Break Ends as Stars Enter Crucial Stretch Against Predators

Division games are the norm for the next few weeks, setting up a make or break scenario for Dallas.

After a short break for the NHL All Star game, the Dallas Stars return to the ice at American Airlines Center on Wednesday night. The team’s next eight games are against Division opponents: two against leaders Colorado Avalanche, two against the second place Nashville Predators and two against the wild card rival Winnipeg Jets.

The only game against a team outside the Division is on February 27 against the Buffalo Sabres. Throw in three of four games against the Division to start out March, and you get the feeling that the team will know exactly whether they should be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline by the end of this stretch of games.

Dallas comes in healthy. Michael Raffl, Joel Kiviranta, and Braden Holtby are all skating and expected to play. Jason Robertson missed practice on Tuesday with an eye issue, reportedly fixed by eye drops.

Nashville is also healthy, so there really aren’t any excuses to be had. It’s the second half of the season, the team is facing teams ahead of them in the standings and they are well rested and with only normal mid-season bumps and bruises.

Dallas Stars Lineup

Jason Robertson (21) - Roope Hintz (24) - Joe Pavelski (16)
Jami44)e Benn (14) - Tyler Seguin (91) - Denis Gurianov (34)
Joel Kiviranta (25) - Jacob Peterson (40) - Alexander Radulov (47)
Michael Raffl (18) - Radek Faksa (12) - Luke Glendening (11)

Ryan Suter (20) - Miro Heiskanen (4)
Esa Lindell (23) - John Klingberg (3)
Joel Hanley ( - Jani Hakanpaa (2)

Jake Oettinger (29)
Braden Holtby (70)

Nashville Predators Lineup

Filip Forsberg (9) - Mikail Granlund (64) - Matt Duchene (95)
Nick Cousins (21) - Ryan Johansen (91) - Luke Kunin (11)
Yakov Trenin (13) - Colton Sissons (10) - Tanner Jeannot (84)
Eeli Tolvanen (28) - Michael McCarron (47) - Philip Tomasino (26)

Roman Josi (59) - Dante Fabbro (57)
Mattias Ekholm (14) - Alexandre Carrier (45)
Mark Borowiecki (90) - Phillippe Myers (55)

Juuse Saros (74)
David Rittich (33)

Keys to the Game

Ready to Go. Whether golf in the Bahamas, or dominating a skills competition, the Stars have been away from the grind for the last week. Be ready for playoff quality play, or get run over.

Penalty Kill. The PK was full of holes headed into the break. A nice Raffl to Hintz shorty would be a good way to end their troubles.

Fans. Everybody needs to be into this game. AAC needs to be rocking.