For the second night in a row, the Predators gave up three goals in a short span in the first period. But unlike last night, they couldn't dig themselves out of an early hole, and ultimately fell to the Dallas Stars 6-3.
Pekka Rinne was pulled after the third goal at the 12:30 mark of the first period. Lindback played well in his place, but every time it seemed like Nashville was ready to stage a comeback, the Stars answered right back and took away any momentum the Predators had gained.
The Stars and Predators are neck-and-neck in the Western Conference standings and will no doubt be battling for one of the last playoff spots come March and early April. But it was only the first of four games between the two clubs; the Predators will get a shot at payback in 13 days when the Stars pay a visit to Nashville.
Video highlights and more thoughts after the jump:
- Coaches talk about playing "a full 60 minutes" and they're usually referring to finishing games out, but for the Predators, it's been the opposite lately. In its last two games, Nashville has given up a combined seven goals in the first period. You know Henrik Zetterberg and the rest of the Red Wings are licking their chops thinking about Monday's first 20 minutes.
- On the third Stars goal, I thought Steve Ott played the puck with a high stick and it would get called back, but the referees thought otherwise and ruled it a goal. There's still no excuse for letting Ribeiro hang around in the Preds' zone for that long before dropping it back - a rare gaffe with Weber/Suter out on the ice.
- The sequence of events at the end of the first period was a big momentum swing. Nashville had a man advantage for the last two and a half minutes or so, but couldn't capitalize and went into the first intermission down three.
- There were a couple of points in the game where I really thought the Preds were gonna do it and come back and win. But every time they clawed within one, Dallas scored right away and took the air out of the gold and navy sails.
- The fifth Stars' goal was especially deflating after Legwand had just put it within one. Fisher has to play Benn harder on that one.
- If there's one positive to take from this game, it's that the powerplay is still clicking at an unreal rate relative to Nashville standards. The Predators went 2/5 with the man advantage and, apart from that sequence at the end of the first, were able to score when the team really needed a goal.
- The Christmas break comes at a good time for the Preds as they'll have time to settle down from a couple of poor performances before The Red Wings come to town on Monday night. The Predators always seems to play well against Detroit, and they'll need to be on their game if they want to have a chance to beat their division rivals.