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Game Day Blog: Preds vs. Dallas Stars

Tuesday, 03.23.2010 / 2:48 PM CT / Preview
By Tom Callahan  - Nashville Predators
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Game Day Blog: Preds vs. Dallas Stars
Game Preview
Nashville Predators vs. Dallas Stars
Bridgestone Arena, 7 pm CST
TV: Fox Sports TN  |  Radio: 104.5 The Zone, Predators Radio Network

Dare we say it? MAKE IT SEVEN!

Ah, yes, always fun to poke those who take themselves too serious. Actually, I’m stealing that from Dave Strader’s call earlier this year when the Phoenix Coyotes won seven in a row. Perfect irony and a well-placed reference! I don’t think anyone’s been to that web site or followed the movement since the summer, but just about every hockey market has to feel good about what the desert dogs have done this year.

And I would love to see the Predators make it seven tonight against the Dallas Stars, who come in with just 11 road wins and fading playoffs hopes. Missing Mike Modano hurts plenty, but head coach Marc Crawford openly admits his team isn’t good enough defensively. Goaltending has been questionable all season, special teams are not good either, and they’ve basically been the allas Stars because there’s just no “D”.

For Nashville’s part, they have to deal with the absence of Jason Arnott (precautionary scratch) and Joel Ward (upper body) tonight, and likely Nick Spaling will be here in time for the game from Milwaukee to take Ward’s place.

Pekka Rinne earned NHL first star honors this week as he continues to spark the Preds with his brilliant netminding, making key saves at important times and leading the team on its current six-game win streak. If Pekka can keep things going the way he is now, look out. Hot goaltenders = playoff survivors!

Also, Dustin Boyd looks not only comfortable but downright capable next to Erat and Wilson – and Wilson in his own right is turning heads after some needed seasoning in Milwaukee earlier this year. It would be really nice if for a change things can actually align for Nashville as they enter the post-season.

Notes:
  • Modano is not back yet from his appendicitis, but will likely try to make it back for the Stars when they head out to California for the back end of the team’s four-game road trip, which starts tonight. The 39-year-old has been rumored to be contemplating retirement at the end of this season.
  • Kari Lehtonen has posted an uninspiring 2-2-0 record with an .888 save % and 3.59 GAA for the Stars since being acquired from the Atlanta Thrashers. Supposed to shore up the goaltending, Lehtonen has only added another question mark on top of Marty Turco’s second straight mediocre season.
  • Brad Richards has a five-game point scoring streak going (3-5-8)
  • Patric Hornqvist’s 28 goals eclipsed the record for most goals by a homegrown Predators player, moving ahead of David Legwand’s 27-goal season in 2006-07.

Keys to the Game
  • Pressure the Dallas defense. Make them turn it over, fumble it away, or just make mistakes. The Stars have shown they will turn the puck over with pressure.
  • Get to Lehtonen. If he gets comfortable, it could be a long night. Stick a man around him at all times and make him fight to see the puck.
  • Keep your own end clean. Make sure Rinne sees what he can, and if he doesn’t hold it, clear it out. Don’t let the Dallas forwards become dangerous.
SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

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STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 33 31 1 64
R. Josi 81 14 47 -3 61
J. Neal 82 31 27 27 58
S. Weber 78 20 31 -7 51
M. Ribeiro 81 7 43 11 50
C. Smith 82 21 16 4 37
M. Ekholm 82 8 27 14 35
R. Johansen 42 8 26 10 34
R. Ellis 79 10 22 13 32
C. Jarnkrok 81 16 14 1 30
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 34 21 10 .908 2.48
C. Hutton 7 5 4 .918 2.33