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Cullen lifts Predators over slumping Stars, 3-2

DALLAS (AP) — Matt Cullen scored the go-ahead goal at 13:47 of the third period and the Nashville Predators beat the slumping Dallas Stars 3-2 on Thursday night.

Dallas had rallied from a 2-0 deficit on goals by Trevor Daley and Patrick Eaves. But the Stars have lost their last six games (0-4-2), and are 1-2-4 at home.

Craig Smith and Filip Forsberg scored power-play goals in the second period for Nashville, which is 3-2 on a six-game road trip. The Predators had only two power-play goals in their first nine games, but have scored four in the last four games.

Cullen retrieved the puck when it came out of the right corner to him just outside the crease. He shot under a tangle of legs past Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen and inside the right post.

Predators goalie Pekka Rinne made 33 saves. Lehtonen had 30.

Nashville’s Derek Roy and Matthias Ekholm each had two assists.

Daley cut the deficit to one by scoring unassisted on an end-to-end rush at 16:26 of the second. He crossed the blue line, skated to the left of two defenders and fired a shot past Rinne to the right post.

In the third period, Daley’s slap shot hit the boards behind the net, and the puck bounced out in front. After Rinne stopped shots by Antoine Roussel and Tyler Seguin, Eaves backhanded a rebound over the goalie at 6:23.

Neither team scored during an even first period. Each team had 10 shots on goal and one unsuccessful power play.

Dallas’ best chance came on a 2-on-1 break about 14 minutes in, when Rinne turned aside Jamie Benn.

Lehtonen’s toughest save of the period came 2 minutes later, when he stopped Colin Wilson from short range.

Smith broke the scoreless tie with a power-play goal at 4:10 of the second. Roy passed from the right circle to Smith, who used Wilson’s screen to beat Lehtonen.

Nashville took a 2-0 lead on Forsberg’s power-play goal from the top of the left circle at 13:57 of the second.

NOTES: Cullen has four game-winning goals against the Stars, his most against any team. . Predators LW Eric Nystrom played his 500th NHL game, including 122 for Dallas. . Smith and Forsberg lead the Predators with two power-play goals each. . Forsberg, who has five goals and eight assists, entered the game leading NHL rookies in scoring. . Eaves played five games for Nashville last season. . Stars C Cody Eakin (upper-body injury) missed a game for only the second time in his three seasons. . Roy played eight seasons for Dallas coach Lindy Ruff in Buffalo, and then played for the Stars in 2012-13.

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