|Dallas Stars||Nashville Predators|
|5-on-5 Save %||.923||12th||.939||2nd|
|# of PP's/Gm||3.67||19th||3.32||27th|
|# of PK's/Gm||4.67||29th||3.37||5th|
The Stars are in the thick of the Western Conference's mushy middle, with a chance to work their way back into the playoffs for the first time since 2008 if they can continue putting the pieces together. In terms of style, they are not entirely unlike the Predators, getting out-shot and relying on goaltending to a large extent.
It's always a treat to see a real legend hit the ice, and tonight we get one in Jaromir Jagr, 5-time NHL scoring champ and two-time Stanley Cup champion from his early days in Pittsburgh. For 21 years, from 1980-81 to 2000-2001, there were only three different players who led the league in scoring: Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Jaromir Jagr. Yes, his best days are behind him, but the Mulletted One still has it, as the 40-year-old is tied for the team scoring lead in Dallas.
|2012 - Jaromir Jagr||17||5||8||13||+2||16||2||0||1||45||11.1|
In 14 career games against Nashville, Jagr has 5 goals and 15 assists for 20 points. Speaking of mullets, did you see this recent tribute to Jagr's career by these fans in Calgary?
It's not all about the old timers, however. After going through a rocky few years both on the ice and off, the Stars are building towards a better future with in-house talent coming up through the system, and new ownership in place giving the front office the support it needs to return Dallas to the playoffs:
The Dallas Stars have never attempted to build a team in this manner before and it's a strategy that is entirely foreign to fans in North Texas. The Stars won the Stanley Cup in 1999 with one of the more veteran teams in the NHL, a conglomerate of gritty, salty players that quickly formed one of the more impressive hockey teams of the 1990s and early 2000s.
Under Joe Nieuwendyk the Dallas Stars have refocused on the draft and have put a premium on retaining draft picks and assets. While there have certainly been misses (Scott Glennie) the Stars have built one of the more respected farm systems in the NHL, one that is deeper than most even if a true "blue chip prospect" has yet to be found. The Stars have also shown an ability to find talent that had previously been overlooked, turning to a number of players that had gone undrafted that now fill prominent roles in the organization.
When we talk about building a successful organization, one that focuses not only on the present but the future as well, this is exactly what we should be expecting to see.
--- Defending Big D
So look for a mix of old and new out of this edition of the Dallas Stars, as the guy who's tied with Jagr for the team scoring lead is a 23-year-old on the rise:
|2012 - Jamie Benn||13||6||7||13||+1||13||1||0||2||33||18.2|
So, what's the main story line to watch with the Predators these days? Hmm... I can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe it's the... no, that's not it.
Maybe they need to... no, it must be something else. Perhaps the lineup, and which guy Barry Trotz chooses to... no, that's not right either. Sorry, I just can't seem to complete a thought here, I wonder why that is.
Do you have a guess?