The Dallas Stars began the 2020-21 NHL season with back-to-back wins against the Nashville Predators. Since then, they have now dropped three consecutive games to the Predators, all of them in overtime.
Dallas is now 2-10 after 60 minutes this season, with one of those two wins coming from their third game of the season, against the Detroit Red Wings. They are 11-12-10 overall, closer to last place in the division than they are to sixth place. They have games in hand on the Predators, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Chicago Blackhawks, but those teams all won tonight. The Stars, meanwhile, keeping finding ways not to win.
Overall, the Stars were arguably the better team tonight. But this late into the season, there are no moral victories — only results.
For the first 10 minutes or so, the two teams mostly alternated scoring chances, but the Stars were far more dangerous. Roope Hintz’s pure speed gave him a pseudo-breakaway, and a couple minutes later Jason Dickinson forced a turnover in the offensive zone. However, neither player was able to get the puck past Juuse Saros.
Towards the end of the period, Dallas began to pick up the pace, now considerably outshooting the Predators. But this being the Stars, they were naturally unable to get on the scoreboard, and thus headed towards the locker room with solid play but nothing to show for it.
Score: Dallas 0, Nashville 0
Shots: Dallas 13, Nashville 7
The Stars and Predators spent the first four minutes or so of the second period playing hot potato, trading the puck back and forth while not really doing anything with it. They soon snapped out of it, unleashing a flurry of shots on goal in both directions which eventually resulted in a goal for Dallas, courtesy of Jason Robertson:
Hello Robo pic.twitter.com/itqed7Wgym— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) March 31, 2021
Nashville responded by undressing the Stars’ defense, creating a two-on-zero breakaway that luckily resulted in a fan by Rocco Grimaldi. They soon had a chance to rectify the missed opportunity, however, as Rhett Gardner went to the box for cross-checking Roman Josi. The Predators’ captain then proceeded to rocket the puck past Khudobin from the point, tying the game.
Hintz got another scoring chance on the rush, but shot it wide by the net. The Stars then got their own power play chance as Ben Harpur tripped up Jamie Oleksiak. Dallas wasted no time in regaining their lead, with Hintz finally finding the back of the net with a wide-open shot off the rebound:
We've said it twice and we'll say it again.— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) March 31, 2021
Hard working, alpha male, jack hammer. Merciless. pic.twitter.com/beGjJ6INT6
There were some more quality scoring chances in both directions, but nothing that hit twine, giving Dallas a 2-1 lead heading into the final frame.
Score: Dallas 2, Nashville 1
Shots: Dallas 26, Nashville 14
Nashville was relentless from puck drop, with their best scoring chance a wraparound opportunity by Viktor Arvidsson that Khudobin was somehow able to keep out. But not much later, a rebound off the end boards sent the puck right to Calle Jankrok, giving him the world’s biggest net to tie the game with.
Not satisfied with a tied game, the Predators continued bringing the heat, including a pair of chances off the rush by Luke Kunin and Mikael Granlund. As the clock wound down, however, the script seemed to flip, as suddenly Dallas began peppering Saros with their own scoring chances.
The closest either team got to another goal, however, was the puck bouncing off of the Stars’ crossbar and back down to the ice, miraculously staying out of the net. And that’s the story of how yet another Stars game went to overtime.
Score: Dallas 2, Nashville 2
Shots: Dallas 35, Nashville 25
A costly turnover by Denis Gurinaov led to a two-on-one for Nashville, resulting in a beautiful top-shelf goal by Eeli Tolvanen just 89 seconds in. And that’s all he wrote.
Final Score: Dallas 2, Nashville 3
Final Shots: Dallas 35, Nashville 26
The Stars face the Predators again on Thursday, April 1st, at 7 p.m. CST in Nashville.