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Recap: Stars Outshoot Predators, Still Lose 5-2

The only team to beat Nashville at home this season couldn’t do it again tonight.

NHL: Dallas Stars at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Okay, it’s the night before Thanksgiving, so what are we thankful for? The Dallas Stars outplayed yet another opponent by many metrics, and walked away empty-handed again. Too sloppy in their own zone, tons of shots but not enough quality adds up. To wit:

First period

  • The good guys had to get busy on the penalty kill early due to another of those frustrating too-many-men incidents. The first kill showed a good trend as the Stars kept Kari Lehtonen’s view clear, and Kari responded by keeping shots out.
  • In fact, with one awful exception, the PK looked good all night. It had to, because Our Gang made a beeline for the sin bin this evening.
  • Julius Honka got his My First Penalty out of the way with a puck-over-glass citation - with a few rookie missteps, he still looked solid. He deployed his wicked wrist shot regularly, and his active stick drew some admiring notice.
  • Tyler Seguin made enough good defensive plays to be noticeable at it. This is a good thing, although this evening, it wasn’t enough.
  • The Preds’ first line did its best to make Kari’s life miserable this period, but he made several solid saves and kept rebounds low. Finally, Filip Forsberg scored first off a P.K. Subban feed for only his second goal of the season.

Second period

  • The Stars outplay the Predators. They rain hellfire down on Pekka Rinne. They still don’t get on the board.
  • Have we singled out Radek Faksa lately? He just keeps on keeping on. Even with his hockey dad lost to long-term injury, he’s carrying the torch every night.
  • First PP! Patrick Eaves ready to rumble with Subban! John Klingberg and Honka looking sharp! Still no getting past Rinne.
  • That overturned no-goal stung. It stung a lot. (And how weird is it that this guy is a Nashville correspondent but uses a photo of Seguin and Benn as his header?)
  • Here’s the official NHL Hockey Ops explanation for overturning the on-ice call. Not much to read.
  • NET FIGHT! Seguin swarmed Forsberg for running straight into Lehtonen shoulder-first. After all that, Klingberg ends up in the box for “interfering.” And the good guys began the third on the kill.
  • Meanwhile, just enjoy this. You deserve it.

Third period

  • PATRICK SHARP IS BEAUTIFUL AND YOU MUST LOVE HIM. Sharpie came in on yet another Stars penalty kill and went all Popeye: He’d had all he could stands, and he couldn’t stands no more, and suddenly the Stars had a short-handed goal. That’s exactly how I remember it.
  • Unfortunately, Esa Lindell got caught puck-staring just seconds later and gave Ryan Johansen an easy shot on net as the Nashville power play expired. Lindell made several strong plays and solid decisions in this game, but this wasn’t one of them.
  • Honka was next, getting his pocket picked from behind and helping to enable a Predators three-on-zero that led to the Craig Smith goal. (If you’re seeing a pattern of Kari getting hung out to dry in this game, hey, you must have watched it, too.) It’s too bad that a garden-variety “welcome to the NHL” moment will probably get Hongalla pilloried, but we are where we are.
  • Brett Ritchie was determined to get on the board after ringing a fantastic chance off the crossbar, and he finally got a nice, greasy garbage goal with less than two minutes left.
  • Former Star James Neal got the EN goal that finally killed our hopes and dreams, because of course he did.

TL;DR: It really, really helps if your best players can be your best players. The Predators had that going for them, and the Stars didn’t. Add to that the disparity in high-danger shots and Pekka Rinne playing the way he can, and you get what you get.

Shake it off, have a big meal with your friends and family, and let all that overeating knock you on your thanks-giving keister. By the time you wake up, the Stars will be back home, and there will be another game on the horizon.

See you Friday.