The Stars snapped a five a game losing streak on Thursday in Detroit and now seek to improve upon a 1-3-1 stretch at home that has seen one goal games go in favor of Phoenix, Columbus and New Jersey. As with most aspects of their game recently they've played well but have not had any breaks go their way.
A short handed goal, a Krys Barch goal and an apparent Detroit tally waived off due to goaltender interference later and we'd like to think the Stars are on the right side of lady luck now finally after starting February 1-8-1, but this afternoon game is the real test.
Win two in a row before the trade deadline and everyone will feel as though this thing has a good chance at a playoff spot. Lose today and the Brad Richards trade talk, even though he's suffering through concussion like symptoms, continues on through the weekend.
Nashville, meanwhile, beat the Stars here at the AAC 1-0 in October and then out-shot the Stars 46-25 in December only to lose to a spectacular effort by Andrew Raycroft in Tennessee. The Preds are usually either in the middle of a gaudy stretch of winning hockey or else are mired in a rough patch. That back and forth style has them tied with Dallas at 70 points entering play today. Having lost 4 of 5 it's difficult to say whether or not their bad stretch is in full swing or if it ends today.
Dallas will likely take the ice with the same lineup that won them the full two points in Detroit on Thursday.
Nick Grossman is skating but is still a few more days away (so they keep saying) and Brad Richards is skating very lightly on his own but still has no timetable for returning to game action.
For the first time without Richards, the Stars finally managed four goals from a variety of sources on Thursday, scoring with the fourth line and also shorthanded.
The Stars may have trouble scoring but since acquiring Goligoski this week they've allowed exactly two total goals in two games. The new addition has had to take some minors in his first two starts but that's been mostly because of the stellar competition paired against him. As a defensive group they've played extremely effectively.
Kari Lehtonen will get the start in goal once again for the Stars who may need for the big Finn to steal another one here today if they're going to stay within sight of a playoffs spot.
The Stars last matinee included 36 seconds of lead and a disappointing zero points for their trouble as they fell to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Let's check our SB Nation blog On the Forecheck for updates on the Preds...
Just when you thought the waiving of Marek Svatos was confusing, in comes another perplexing move. According to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN, the Nashville Predators have waived enforcer Wade Belak today, leaving them with exactly zero extra forwards.
Operating with only 12 healthy forwards during a stretch run is not a good idea, so I would expect to see the Predators either a) make a trade or b) call someone up from Milwaukee very soon.
And then apparently they got a hold of the situation...
To help alleviate the short-handed situation among the forward ranks, the Nashville Predators have called up Blake Geoffrion, the Hobey Baker Award-winning local product who has been tearing up the AHL lately, and Matt Halischuk, who impressed in a 4th-line role for a few weeks earlier this season. This, ahead of a back-to-back set this weekend in Dallas Saturday afternoon, followed by a home game against Columbus at 2:00 p.m. Sunday.
The Predators are part of a whole pack of teams the Stars would like to see drift back out of contention but with 13 of their final 21 games at home Nashville is probably here to stay. Nonetheless the Stars have them twice more and can therefore put a big dent in their playoff plans with some W's.
We hope to see everyone here in the GDT at 1:00pm CST.
The Stars took the first step in Detroit on Thursday. If they're really going to climb back in this race then the continuation must start today with taking care of business at home.