Nashville Predators (16-17-4) at Dallas Stars (18-12-6)
|Date & Time||Friday December 27, 2013, 8:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Dallas Stars -147 / Nashville Predators +134 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Stars look to keep pace with the Western powers as they host the Predators in Dallas on a busy Friday night.
The Predators were once the darlings of the Western Conference as a team with minimal fan support and a lack of superstar talent rose into the mix of some of the best teams in the NHL and as a result received a ton of fanfare. However, just two years removed from their best season to date the Preds have fallen back into irrelevance in the West and I think it will be a handful of seasons and a lot of revamping before they return. Nashville does have some great players in the form of Shea Weber and rookie sensation Seth Jones but beyond their two best defenders the Preds are very thin and have a lackluster offense that is the second worst in hockey. Nashville will look to improve their road mark as they invade Frisco, Texas to take on a Stars team who is playing above expectation and has a great chance to qualify for the playoffs. Carter Hutton gets the nod in goal for Nashville as he goes up against Kari Lehtonen for the Stars.
Dallas heads into the season’s second half in fifth place in the Central division and while a division title and even a top half playoff seed is likely out of the question the Stars are very much in the mix in the Western Conference playoff picture. Many people had the Stars projected to finish near the bottom of the standings this year as they unloaded a ton of talent at the end of last season and made a trade that saw one of their best head to Boston but so far the Stars have been shining brighter than a lot of people expected. Tyler Seguin, who was the centrepiece of the Boston trade that saw Loui Eriksson head East is enjoying one of his best season’s to date as he has generated a ton of chemistry with Jamie Benn and together the tandem have been as good as any short of Crosby-Malkin and Toews-Kane. The Stars are a funny team and are much better than people give them credit for and if they can get into the playoffs I think they will be a very tough out especially if Lehtonen continues to play as well as he is. I look for Dallas to wax the Predators here in what should be a pretty convincing victory.