Nashville Predators (7-3-2) at Dallas Stars (4-4-4)
|Date & Time||Thursday November 6, 2014, 8:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Dallas Stars -130 / Nashville Predators +118 --- Over/Under: 5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The struggles of the Dallas Stars continued on Tuesday night with the Los Angeles Kings in town. Dallas was lighting the lamp at the beginning of the season but their offense has dried up significantly during their five game losing streak. Tuesday’s loss was the third consecutive game that the Stars have scored just one goal in and this club is really struggling against some of the better teams in the Western Conference. Shawn Horcoff got the Stars off to a quick start with his second goal of the season coming just 2:37 into the contest, but it was the only goal that Dallas would get by Jonathan Quick despite throwing 34 shots his way in the game. Kari Lehtonen allowed three goals on 30 shots, two of which came in a third period that saw the Stars out shoot the Kings 17-9. Things just aren’t going well right now for Dallas and looking at the schedule it isn’t going to get much easier any time soon. The Stars learned a lot from their season last year and despite it ending in heart breaking fashion with a first round playoff loss to the Anaheim Ducks there are a lot of things to look forward to. There’s a very nice mix of young talent and veterans on this club but it’s the kids that are going to make the difference going forward. Jamie Benn is a wonderful hockey player and is only twenty-five, Tyler Seguin leads the team with 15 points and is a star at just twenty-three. Adversity is a big part of maturing as a team and it might be better for the Stars that a stretch like this is coming early on in the season. There’s plenty of time to get things fixed and their quick start helps make this run of back luck a little bit easier to handle. With the Predators coming to town on Thursday night now would be a good time to get back in the win column.
The Nashville Predators tried to give their star netminder Pekka Rinne a break on Tuesday night in Winnipeg but they didn’t get the results they were hoping for. Carter Hutton hasn’t played much this year and by the time he found his game it was too late for the Predators. Winnipeg scored twice in the first 5:29 of the hockey game to take a 2-0 lead and Nashville never recovered. Filip Forsberg scored his fourth goal of the season to cut the lead to a goal in the second period but the Predators really couldn’t muster much offense despite trailing. Nashville managed just seven shots in the third period and eventually allowed an empty net goal to Blake Wheeler in the 3-1 loss. One of the biggest concerns of this game is the 0-for-4 on the power play that the Predators managed. That puts them at 11.1% on the year, good for just 25th in the league. With the importance of special teams continuing to grow it’s imperative that the Predators get that figured out quickly. Their penalty killing has been abysmal as well, 28th in the league and killing off just 70.3% of opposing power plays. Rinne can hide a lot of flaws if he continues to play at an elite level but the Predators aren’t going anywhere if they don’t figure out their special teams. Dallas is right in the middle of the pack to start the season and they’re going to be a desperate opponent on Thursday night, so staying out of the box will be a big factor for the visiting club.
Odds makers are favoring the Stars in this one and expecting them to break out of their slump. This would be as good a time as any because as mentioned the schedule isn’t getting much easier. Rinne should be back in goal for this one and it should be a good one.