There were bright spots, including an end to Roope Hintz’s improbable goalless streak, but the Dallas Stars could not find a way past the Nashville Predators on Wednesday night. The Stars dropped a 4-2 decision at the American Airlines Center to fall to 4-6-2 for the season. The loss was their second in a row, and fourth in the last five games. With just one win in their last seven, tonight’s loss leaves Dallas as the only team in the NHL without a regulation win, and 3 games behind the 1944-1944 New York Rangers for the NHL’s longest ever season-starting streak.
The first frame checked most of the boxes for your 2021 Dallas Stars. The boys in Victory Green generated a number of quality scoring chances, but still wound up on the wrong end of the shot count (5 to 8), penalty count (0 to 1), and score (0 to 1). The goal, a Ryan Johansen backhand and his fifth of the season came with just 51.6 seconds left in the period. It served as the Stars’ latest brutal reminder that good effort can only take you so far without an equal measure of finish.
Believe it or not, Dallas actually claimed the game’s first real scoring opportunity. Tyler Seguin and Denis Gurianov combined to force a goalmouth scramble, but could not get the shot to drop. Their chance came just under two minutes into the game, and Dallas would have to wait another 16 minutes before Miro Heiskanen registered their second serious opportunity. Dallas’ All-World blueliner danced through the Nashville defense, but could not beat Juuse Saros. During the period, Dallas would also go 12 minutes without generating a shot on goal.
And then came the second period. Dallas carried play for longer stretches, and managed to pull ahead on the shot count (17 to 16, force a pair of power plays, and even got Hintz untracked. Hintz’s first of the season, and Dallas’ first of the game, came courtesy of a strong shift with linemates Jason Robertson and Joe Pavelski. Unfortunately, by the time Hintz had scored, both Tanner Jeannot (5) and Matt Duchene (6) had tallied for the Predators. Dallas would enter the third period down 3-1 with everything to prove.
Straight-up magic by Heiskanen pulled the Stars to within a goal halfway through the third period. After dancing over the blueline, the Dallas defender hit captain Jami Benn along the boards. Benn found Alexander Radulov who fed a no-look pass across the crease for a Heiskanen tap-in. The goal was Heiskanen’s third of the season and team-leading 12th point. It set the stage for a wild finish, but Colton Sissons found the empty net with 43 seconds remaining to put hopes of a comeback on ice.
Dallas will face the Philadelphia Flyers at home this Saturday at 7pm CT.