It's nice to see Dallas back in the win column with some regularity. The best part is that they beat a solid Nashville team that has found the groove that got them to within games of beating the Chicago Blackhawks in the playoffs last season.
However, one area where Nashville doesn't shine is Overtime. Dallas kept their foot on the throttle after a lackluster first period and the man of the match would end up being Mattias Janmark.
1. Advantage, Heinz
Craig "How Has There Not Been A President Named" Smith— J.R. Lind (@jrlind) February 16, 2016
Craig Smith would open up the scoring for Nashville off a strange bounce. It was a goal well earned as the Predators were doing some trophy hunting with Dallas acting as victims to the jungle that came alive and took them.
2. Sailing the Seas of Cheese
Nashville leads 1-0 after 1 period. SOG are Preds 10 , Stars 7.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) February 16, 2016
Nashville had the advantage in total shots, and a lot of it came from Nashville getting rebounds and getting shots from the point that were shoddily challenged. In case you're wondering, Nashville is actually 3rd in the NHL in Corsi For Percentage, and they nab an unusually high amount of high danger scoring area chances as well. Their only problem is shooting percentage, where they rank 22nd.
3. Of Mice and Pests
The second period was fantastic. In addition to Dallas getting on the scoreboard, first with a shorthanded goal compliments of the Jamie Benn & Cody Eakin Penalty Killing Show, some serious animus was exchanged.
First Antoine Roussel fought Shea Weber, handling himself just fine (this gif is conveniently short, as it stops before Roussel got his left free). And then Vernon Fiddler would misguidedly take on Paul Gaustad. Both were rematches, oddly enough.
There's no logical reason for these teams to hate each other. Except some sense of Southern supremacy. Well, that and it's a potential first round matchup. Personally I doubt it. Nashville is way better than Colorado, and Chicago is probably a bit better than Dallas right now. I still think Dallas ends up drawing St. Louis but we're getting ahead of ourselves.
4. Escalating Quickly
Dallas managed all of their regulation time goals in the second. The shorthanded goal was huge. But Valeri Nichushkin, who played himself a solid overall game, did some great work along the wall to keep the puck in Nashville's zone for a fantastic Ales Hemsky effort. As I've said before, Hemsky is an underrated part of Dallas' game because he's such a slick synthesis of what Dallas wants to do. In addition, I never understood the defensively lacking part. Does he lose puck battles? Sure. But is he irresponsible? No. He backchecks, fights for his space, and uses his wheels as good as most players in the entire league. I've enjoyed the Nichushkin-Janmark-Hemsky experiment.
5. Overtime Blood in the Water
The third period saw some early chances for Nashville, but Dallas turned the tide as the game went on, nearly burying a few, including some sweet spot chances by Jamie Benn and Radek Faksa. All Dallas had to do was get it to Overtime. Why?
6. Prey Craters
The Predators are now 1-9 in 3-on-3 overtime.— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) February 16, 2016
That's not even the half of it. They have the worst Overtime shot percentage in the NHL at merely over 20 percent. And they're 6-11-3 against the Central. This seemed to play out as expected. Dallas dominated the OT. Klingberg hit the post, and everyone got their chances. A blown line change and skate malfunction ended up being the difference with Tyler Seguin getting a prime scoring chance that turned into a juicy rebound for the man of the hour, Janmark. On to some stray observations:
- Patrik Nemeth was the Corsi leader for Dallas (again???) and his play has been almost a revelation of sorts. I wasn't a believer early on. I felt he belonged to an archetype fans forced on him. But it really does seem like the injury sandbagged his development. Granted, it's just a small sample size overall (he's still making a few head scratchers), but the spot is his at this point. The crow tastes just fine.
- Oh right. He was paired with Jordie Benn. Who was also solid. I didn't think I was overly critical of him in my post yesterday. I just think he can be a bit better, regardless of whether or not he belongs to the future.
- Jason Demers had a rough game, positive shot differential be damned. He was constantly getting beat on the outside, and reacted way too much in his own zone. We know he's better, but still. Thankfully that was still better than what Weber and Roman Josi offered, who had an even tougher time suppressing shots.
- St. Louis tomorrow? Ouch. I wouldn't mind seeing one of the defensemen rested. Especially against a team like St. Louis.