DALLAS — Mikael Granlund scored on a wrist shot from just inside the blue line with 8:19 left and the Nashville Predators, after blowing a two-goal lead, beat the Dallas Stars 3-2 on Monday night to take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven Western Conference playoff series.
Granlund, acquired in a trade with Minnesota in late February, got the puck from Dante Fabbro after Kyle Turris won a faceoff against Stars captain Jamie Benn.
Rocco Grimaldi scored in his second game in a row for the Predators, and Filip Forsberg had a perfectly timed play for a goal.
Pekka Rinne made 40 saves for Nashville, including one with the goalie twisting to his left for a stop when Dallas had a 5-on-3 advantage about midway through the second period. That was one of seven shots the Stars had during their 2 1/2 consecutive minutes with an advantage, including 1:29 with two extra skaters.
After three consecutive one-goal games, Game 4 is Wednesday night in Dallas.
Tyler Seguin and Mats Zuccarello scored for the Stars, who played their first playoff home game in three years. American Airlines Center is less than 5 miles from the Cotton Bowl Stadium where they will play the Predators outside in the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day next season.
Granlund’s game-winner came only about 3 1/2 minutes after the Stars got even at 2 on a goal from Tyler Seguin on a backhand pass from Benn following some interesting puck play behind the net.
Stars fans wanted a penalty when Predators defenceman P.K. Subban was on the back and reaching over Alexander Radulov in a battle for the puck. But play continued and seconds later Benn delivered a spot-on pass from the side of the net to Seguin in front.
Nashville led 1-0 when Grimaldi took a shot from the top outside the right circle, and got the puck past an unobstructed Ben Bishop, who finished with 25 saves.
Grimaldi didn’t have a goal in the last 13 regular-season games after scoring Feb. 19 at Dallas. The centre was a scratch in the opener of this series scored a goal in Game 2 while filling in for Brian Boyle, who had an appendectomy after Game 1 and is considered week-to-week.
The Predators led 2-0 when Nick Bonino flicked the puck high in the air — his pass airborne from the circle left of Rinne along the boards over both blue lines. Forsberg was at the blue line when the puck was over his head, and delayed enough to avoid going offside before gaining control and charging in for the goal.
NOTES: Dallas was 0 for 4 on power plays and is 1 for 13 in the series. Nashville is 0 for 8 after failing to score on its only chance with an advantage. … The Predators announced Boyle’s appendectomy earlier Monday. He joined RW Wayne Simmonds as being week-to-week. Simmonds took a shot off his knee in Game 2. … Dirk Nowitzki was back in the building where a week ago he announced his retirement after a record 21 seasons with the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and was honoured with an elaborate ceremony after his final home game. The crowd went wild when Nowitzki was shown in a suite wearing a Stars playoff T-shirt and waving a rally towel.
Game 4 on Wednesday night in Dallas, before the series switches back to Nashville for Game 5.
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Stephen Hawkins, The Associated Press