The last time Dallas and Nashville met, the Stars prevailed on the NHL’s biggest outdoor stage of the season. Now, they’ll look to continue their recent success in the series back indoors.
With both teams looking to avoid a fourth straight defeat, the visiting Stars aim for a third consecutive win over the Predators on Thursday night in the first of a home-and-home set between the Central Division rivals.
Dallas overcame an early 2-0 hole by scoring three times in the third period to beat Nashville 4-2 in the Winter Classic at the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day. It was the Stars’ second win in as many games this season against the Predators, who, unlike Dallas, are on the outside of playoff position in the crowded Western Conference.
It’s also the first of the final two regular-season meetings between these clubs over a three-day stretch. They’ll meet at Dallas on Saturday, but first, each looks to end their current rough stretch.
Dallas, which looks good for a top-three finish in the Central, is 0-1-2 following a 7-1-1 stretch.
Although the Stars fell 2-1 in overtime to Edmonton at home on Tuesday, Dallas coach Rick Bowness was happy with his team’s overall effort that produced 43 shots on goal overall and plenty of energy and spirit down the stretch.
“It’s an effort that, this time of year, (we) have to repeat,” Bowness told the Stars’ website. “You’re chasing positions, you’re chasing playoffs. It’s going to be hard to do that every night, but that’s the expectation.”
Each of Dallas’ past three contests were decided by one goal, and the Stars averaged 36 shots in those contests. However, the Stars have also allowed nine non-shootout goals while opponents have gone 4-for-10 on the power play over that span.
Dallas goalie Anton Khudobin has a 1.72 goals-against average while going 2-0-2 in his past four starts. He could be in net again Thursday as Ben Bishop, who has allowed four goals each while losing his past two starts, is day-to-day due to a lower-body injury.
Bishop stopped 31 shots in the Winter Classic victory over the Predators. Khudobin, meanwhile, made 37 saves during a 4-1 win at Nashville on Dec. 14.
The Stars are amid a 3-0-1 stretch at Nashville, where the Predators return for the first time since a tornado ravaged the area late Monday evening. It’s also where Nashville hopes to end a its three-game overall slide that followed a 6-1-1 run.
After being roughed up 8-3 by Edmonton at home Monday, Nashville fell 3-1 at Minnesota on Tuesday night to fall out of playoff position in the West.
“It’s such a tight race right now,” forward Mikael Granlund told the Predators’ website. “(Whether) you lose or win, you just have to keep moving forward and start preparing for the next one.”
Though star defenseman Roman Josi has two goals with three assists in four games to record a career-high 62 points, the Predators have allowed 17 goals in those four contests. Juuse Saros has dropped two straight starts, but he owns a 2.52 goals-against average over his past four games.
Teammate Pekka Rinne allowed all eight goals against Edmonton on Monday, and he yielded the same total amount in the two games vs. Dallas this season.
Dallas’ Jamie Benn has a goal with six assists during a six-game point streak. He has gone five consecutive road games without a point versus Nashville.
–Field Level Media