NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Samuel Girard is making a big first impression.
Girard scored his first NHL goal and added an assist to lead the Nashville Predators to a 4-1 win over the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.
The 19-year-old Girard was playing his second NHL game. The 2016 second-round pick had an assist in his debut Tuesday night.
“Everybody’s happy for him,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. “All the guys are pulling for him. He’s a young kid, he’s only in his second game. He’s delivering big plays at big moments.”
Filip Forsberg and P.K. Subban also had a goal and an assist, and Viktor Arvidsson also scored for the Predators, winners of two straight. Pekka Rinne made 30 saves.
Jamie Benn had Dallas’ lone goal. The Stars have lost three of four to open the season.
“I’m concerned that we’re missing a number of glorious opportunities,” Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock said. “We’re letting goalies outwork us. That’s the bigger concern for me right now. We’ve had three games that we’ve lost where we’ve made the goalie the first star or the best player on the other team. We’re going to have to figure that out quick.”
Benn scored the game’s first goal at 8:04 of the opening period. With Dallas on a power play, Rinne stopped John Klingberg’s shot from the left point, but Benn was able to swat in the rebound from just outside the crease on the right side.
“I think we’re playing the way we need to offensively,” Klingberg said. “We just have to get more people to the net. If they goalie sees too many pucks, it’s hard to get those good quality chances.”
Nashville has surrendered the first goal in three of its four games.
Girard evened the game at 1 at 3:27 of the second. From above the left faceoff circle, Subban slid a pass to the 19-year-old rookie at the right point, where he beat goaltender Ben Bishop with a one-timer high to the stick side.
“It was my goal before the game to bring some more pucks at the net,” Girard said. “It was a great shot, so it (went) in.”
Bishop made 27 saves.
Forsberg made it 2-1 at 6:21 of the second. With Nashville on a power play, Bishop got his glove on Girard’s slap shot from atop the left circle. Skating through the right circle, Forsberg tapped the rebound past the fallen Bishop and defenseman Esa Lindell, who tried to knock Forsberg’s shot away.
At 15:09 of the third, Forsberg’s pass from the left point sent Arvidsson through the slot on a breakaway, and he beat Bishop with a wrist shot.
Subban added an empty-net goal at 18:06.
Predators defenseman Yannick Weber left the game at 9:21 of the first after being checked by Martin Hanzal. With Weber reaching for a puck inside the Nashville blue line, Hanzal’s shoulder made contact with Weber’s head. Hanzal was assessed a major penalty for interference. Weber did not return to the game.
Notes: Predators captain Roman Josi missed his second consecutive game with a lower-body injury. … Benn has points in four straight games against Nashville. … Former Predators captain Kimmo Timonen attended the game. … Rinne made his 500th career NHL start.
Stars: Hosts Colorado on Saturday.
Predators: At Chicago on Saturday.
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