’t get anything past Kinkaid in the shootout.“We were on the game, but I don’t think we do enough to win that game,” Coyotes captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson said.NOTES: Arizona C Nick Schmaltz missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury. He was placed on injured reserve on Thursday and is listed as week-to-week by the team. … Schneider missed his ninth straight game with a lower-body injury, but has been skating on his own. LW Taylor Hall missed his fifth straight with a lower-body injury.UP NEXTThe Devils: At Vegas on Sunday.The Coyotes: Host the New York Rangers on Sunday.