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Dallas Stars vs. Nashville Predators Preview: Battle for the West

The Nashville Predators face off against a newly improved Dallas Stars tonight for a chance to take over the top spot in the Western Conference.

NHL: Dallas Stars at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Getting two points against Boston last night was huge, but tonight’s game is even bigger. The red-hot Dallas Stars are in town, and both teams are looking to keep each other from taking a single point away from this game.

The Dallas Stars

This is not the 1-3 Dallas Stars that scored a single goal in Nashville on October 12th. In the almost two months since, Dallas has turned it around considerably. The Stars have won 5 straight games. They have also emerged victorious in 7 of their last 10 contests and 15 of the 23 games since the first one against the Preds this season. What changed?

Well, first of all, they have begun to spread out the goal scorers. Through the first 10 games, 65% of the teams goals were scored by Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Alexander Radulov. They are outscoring opponents 23-11 during their current 5 game winning streak, and there are 10 different Stars players who have contributed to that total. Tyler Seguin does hold the lead with 5 goals, but he is not alone at the top. Sitting there with him is 3rd line center Radek Faksa.

The forwards may contain depth, but the Stars are still not rock-solid defensively.

In net will be Ben Bishop, who has had an intriguing year. It has been by no means fantastic, but he is posting a 2.59 GAA with a .912 SV%, both of which are right around league average. The 2.59 GAA compared to the Stars averaging 3.1 goals per game shows once again that Ben Bishop is not unbeatable. Bishop will have some work to do if Nashville new top line continues scoring like they did last night.

The Nashville Predators

Speaking of the new top line...After an impressive showing last night against the Boston Bruins, the combination of Kyle Turris, Craig Smith, and Kevin Fiala might just be enough to ease the loss of Ryan Johansen. RyJo is still day-to-day with an upper body injury.

The Preds are currently second in the West, just one point behind Winnipeg (Um...what?) With St. Louis and Los Angeles hot on their heels a big win tonight over Dallas could put the Preds in first place in the West. Who doesn’t want to see the defending champs back where they belong?

With Rinne getting the starting nod last night that means our favorite Little Bear is up tonight. Saros has spent some time in Milwaukee and will hopefully feel more comfortable between the pipes tonight. He can’t do it alone, so the rest of the team needs to have a good showing in front. With Yannick Weber back in the lineup hopefully the defense can work themselves back out and give Saros the support he needs.

Reasons to Watch

  1. Turris/Smith/Fiala Line - Do we have a name for this line yet that doesn’t sound like a bunch of angry sounds that don’t work well together?
  2. Forsberg - He rallied the team last night after a come to Jesus meeting with Lavy during a time-out and then proceeded to have a heart-warming moment with Marchand in the penalty box. I’m here for this Forsberg!
  3. Juuse Saros - Time for Little Bear to get his confidence in the big show back. You got this one, Juuse! Make us proud!

Sights and Sounds

Puck Drop: 7:30 p.m. CST

Watch Live: FS-TN or listen on 102.5 FM/