The Dallas Stars are hoping they won’t rue a defeat to a lowly opponent down the stretch.
The Stars are still in control of their playoff destiny and will look to recover and eliminate the visiting Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.
Dallas (38-29-11) missed an opportunity to take a three-point lead over Phoenix for the final Western Conference wild-card in spot with Sunday’s 3-2 defeat at Florida. The Stars still lead the Coyotes by one point, but looming large is a season-ending matchup April 13 in Phoenix.
”We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, they’re not going to give us these games," winger Jamie Benn said. "We have to put this one behind us; it was obviously a terrible outcome. We don’t want to remember this one.”
Tyler Seguin had a goal and an assist for the second straight night to extend his point streak to four games, but he was left lamenting a blown two-goal second-period lead.
”Tough points to lose, it wasn’t a good game for us,” Seguin said. ”No excuses even though it was back-to-back. We expect better.”
The Stars are 6-0-1 in their last seven at home with three straight wins.
The Predators (35-32-11) are six points behind Dallas and must win to stay alive. Nashville is seeking its first four-game win streak since Jan. 31-Feb. 7, 2013.
The Predators won 5-2 over Anaheim on Friday and 3-0 against San Jose one night later in the first two games of their three-game trip.
”This team won’t quit,” coach Barry Trotz said. ”It hasn’t quit all year. It’s not going to quit. They will play right until the end. We see when the smoke clears where we stand.”
Patric Hornqvist has seven goals and seven assists during the Predators’ 5-1-1 surge.
”We’re never going to give up,” Hornqvist said. ”It’s a long road to make the playoffs. But as long as we have a chance, we’re going to work as hard as we can."
The Predators have to be wondering what might have been if not for the lone regulation defeat in their last seven, a 7-3 loss at Dallas on March 28 in which they allowed their highest goal total of the season.
These teams have split four meetings with the home team winning each. The Stars have scored first every time, with Alex Goligoski totaling six assists.
Kari Lehtonen has started each meeting for Dallas, posting a 2.77 goals-against average. He’s 5-0-0 with a 1.91 GAA in his last six home starts.
Trotz will choose between Pekka Rinne or Carter Hutton. Each got a start over the weekend, with Hutton making 35 saves against the Sharks for his first career shutout.
One positive Sunday for Dallas was Seguin’s power-play goal – the club’s lone tally with the man advantage in its last 21 chances.
"I think after we changed and put Jamie around the front and put two ‘D’ out there, we spent most of the time in the zone, we had a lot of good looks, a couple redirections," coach Lindy Ruff said. "It looked like a power play again."