– by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief
DALLAS — As anemic as the Dallas Stars power play was in the first three games of their first round series, they more than made up for it in a must-win Game 4 while combining their normally-stellar goaltending to head back on the road on level terms in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Roope Hintz, Alexander Radulov and Mats Zuccarello each scored power play goals in the first period for Dallas as part of a four-goal outburst in the first 20 minutes during the Stars’ 5-1 victory over the Nashville Predators in Game 4 at American Airlines Center. The first-round series is tied at 2-2 as it returns to Nashville on Friday night.
Andrew Cogliano also scored for the Stars in the first period as Dallas was able to chase Predators goalkeeper Pekka Rinne, who allowed four goals on just eight shots on the night before being pulled.
“It was nice to see the power play do it in such a dominant fashion,” said Stars head coach Jim Montgomery.
Dallas’ first two shots of the game both went in and both came on the man advantage, as Hintz scored over the right shoulder of Rinne at 3:42 of the first period to open the scoring. The Stars soon were on the power play again after Filip Forsberg committed a delay of game penalty, and Radulov capitalized with a wrist shot from the high slot that beat Rinne to double Dallas’ lead at 4:58 of the period.
Cogliano scored at 8:54 to open up a three-goal lead before new acquisition Zuccarello also scored from the high slot on a wrist shot, this one at 13:45 on the power play, to salt the game away before the first intermission.
“We played desperate from the start,” said Stars defenseman John Klingberg, who had three assists. “We came out and set the pace right away.”
The first-period onslaught was more than enough support for Bishop, who made 34 saves in winning his first-ever playoff game in a Dallas Stars uniform.