Weber returns; Predators lose to Stars

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 05, 2012
Mike Ribeiro scored two goals in the first period and the Dallas Stars beat Nashville 4-1 on Thursday night, ruining the return of Predators captain Shea Weber from a concussion. Weber had missed four games since being hurt Dec. 23 in a loss at Dallas in a collision with Stars defenseman Mark Fistric. The Predators announced Thursday at the morning skate that the defenseman had been cleared to play, and Nashville had a franchise-record seventh straight sellout for Weber's return. But Ribeiro scored twice with Loui Eriksson assisting on both. Jamie Benn added a goal and an assist and Adam Burish had a goal as the Stars won for the second time in two meetings with the Predators this season. Gabriel Bourque scored his first NHL goal for Nashville, which had a three-game winning streak snapped. The Predators turned in video of the hit to the NHL, but Fistric wasn't punished. Jordin Tootoo dropped the gloves off a faceoff 1:46 into the first period for a fight with Fistric that was more wrestling before Tootoo slammed the Stars defenseman to the ice with both going to the box for fighting. Ribeiro put Dallas up 1-0 when he easily beat Nashville rookie defenseman Roman Josi and tapped a backhander into the open net past Pekka Rinne at 4:18 of the first. Bourque tied it at 8:31 when Tootoo threw the puck out from behind the net, and Bourque snapped it in from the slot over Kari Lehtonen's glove for the goal. But Ribeiro put Dallas ahead to stay at 19:22 of the first as he backhanded a loose puck Rinne had gotten a glove on. The Predators had been off since a win over Calgary on New Year's Day, and they looked sloppy most of the game. It got worse in the second when Rinne passed the puck to defenseman Ryan Suter, who skated behind the net before passing it back behind him. Instead of a teammate, Benn had an easy tap-in off Rinne's left skate for a 3-1 lead at 6:28. The Stars could have led by more when Suter hit Steve Ott high during a short-handed breakaway, and referees gave Ott a penalty shot. Ott's wrister clanked off the post. Ribeiro got hurt when he took a puck in the face off a shot from the point by teammate Trevor Daley with 33.3 seconds left in the second. Ribeiro skated off and returned wearing a cage protecting his face at 10:43 of the third. Nashville coach Barry Trotz took his timeout at 12:40 of the third. It didn't work as the Predators had a turnover near the blue line grabbed by Benn, who passed to Wandell. He shot it, and Burish got a stick on it for the 4-1 lead 13 seconds after the timeout. Notes: The Predators sold out six straight games between March 16 and April 17, 1999, at the end of their inaugural season. ... Tootoo's assist gave him a career-high 19 points through 38 games. ... Bourque's first goal came in his fourth game with Nashville. ... Eriksson has points in five straight games against Nashville (3-6-9). ... The Stars have scored at least three goals in five of their past six games.
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