The Nashville Predators get to try out the newest piece to their puzzle today against the Dallas Stars (6:00 p.m. Central on FS-TN), as veteran defenseman Hal Gill makes his Preds debut. The Stars have beaten Nashville in their two previous meetings this season, so the Predators should have a little extra motivation to come out of Dallas with two points this evening.
Follow after the jump for the breakdown!
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Despite being close to 8th spot in the Western Conference (3 points out with a game in hand over Calgary), the Stars are taking the long view, as evidenced by their trade of defenseman Nicklas Grossman to Philadelphia for a pair of draft picks. Word has it that other players could be on their way out of town over the next few days as well, giving GM Joe Nieuwendyk the opportunity to put his stamp on the team over the summer. If they do make the playoffs, that will just be pure gravy to the franchise and its new owner, Tom Gagliardi.
While I've poked some fun at the Predators for figuratively crowning themselves Stanley Cup champions, the Stars organization seems to be going in the other direction, lauding themselves for the most meager of achievements. This comes from the pre-game notes supplied by their media relations team:
STARS ONE WIN SHY OF ANOTHER 30-WIN SEASON: Dallas is looking to secure their 15th consecutive 30-win season with a victory over the Nashville Predators on Sunday night. The Stars have one of the longest active streaks in the NHL right now:
Active Consecutive 30-Win Seasons
* Includes 2011-12 season
1. Detroit Red Wings: 21 straight
2. Colorado Avalanche: 18 straight (one victory shy of 19 straight)
3. New Jersey Devils: 16 straight
4. Toronto Maple Leafs: 15 straight (one victory shy of 16 straight)
5. Dallas Stars: 14 straight (one victory shy of 15 straight)
Winning 30 games in an 82-game season isn't exactly a remarkable feat. In each of the last two seasons, only one team has failed to reach that mark. Party on, Dallas!
Dallas Stars Last 5 Games
From the sound of things being reported at the morning skate (by Jim Diamond and Josh Cooper via Twitter), Gill will pair up with Roman Josi, with the likely scratches being Jack Hillen and Ryan Ellis. Josi's a mobile puckhandler who likes to jump into the rush, so pairing him with the safe and steady Gill seems like a natural way to start.
In terms of who's had some success against the Stars? It's none other than the other new guy in the lineup, Brandon Yip, who has 4 goals and 4 assists in 8 career games against Dallas. With Patric Hornqvist still out of the lineup, will he continue to get power play opportunities in front of the net?
|2011 - Brandon Yip||18||1||1||2||+3||15||0||0||0||22||4.5|
Expect Pekka Rinne to get the start in net, and we'll see you later today for the Game Thread!