The only power play goal the Nashville Predators have scored this season came against our very own Dallas Stars on opening night, and they'll try to do it again this evening as the Stars get back home to the comfy confines of the American Airlines Center (or are they?)
This will be only the second Stars home game of the young season, and the Predators might as well have left the name plates up in the visitor locker room after spoiling the Dallas opener 3-2 in the shootout. Despite their victory over Dallas, and being the only team to beat the conference best Avalanche (What??) in regulation, the Predators come back to big D having scored just six goals in four games. Jason Arnott has half of those.
We'll have much more later in the day on the matchup between Nashville and Dallas, so please check back with us.
With changes both subtle and major under a new GM and coaching staff, the Stars have actually gotten off to a pretty smooth start in their first four games.
They are outshooting the opposition by an average of 34.8 to 24.5 (ranking third in shot differential at plus-10.3). They have received scoring from 14 players, including five with four or more points in just four games, and rank seventh in average scoring at 3.50 goals per game. They are sitting at .625 with five of a possible eight points.
And yet there are concerns. The team has lost three shootouts, ranks 28th on the penalty kill and on Sunday looked scrambled for a large section of the second period. The players say they can certainly improve.
34.8 shots a game would be a staggering pace to maintain. Only one team did better last year (The Red Wings) and earned a total of 112 points for their trouble.
After the jump, a long, hard practice, Olympic talk, more on Jamie Benn's first goal and more...
Tell me if you see something wrong in this little game preview from Bodog Sports:
The Stars have gotten at least one point in each of their four games this season. They're gaining confidence, too. And with a big win over Vancouver on Sunday night, more points should follow.
The Stars finished their three-game Western Canada road trip with four out of six points and confidence heading back home.
Odds are good the Stars will keep it rolling on home ice against the Preds. The home team is 21-8-1 in the last 30 meetings.
And people trust them with their money? Don't bet on hockey, folks.
"I'd be lying if I said I don't think about it, but you don't go out and try to do things just to impress them," Morrow said. "But it would be a dream come true to play here. I played World Juniors in Winnipeg, and that was incredible. To be able to play for Canada and wear those colors is incredible anytime, but to play for Canada in Canada, it's amazing. You just can't explain how the arena feels."
Of course, a gold medal means about the same in any language.
"It's the biggest thing in Sweden," Grossman said. "They don't understand the importance of the Stanley Cup so much, but they do understand the World Championships and the Olympics. It's one thing for your [league] team to win. But for the country to win in an international competition, that is a very big deal."
While I'll be rooting my "rear" off for the U.S.A. this winter, I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't rather have a Stars Stanley Cup.
I will tell you one thing about Marc Crawford, he is not afraid of drilling these guys in practice.
They were out for nearly two hours and they spent a ton of time first on the penalty kill and then on shootouts. The penalty kill practice was about positioning, about not chasing too wildly into the corners and about keeping sticks in the passing lanes inside the box. Crawford said that after watching the film, the Stars are only a few details away from fixing their problems. We'll see about that.
The PK failed the Stars in the opening minutes of their season against Nashville last Saturday. Maybe they can get it back on track against that same team tomorrow. Jason Arnott and company will be looking to capitalize after their 6-1 loss on Monday night.
The Times Colonist brings you a local story on Jamie Benn's big Vancouver home-coming:
When Dallas Stars rookie Jamie Benn of Victoria scored his dramatic first NHL goal Sunday night at GM Place, with one minute and 33 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the Vancouver Canucks 3-3, mother Heather Benn admitted the family contingent in the stands "forgot where we were."
After jumping, clapping and hollering, the Benn supporters sat down to find the rest of the building silent and those around them staring.
"But we could hear and see patches of Jamie's supporters -- old high school buddies [from Stelly's Secondary] -- in other sections of the arena," beamed Heather Benn.
Steve Ott (oblique muscle injury) did not practice Tuesday and could miss a week, according to a Stars official. He was scheduled to be further evaluated.
Mike Modano (cracked rib) is listed as day-to-day, but did not practice. That makes his status for Wednesday's game doubtful.
The injury bug hasn't hit as hard as last year just yet, but it is threatening.
- Brent Severyn breaks down the Nashville Power Play and how Dallas can better defend it.
- The Morning News Blog will have a Dallas Stars chat tomorrow afternoon.
- Once again, don't forget about Defending Big D Live, Thursday at 8:00pm CST.
The Coyotes shut out the Sharks....in San Jose no less.
Please welcome "Anaheim Calling", a new SB Nation NHL blog.