Dallas Stars vs Nashville Predators Preview: Lineups, Storylines, Game Time, and How to Watch
7:00pm start time tonight on Fox Sports Southwest.
The Dallas Stars faced their most challenging two-game stretch of schedule in the form of the West leading Chicago Blackhawks and the East leading Washington Capitals with aplomb.
Aplomb, and more importantly, four points that bring their total even with the Blackhawks at 77. The question going into this back-to-back set with the Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues, however, is what did it cost?
Travis Moen has been placed on injured reserve and Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin are both being called questionable by Dallasstars.com after both left the action Saturday night. Without a practice Sunday there's been no indication on whether or not they're available on this trip.
Tyler Seguin. Cody Eakin. Jason Spezza. The Dallas Stars are a little thin down the middle.
The good news is that as of Sunday night all they had recalled from the Texas Stars was Curtis McKenzie- So we wait for an update from Nashville on availability and line combinations that could really get thrown for a loop. Jason Spezza is skating, but will not be available on this trip.
Dallas used explosive periods of offensive brilliance to punch Chicago and Washington in the mouth but failed to score in four of the six periods and watched both tilt the ice in Kari Lehtonen's direction dramatically in the final frame.
They'll look for a more consistent effort tonight in Nashville but face a team that's collected points in eight of their last twelve (7-4-1) surrounding their hosting of the All-Star festivities.
Nashville is fresh off a dominating road win over the Florida Panthers in which they shut out their hosts 5-0 thanks to a 22 save performance from Carter Hutton on the second night of a back-to-back. Of course, the most notable part of that story was that the team in front of him allowed only those 22.
Our friends at "On The Forecheck" were impressed with their team's efforts on the night
The Preds played with surprising speed and physicality, considering how last night's game ended. The forward lines came out firing tough shots at Roberto Luongo and fighting constantly on the boards. For much of the game, the Panthers defense looked tired and lost (they played last night as well, against the Blues) and the Preds weren't letting up. The defense did a great job of closing gaps, allowing only a handful of chances. And the chances that came for the Panthers were handled well by Hutton. He had some real highlight reel saves, including one against one of the greatest hockey players of all time.
Just as impressive as wiping the floor with the Panthers was the night before in Tampa Bay where they took the Lightning to overtime and out-shot them 30-28 before falling to a Tyler Johnson 3-on-3 winner.
The Predator's offense has been prolific of late, piling up 20 goals in their last five outings. Their power play connected twice Saturday night again Jaromir Jagr's bunch, and it's a top-ten unit in the league. Their penalty kill, however, is seventh worst in the league this season so far at 78.7%- Just a hair worse than Dallas'.
Dallas took a 5-1 decision against these Preds on New Years Eve that you might recall, despite getting out-shot 32-34. Jason Spezza and Tyler Seguin generated four of the five and may not be available this evening. Craig Smith scored first but Dallas roared back with two in the second and three in the third to send 2015 out in style.
Oddly enough it was a game that featured four goals without a secondary assist. That's not relevant, I just thought it was interesting.
The Predator lineup:
Nashville took the petulant Johansen off of Columbus' hands for the price of Seth Jones, which may not be an optimal long-term decision but it does make the Stars' job a little tougher here tonight as a more balanced offensive attack will be gunning for the Dallas net- A counter-point to Lindy Ruff's injured squad.
From Stars PR:
FIGHTIN' THE NASHVILLE BLUES
The Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators square off for the second of five meetings this season. The Stars have won three-straight games against the Predators (3-0-0) and have collected points in two consecutive road games against them (1-0-1). In the first meeting of the season on Dec. 31 at American Airlines Center, Dallas defeated Nashville, 5-1. The Predators tallied the first goal of the game, but the Stars answered with five-straight goals including two tallies from forward Tyler Seguin (2-0=2). Three other Dallas skaters recorded multi-point games including captain Jamie Benn (1-1=2), forward Jason Spezza (0-2=2) and defenseman John Klingberg (0-2=2). Goaltender Antti Neimi turned aside 33 of 34 shots to help Dallas secure the victory.
Stars forward Tyler Seguin recorded two goals (2-0=2) against the Capitals on Saturday night and is now riding four-game point streak (3-4=7). Seguin currently ranks third in the NHL with 30 goals and ranks fourth in the League with 62 points (30-32=62). The native of Brampton, Ont. has tallied 33 points (18-15=33) in 29 games on the road this season, ranking first in goals (18) and second in points (33). He has points in two consecutive road games (0-4=4) and eight points (3-5=8) over his last six road contests with 21 shots on goal over that span. Seguin has goals in two-straight games against Nashville (3-0=3) and points in three of his last four games against the Predators (3-1=4). He has six points (4-2=6) in 12 career games against Nashville.