NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Cody Eakin hadn’t attempted a penalty shot before. Finding himself in overtime with the Dallas Stars needing a win certainly didn’t ease the pressure.
Luckily, he had a minute to catch his breath.
Eakin then scored on his first career penalty shot in overtime no less, and the Stars kept their faint playoff hopes alive Saturday by beating the Nashville Predators 4-3.
“I was trying to figure out what I’m going to do,” Eakin said. “They actually came out with a couple of guys, I don’t know if they were buying their goalie some time or what, but it was giving me an extra breath so I just went to old faithful and shot it low blocker.”
Colton Sceviour and Travis Moen each had a goal and an assist, and Tyler Seguin had a goal.
Jhonas Enroth made 33 saves as the Stars snapped a two-game skid. They came in six points out of the Western Conference’s final wild-card spot and needed a win to remain there after the Jets beat Vancouver. Dallas has three games left in the regular season.
“Getting the win is the most important thing for us, but it’s definitely nice to pitch in,” Moen said.
James Neal and Filip Forsberg each scored a goal and an assist, and Ryan Ellis scored for Nashville, which lost its third straight on home ice going 0-1-2.
The Predators did get a point, and now sit atop the Central Division at 104, a point ahead of St. Louis.
“We’re just going game-by-game here,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. “We’re worried about tonight. We’ll straighten it out, head on the road and worry about that one.”
Seguin and Sceviour each scored early in the third giving Dallas a 3-1 lead. But the Predators rallied with Ellis scoring at 10:46 and Neal tying it up with 1:55 left in regulation.
At 4:04 into overtime, Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm slashed the stick out of Eakin’s hands, giving him a chance to win the game. He did just that, beating Pekka Rinne with a wrister.
The Stars, who lost 7-5 at home Friday to St. Louis, started a three-game road swing with a much-needed win against a division foe that took the first three games between the teams this season. They wrap up the regular season on April 11 against the Predators in Dallas.
The Predators had the benefit of a three-day break since their last game, and also got back captain Shea Weber, who missed three games with a lower-body injury, and Neal, who had missed nine since March 12 with an upper-body injury. Center Matt Cullen also returned to the lineup for the first time since March 21.
They needed all three with center Paul Gaustad out with an upper-body injury suffered in Nashville’s loss to Vancouver on Tuesday night.
“It’s nice to have the guys back, just getting back to the way it was before,” Ellis said.
Forsberg gave Nashville a 1-0 lead, tapping in his 24th goal this season from the right side thanks to Ekholm’s shot ricocheting off the left skate of Sceviour midway through the first. The goal gave Forsberg 60 points, making him only the 12th rookie to reach that mark since the 2005-06 season.
Moen tied it up with a wrister from in front of Rinne at 4:09 of the second for his third goal this season.
Seguin, who hit a post late in the second, didn’t miss his chance with the Stars on their first man advantage in the third. He took a pass from John Klingberg and put a slap shot past Rinne’s glove at 3:23 for his 37th this season. Then, Sceviour padded the lead with a backhander at 7:28.
The Predators finally answered when Forsberg found Ellis in the slot, and he beat Enroth at 10:46. Neal tied it up helping Nashville at least get a point.
NOTES: Seguin has nine points in his last seven games (four goals, five assists). … Moen has scored a goal in consecutive games. … The Predators scratched center Mike Santorelli because of illness. … Predators center Mike Ribeiro had his 500th career assist for Nashville on Neal’s goal.
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