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Stars stage furious rally to beat Predators in Winter Classic

AFP-JIJI

Alexander Radulov scored the eventual winner as the Dallas Stars scored four unanswered goals to come from behind and beat the Nashville Predators 4-2 in the Winter Classic on Wednesday.

Sweden’s Mattias Janmark finished with a goal and an assist and Blake Comeau and Andrej Sekera also scored for the hosts in front of the second-largest crowd in NHL history.

The game was part of the NHL’s annual outdoor series.

A total of 85,630 fans attended the game at Cotton Bowl Stadium which opened in 1930 and sits on the site of the Texas state fair grounds.

“It was a really fun day, really lucky to be part of it,” said Comeau.

Matt Duchene and Dante Fabbro scored goals, and goaltender Pekka Rinne stopped 31 shots in the loss.

American Ben Bishop made 31 of 33 saves for the Stars, who were down 2-0 early in the first period before storming back in the final period for the third straight game.

With his team trailing 2-0, Comeau began the comeback, scoring the only goal of the second period with 68 seconds left.

Comeau got open in the slot and took a pass from teammate Jason Dickinson and quickly fired it home for his fifth goal of the season. Comeau took a hard check early in the game and missed most of the first period.

That boosted Dallas and it took that confidence into the third period.

Janmark tied the game 58 seconds into the final period when he deflected John Klingberg’s point shot for the power-play marker.

Russia’s Radulov scored the game-winning goal with another power-play tally just over five minutes into the period.

Sekera rounded out the scoring by ending his 104-game goal drought at 6:35. The Slovakian defenseman charged to the net during a scramble and was rewarded with his first NHL goal since March 2017.

The Predators scored both their goals during a five-minute power play after Stars forward Corey Perry was slapped with a major penalty for elbowing Ryan Ellis.

Rinne said they enjoyed the festive atmosphere but it can’t hide the fact they are struggling on the ice.

“The positives? I think the whole experience is pretty unreal. It is my first time playing outdoors,” he said. “Other than that? We are in trouble right now.”

Meanwhile, the league announced Wednesday that the Minnesota Wild would host a 2021 outdoor game on New Year’s Day against a team that is still to be determined.

The contest will be played at Target Field, home of MLB’s Minnesota Twins.

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