The young Dallas Stars have blossomed this post-season, and now their top line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov are showing just how much damage they can do together.
The combination has put the West’s first wild card a win away from reaching the second round.
Radulov scored two goals in the second period and the Stars beat the Nashville Predators 5-3 on Saturday to push the Western Conference’s No. 2 seed to the brink of elimination.
The Stars now lead this best-of-seven series 3-2 over the two-time defending Central Division champs. Dallas will have a chance Monday night at home in Game 6 to join Colorado and Columbus as the latest lower seed coming through in the opening round.
WATCH | Stars fly past Predators to win Game 5:
“I think we keep getting better, and we have to keep getting better,” Dallas coach Jim Montgomery said. “The next one’s the hardest one because it’s the potential to end someone’s season. That’s the challenge in front of us now.”
Jason Dickinson also scored twice, Seguin had a goal and an assist, and Benn matched the NHL playoff record for most assists in a single period with three in the second. The Stars also scored at least five goals in back-to-back playoff games for the ninth time in franchise history, the first since Games 3 and 4 of the 1991 conference finals when this team was still in Minnesota.
Bishop named Vezina finalist
Ben Bishop, named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy during the game, made 30 saves for the win.
“It’s a great honour,” Bishop said of being a finalist. “As much as it is an individual award, it’s a team thing. The guys have done a great job in front of me all season.”
Rocco Grimaldi, Ryan Johansen and Kyle Turris scored for Nashville. The Predators lost back-to-back playoff games for the first time since Games 5 and 6 of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final. Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said his Predators have been in these situations before.
“They’ve answered the bell,” Laviolette said. “They’ll answer the bell in Game 6 and we’ll bring it back here.”
Boyle returns 1 week after appendectomy
Laviolette got forward Brian Boyle back after missing the past three games with an appendectomy and mixed up his lines. Nashville struggled too much with sloppy play including 19 giveaways.
Credit Dallas’ top line for making the Predators pay for those mistakes. Seguin, Benn and Radulov took 16 of the Stars’ 26 shots, and the trio was responsible for all three goals in the second. Montgomery said Benn was banging his stick wanting more ice time for the line, and Seguin said that line is all about work and will.
“Obviously, we have the skill and talent there,” Seguin said. “When we’re working hard, we’re happy to go up against anybody. They’re a good team. They had some good pushbacks tonight. I think goalie still played really good, especially early on. It’s going to be a really hard game to try and win on home ice.”