Timely goal helps make Predators winners in Gill's debut

Sunday, February 19, 2012 at 9:37pm
Staff reports

The Nashville Predators were reminded Friday that every second in a hockey game is precious. Two days later, they made every second of the first period count.

Shea Weber’s power play goal with .2 seconds left before the first intermission put Nashville ahead to stay in a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars on Sunday at Dallas.

The game was Nashville’s first with defenseman Hal Gill in the lineup. Gill was acquired Friday afternoon in a trade with Montreal but was not in the lineup for that night’s 2-1 defeat at Detroit, a game decided by a Red Wings goal with five seconds remaining in the third period.

However, the Predators were without their leading goal scorers, Mike Fisher and Patric Hornqvist, who have 17 goals each. Fisher, who had appeared in 47 straight contests, was scratched because of an illness. Hornqvist missed his third straight with an injury.

Rookie left wing Gabriel Bourque scored his third goal of the season and tied the score 1-1 at 15:39 of the first, and Colin Wilson made 3-1 with 3:55 to play in the second.

Dallas got back within one on Alex Goligoski’s goal with 4:49 to play.

Gill was called for Nashville’s only penalty of the contest (tripping) with 2:05 to play, and the Stars added to their advantage when they pulled their goalie. They got two shots on goalie Pekka Rinne but missed the net three other times during that power play.

Conversely, the Predators took advantage of the first of two penalties called against the Stars when Weber converted a rebound opportunity just before the horn sounded to end the first period. Officials on the ice immediately ruled the Predators captain beat the clock and then confirmed the call with a video review.

It was Weber’s seventh power play goal of the season, which gave him the outright team lead, and his 12th overall, most among the team’s defensemen.

Gill finished with a team-best plus-2 rating in 16:23 of ice time as Nashville dressed seven defensemen because of their issues at forward.

Rinne recorded his 32nd victory, which is one short of his career-high set last season.

The Predators begin a stretch of four straight home games Tuesday against Vancouver (7 p.m., Bridgestone Arena, Fox Sports-Tennessee).