A serious of defensive gaffes in the 1st & 2nd periods were followed by undisciplined penalties in the 3rd, as the Nashville Predators fell behind early and never seriously threatened the Dallas Stars in a 4-1 defeat in front of a record-setting 7th straight sellout crowd at Bridgestone Arena. Dallas simply capitalized on Nashville's mistakes, then settled in to a defensive style of play to cruise to the finish.
The lone bright spot of the night for Nashville was Gabriel Bourque's first career NHL goal, coming in his 4th game with the Preds.
Follow after the jump for video highlights & reaction...
First the video (might take 30-45 minutes post-game to work):
Your random observations:
- Jordin Tootoo didn't waste much time by squaring off with Mark Fistric early on, but it was more of a wrestling match than anything else.
- Shea Weber was certainly involved in all facets of the game in his return. He posted a pretty strong +4 Corsi, fired 4 shots on goal, attempted 7 other shots and blocked one as well. He was out there during some of the team defensive breakdowns, however. Chalk it up to rust being shaken off.
- Roman Josi was almost set up for that opening goal by a Mike Ribeiro rush down the right wing earlier on, during which he put a very similar move on the rookie and blew by him.
- Congratulations go out to Gabriel Bourque for scoring his 1st career NHL goal, that was a great job by him to sag into the slot while Tootoo took the puck behind the net. The Stars obviously left him wide open, but that was a nice job burying the feed once it came his way.
- The 2nd & 3rd Dallas goals were both pretty nauseating, featuring two very different forms of defensive failures. On #2, the Preds gave up too much room to pretty much every Star in the offensive zone, allowing Ribeiro to beat Klein to a loose puck in the crease, while on the Benn score, Suter left the puck assuming that Nick Spaling was supporting him, but Spals had turned his back to the play and was already breaking up ice.
- Ribeiro left the game after taking a point shot to the face late in the second period, but hopefully the damage isn't too serious there, as he was able to return later in the 3rd with a face cage on.
- Into every 82-game season, a few of these absolute stinkers come along. I wouldn't read too much into it, as overall the team has played well lately. This does ratchet up the pressure on the Predators to come out strong Saturday night when Carolina comes to town, though.
- For those who wonder about the long layoff possibly affecting the Preds, the good news is that outside of the All-Star Break, they have only one more 3-day gap in their schedule, from February 28 to March 3.