Intelligence Briefing: Stalking the Nashville Predators

The real big question facing Nashville is what to do with Matt Duchene. Will the Stars see a rejuvenated forward this season, or is he truly in decline?

The Dallas Stars’ new division isn’t filled with teams they don’t see all that often. It’s also got a few well-known foes, such as the Nashville Predators. Of late, the two teams have had some spirited affairs.

Things really started to heat up between the two teams when they faced off in the playoffs back in 2019. Dallas finished the regular season as the first wild card out west while Nashville sat atop the division. After going up 3-2 in the series, Nashville was an overtime away from tying the series before John Klingberg played hero to advance the Stars past the first round for just the second time in over a decade.

That playoff loss added a new layer to the team’s matchups last year. To add fire to the flame, the two teams played in the Winter Classic last New Year’s Day in front of the second-largest crowd in NHL history at the marquee event. They proved that hockey was alive and well in non-traditional markets, and the two put on quite a show. Dallas rallied from an early two goal deficit to win on their home territory, 4-2.

The Predators were also a key cog in the Stars’ tailspin prior to the league pause last year, beating them in two consecutive games as part of an 0-4-2 stretch before the season was ultimately cancelled.

But while we may think we know the Predators, how much do we really know of a team that fired their coach, hired a new one, and has some older veteran players familiar to the Stars? Our pals at On The Forecheck answered the five questions we’ve posed of all of the new Central Division mates for the coming year yesterday. There’s a treasure trove of interesting nuggets in their responses, but my favorite might be this one about how they rate the potential fireworks that could come between the Stars and Predators this season:

I think it will be many years before Predators fans can play the Dallas Stars with much civility after the Winter Classic Ellis injury. Sure, you can trade Corey Perry away, but when fans replay that cheap shot in their minds, they picture Perry in Dallas green.

Ahem, that is Victory Green officially, folks, for future reference.