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Predators grind out series tie against suffocating Stars

The Predators tie the series at 1-1 in Nashville with an overtime win in a chippy game. Craig Smith provides late-game heroics with the OT winner.

The Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars have battled for every inch of the ice in their Round 1 series, so it’s only fitting that the scene switches to Dallas with a 1-1 series tie.

Ben Bishop finished the 2018-19 regular season as maybe the toughest goalie to beat, and he’s carried the strong work over to the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The game’s two regulation goals involved a pretty, basically unstoppable one-timer apiece, while Craig Smith scored the overtime game-winner on a shot that Bishop didn’t seem to have much of a chance of stopping. (It sure looked like he couldn’t even see the shot; that’s the one drawback to loading up in front of your own net to try to shut down all chances.)

The Predators must have been frustrated at times in outshooting the Stars 43-23, but either way, they got a key win.

Special teams was once again a factor, and while the Predators power play remains putrid (going 0-for-3 in Game 2), Nashville’s penalty kill saved the day, stopping the Stars on all six of their power-play chances. Simply put, it sure seems like goals won’t be easy to come by in this Round 1 series.

This was a nasty game throughout. Both teams made repeat visits to the penalty box, with this Smith roughing minor standings as just one of the examples.

With so little room to work with and so much on the line, chances are the hostility and physicality will only climb as this Round 1 series continues.

Stars - Predators Game 3 from American Airlines Arena takes place Monday night at 9:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN (livestream).

More: Series preview

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.