After snapping a nasty losing streak where nothing seemed to go completely right, the Dallas Stars will take their score often and early mantra and put it to the test in Nashville.
Who is ready for some Sunday afternoon hockey? After securing an essential win against the Carolina Hurricanes yesterday at home, the Stars will now kick off a three-game bout in the Central Division.
It all starts tonight against the Nashville Predators, and the game couldn’t be much bigger for Dallas. Here are some storylines to follow in the matchup and help prepare you for puck drop at 5:00 p.m. from Bridgestone Arena.
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The Dallas Stars have proved one thing more consistently than any other positive thing this season: when they put their minds to it, they know how to score.
The “I can do anything better than you” mentality of outscoring an opponent to win seems to be present in other places in the league too, so the Stars have found themselves in a tight spot when it comes to competitive scoring.
In the end, the Stars seem to do their best scoring when their defense is alert and on the job. Since the Stars can have a hard time rallying and bouncing back with an answer goal after their opponents score, keeping the other team from finding the back of the net is obviously a crucial part in Stars’ victories, but also in their confident victories.
Not only did Lindell score, but he and his partner John Klingberg were both a +3 rating in yesterday’s game. Stephen Johns was also up to his usual task of shot blocking and keeping the opponent in line by levying big hits. If the Stars can keep up a good defensive effort tonight, their offense will find similar success.
The pressure’s on
We know the Stars need every win they can scrape together at this point in the season, but on the second night of a back to back, things are pretty down and out. Couple that with the Stars’ aptitude for not being able to take a win streak past 1 game, and things become a bit bleaker.
However, the Preds aren’t exactly on their A-game, either. The 7-4 loss to the Panthers left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth- players and coach alike. Although on the second game of a back to back themselves, the Predators want this win to go into their break on a good note. Do the Predators want it more than the Stars need it? That’ll be the question that gets answered tonight.
Beware the lumberjack
With a hard-fought career-high season developing for him, Patrick Eaves will be one to watch for in tonight’s tilt. In the absences of Jason Spezza, Eaves has really stepped up and worked to fill in the gap.
Beyond that, Radek Faksa has continued to make an impression and a place for himself on the team, having won 13 of 19 faceoffs he took last night. Watch for him to continue to be a foundation piece in play.
For the Predators, Viktor Arvidsson pushes to the top of the team’s goals scored with his hattrick earning him the top spot and 18 goals. Ryan Johansen leads the team with 40 points.
With former Star Vernon Fiddler‘s recent relocation to the Nashville Predators, the Stars will be facing him along with his new team in Tennessee tonight. Fiddler, now a Predator for the second time in his career, made his second debut with the team on Thursday night in a victory over the Canucks.