Preview: Dallas Stars Host Season Finale Against Nashville Predators
Like a television season-finale, this one promises uncertainty for the future of its characters and resolutions of year-long plot lines.
The close of the Dallas Stars' 2014-2015 season is upon us this evening, concluding against the Nashville Predators at American Airlines Center.
The Stars cannot catch the Kings for 9th in the West, nor can they be caught by the Colorado Avalanche and their 28 ROWs- But they could stay ahead of the San Jose Sharks with a win- Simply as a matter of a matter of pride, you see.
The Predators cannot catch the Anaheim Ducks or the St. Louis Blues (Central Division champs). Nor can they be caught by the Chicago Blackhawks due to the ROW tie-breaker. The will play Minnesota or Chicago, and there's nothing they can do to affect it tonight.
So this game will have no substantive effect on draft positions or playoff matchups.
What is at stake? The NHL scoring title, potentially.
Jamie Benn enters the contest with an outside chance of capturing the NHL's top point total- But he needs quite a bit of help. He trails Sidney Crosby and John Tavares each by a single point, and trails Tavares in the goal scoring department, losing any tie.
So he must out-score each of them by TWO points Saturday night if he is to capture that to which his teammates seem so dedicated in the absence of a playoff race.
"It's pretty cool," Benn told media Friday after the team's final practice of the season. "You'd trade anything for us to get in the playoffs and try to win a different trophy. I am going to go out there and try to win it and try to win a hockey game and see what happens."
The biggest tool at Jamie Benn's disposal in the pursuit of such an individual effort is Tyler Seguin- Who was late for practice on Friday and was held out of it as a consequence. When asked if there would be any implications for Saturday's game Ruff reportedly said the team would "deal with it internally."
The guess is he plays, but anything is possible.
Other story lines that come to mind: Who will play their last game in a Dallas Stars uniform? Rich Peverley will be seen in the press box, no doubt, and he'll technically be a UFA on July 1. Other impending UFA's include Shawn Horcoff and Patrick Eaves.
And Jhonas Enroth. Will he start again? And if he does, what does it signify for Kari Lehtonen as he enters an off-season of uncertainty?
On the other side it has been suggested that Pekka Rinne could possibly get the night off for some extra rest prior to the post-season. Mike Fisher did not practice Friday and is listed as day-to-day.
Nashville will finish 2nd in the Central no matter what, but could probably use a win ahead of a tough division match-up in the first round. They're 0-3-2 since clinching a playoff spot 13 days ago, and have allowed 20 goals in that span, including four to Dallas at home (topped by the Cody Eakin penalty shot goal in overtime).
As for you, dear reader, it's your last chance to get on down to the AAC until late September. Last call.
From Stars PR:
FIGHTIN' THE NASHVILLE BLUES
The Dallas Stars meet the Nashville Predators on Saturday night at American Airlines Center in the 2014-15 regular-season finale for both teams. Saturday's tilt marks the fifth of five games between the two teams and the second meeting in the last week. In the most recent meeting of the season on April 4, the Stars escaped Bridgestone Arena with a 4-3 overtime win behind Cody Eakin's game-winning goal on a penalty shot. Colton Sceviour (1-1=2) and Travis Moen (1-1=2) each recorded multi-point games to help the team secure its first victory of the season against their Central Division rivals.
BENN THERE, DONE THAT
Stars captain Jamie Benn notched three points (0-3=3) on Wednesday night against Anaheim and has registered 12 points (5-7=12) over his last six games. Benn has now recorded points in nine of his last 11 games (9-10=19) and has 21 points (9-12=21) over his last 14 games. The native of Victoria, B.C. currently shares first in the NHL and leads the Western Conference with 83 points (32-51=83). Going into Friday night, the captain is tied with the Islanders' John Tavares (36-47=83) and Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby (28-55=83) in the race for the Art Ross Trophy given annually to the player who leads the NHL in points at the end of the regular season. Both Tavares and Crosby have two games left to play this season, while Saturday's tilt marks the last for Benn. The captain is now just the sixth player in Dallas Stars history (since 1993-94) to record 80-plus points in a single season.