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Preds win despite handing Stars equalizer in 3rd…

Nashville Predators goaltender Dan Ellis would love to have the second Dallas Stars goal back.

While the Preds were up 2-1 on their Western Conference rivals, Ellis made a routine save on a dump in from the blueline. In a poor decision, he handled the puck, passing it right into the slot and, it just so happened, right onto James Neal‘s stick. Neal burried his shot, bringing the Stars equal with the visiting Nashville team.

The Predators beat the Stars 3- 2 tonight, in what was the first game of the season for both teams but Nashville made it much harder on themselves than was necessary. Ellis’ giveaway helped bring the Stars even, forcing overtime. Then, once in overtime, Martin Erat took a bad hooking call, basically handing Dallas a full two-minute power play in the extra session.

The Preds survived though and forced the shootout, winning the game on rookie Mike Santorelli‘s goal in the fifth frame.

Despite the “condensed schedule” thanks to the Olympic Break in February, Nashville will now have to wait five days before their next contest. They’ll play the upstart Colorado Avalanche (2-0-0) on Thursday night at the Sommet Center.

* Nashville finished 1-for-4 on the man advantage, amassing six shots on those four power plays.
* Ellis, who would’ve been one of the stars of the game if it weren’t for the blatent giveway to Neal, finished with 38 saves and then four more (out of five shots) during the shootout.
* JP Dumont was knocked out of the game after a vicious hit in the attacking zone that should’ve been an elbowing penalty on Stephane Robidas. Dumont had played 7:01 TOI and managed an assist before he was sidelined.
* Jason Arnott not only scored the first Predators goal of the 2009-10 season, but also finished the game with an assist, two hits and a team-high seven shots.
* Please, no one tell Patric Hornqvist the regular season has started. He picked up from where he left off in the pre-season, earning an assist in the first game of the year.
* As expected, Marcel Goc (73%) and Jerred Smithson (71%) proved to be the most reliable players in the face-off dot for Nashville.

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