Nashville Predators fall victim to "Rope-A-Dope" by Dallas, lose 3-1

Despite dominating the flow of the game and out-shooting Dallas 35-14, the Nashville Predators saw their six-game winning streak come to an end in a 3-1 loss in front of 15,501 at Bridgestone Arena. Two quick Stars goals early in the 3rd period were the difference tonight as Loui Eriksson and Matt Niskanen scores 30 seconds apart to build the lead.

Follow after the jump for reaction, and the advanced even-strength statistics. As always, check the video widget down there in the right-hand sidebar for video highlights as soon as they become available...

This one was certainly frustrating, but all good winning streaks come to an end sometime. The Predators generally carried the play into the Dallas end, but the Stars defense kept collapsing into the center portion of the zone, blocking 24 shots and often forcing Nashville forwards to peel away off to the sideboards rather than attack the net.

On the offensive end, the Stars took good advantage of gaffes by the Predators. Their initial goal came as Pekka Rinne failed to cover a loose puck during a goal mouth scramble, allowing Trevor Daley to sneak down from the point and score the initial goal of the game in the second period.

Shea Weber later tied it up with one of his typical lasers from the right points, and the teams headed into the 3rd tied 1-1.

In the first two minutes, of the third, however, things fell apart for Nashville. A bad pass by Ryan Suter was quickly turned around in the neutral zone and Eriksson got loose down the right side. He beat Rinne clearly with a wrist shot and put Dallas up 2-1. Just seconds later, Brendan Morrow came out of the corner against 3 Preds with the puck, fed Niskanen at the point, and his slapper got through thanks in part to traffic in front of the crease.

While Nashville was able to generate some pressure down the stretch, it wasn't enough to overcome those mistakes, mistakes that I'm sure the coaching staff will lecture them on before Thursday's game against the Coyotes.

The Preds host the Phoenix Coyotes (Thursday) and Detroit Red Wings (Saturday) this week. For discounted tickets, check out this coupon code for Nashville Predators games available to readers of this site.

Boy, you can't ask much more out of the defense pairing of Dan Hamhuis and Cody Franson, can you? Those might be the most impressive individual numbers I've seen all season in terms of Shots For & Against.

The injuries to Jason Arnott and Joel Ward have certainly messed with Barry Trotz's line strategy, as we saw the fourth line of Tootoo-Spaling-Smithson sheltered somewhat.

 Even Strength Individual Totals Team Totals While Player Is On Ice
 Player Pos EV TOI Shots Shts Blkd Missed Shts Blocks SOG For SOG Ag SOG +/- Tot SF Tot SA Corsi
 David Legwand C 14:44 0 2 0 0 7 6 1 10 11 -1
 Dustin Boyd C 14:34 4 0 0 0 6 5 1 10 9 1
 Colin Wilson C 14:31 2 1 1 0 12 2 10 23 5 18
 Marcel Goc C 14:27 1 1 1 0 7 4 3 18 11 7
 Patric Hornqvist R 13:43 4 0 0 0 8 4 4 17 10 7
 Cal O'Reilly C 13:21 2 2 0 0 11 1 10 22 3 19
 Steve Sullivan L 13:03 1 0 0 0 8 4 4 16 11 5
 Martin Erat R 12:58 2 0 0 0 7 2 5 17 4 13
 J P Dumont R 12:29 2 0 0 0 9 5 4 12 9 3
 Jordin Tootoo R 9:23 2 1 0 0 9 1 8 14 4 10
 Nick Spaling C 7:42 1 0 0 1 4 1 3 7 3 4
 Jerred Smithson R 6:54 0 0 0 0 4 1 3 6 3 3
 Dan Hamhuis D 19:49 5 4 1 1 15 0 15 27 6 21
 Francis Bouillon D 17:23 1 0 2 3 6 6 0 13 12 1
 Cody Franson D 17:22 1 2 2 3 16 1 15 26 6 20
 Kevin Klein D 16:06 0 2 0 1 6 6 0 13 11 2
 Ryan Suter D 14:39 1 0 1 0 8 6 2 17 11 6
 Shea Weber D 13:59 1 4 0 1 8 5 3 17 10 7
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