Coming into Nashville tonight, the Dallas Stars have six games left to leapfrog the Nashville Predators and claim that fourth spot in the Central and a berth to the Playoffs. Unfortunately for the Stars, these six games will all be happening on the road. Also unfortunately for the Stars, tonight’s game is against the very team they’re attempting to steal a spot from.
This is the eighth and final meeting between the two teams. The Stars have won a point in all of the games, but the Predators have been the victors of four of the previous seven. Tonight, the Stars are without Denis Gurianov, who is out day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Tyler Seguin is likely for Monday’s game against Florida but was not ready for tonight.
Remember the last thirty minutes of Doctor Strange (2016) when they were stuck in a loop trying the same thing over and over again for a hilariously long time? That was this first period. Who plays Stephen Strange and who plays Dormammu will be determined by the outcome of the game.
The good news is that the Stars had more shots on goal at all strengths, and more high danger chances. Stars defense kept Nashville from taking shots from the high danger zone at all except when the Predators were on the power play.
As is to be expected between these teams, the physicality swings towards brutal tonight, with one man already down in the first period. Roman Josi went back to the locker room after being dumped by Jason Robertson and hitting the ice face first.
Both teams had a chance at a power play but neither was able to convert.
Shots: Dallas 12, Nashville 6
Score: Dallas 0, Nashville 0
Okay remember in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers when Aragorn and friends battled a bunch of orcs in the rain for what felt like two years? The Stars are Aragorn and friends, because they’re definitely not orcs. Not on a Stars blog. This period was a bit of a muddy slog.
A true goaltenders battle, especially in the middle of the frame when the Stars got caught in their end (Helm’s Deep) for a shift that lasted over three minutes for Esa Lindell and Sami Vatanen. Somehow Anton Khudobin (he’s gotta be Gimli, no?) held firm. (Unclear on who tossed him.)
I've had relationships that were shorter than Esa Lindell's last shift— Bruce LeVine (@BruceLeVinePuck) May 2, 2021
Andrew Cogliano and Blake Comeau dropped the gloves with Matt Benning and Erik Gubrandson respectively, but since they were matching minors no one had any power-play time.
Despite missing part of the period to concussion protocols, Roman Josi was back on the ice by the time the fighting started.
Shots: Dallas 23, Nashville 20
Score: Aragorn and friends 0, orcs 0
So this time think back to 2003’s The Matrix Revolutions, which you may or may not have given a miss depending on how you felt about Neo’s conversation with the Architect at the end of The Matrix Reloaded. Either way, here it is:
In this goalie battle and with the Stars collective energy flagging in the third, Khudobin is Neo and the Nashville Predators as a singular entity are all of the Smiths. The rest of the Stars are probably the especially large raindrops that were the result of actual practical effects.
In other news, Jason Dickinson left the game midway through the period with a lower-body injury.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that Khudobin had one of his best periods of the season.
And the Stars finally had their best chance with Jamie Benn on the rebound, but Saros continued to be a thorn in the Stars side and saved it on the doorstep.
Shots: Raindrops 28, Smiths 29
Score: Dallas 0, Nashville 0
Jason Robertson high-sticked Roman Josi early in overtime, giving the Predators a pretty key advantage on a pretty weak call. The Stars got through the penalty kill and tried to clear the zone with a long pass up center ice, but it was interrupted by Mattias Eckholm, who wrapped around the net and got a centering pass out to Erik Haula, who didn’t miss this time.
Right, so in 2016’s Star Trek Beyond, when Kirk came out on the motorcycle (please don’t ask why there was a motorcycle on this planet, or why there were paths traversable by motorcycle on this planet) but it was all a misdirection for Spock and McCoy to free the crew? Eckholm was Kirk, Haula was Spock, and the Stars were the hapless leftover crew of the USS Franklin.
Shots: Dallas 28, Nashville 34
Goals: Hapless crew 0, Kirk & Spock 1
The overtime loss gives the Stars a better chance to catch the Predators than a regulation loss would have done, they’re only two behind still instead of three. Still, they’ll need a lot of luck to pull this off in the next five games.