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Nashville Predators vs. Dallas Stars Preview: The Underachiever Bowl

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Two teams that have not lived up to expectations will meet in a little Sunday hockey action

NHL: Nashville Predators at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Nashville Predators and the Dallas Stars are two teams in desperate need of a few wins.

Both of these teams were picked as possible Central Division winners, and even viewed as possible Stanley Cup contenders. The Preds are sitting in a wild card spot, while the Stars are on the outside of the playoff race looking in.

The Stars’ downfall has been their goaltending. The Preds’ struggles have come from their lack of consistency. Both teams are running out of season, and the urgency to start stringing wins together is real.

Dallas (30.5) and Nashville (31.6) both rank in the top 10 in shots per game. Expect to see lots of shots, perhaps lots of goals, and some desperation hockey.

The Dallas Stars

Dallas is 7-15-4 on the road. They have been overwhelmingly inconsistent this season. With a 1-4 mark in their last five games, they are struggling for anything positive to cling to - much like the Preds.

Dallas does lead the season series 2-1, and for as much as they have struggled, they seem to up their game when they play Nashville. Despite their lackluster record, the Stars have the 12th best offense in the league (2.77 goals per game), and after giving up seven goals to the Florida Panthers, the Stars are probably not the team Nashville wants to see right now.

The Stars are led by Tyler Seguin’s 51 points - tied for 7th in the NHL. They still have Jamie Benn and his 17 goals, but Patrick Eaves’ 21 goals has been a pleasant surprise for the men in green.

The Nashville Predators

This is the Preds 9th of 13 back-to-backs this season, and they are 4-3-1 in the second game of those back-to-backs. They are 8-2-2 in their last 12 home games against Dallas.

The Preds’ power play has struggled recently, however, the Stars’ penalty kill ranks last in the league. So this could be the game for Nashville to break out. They will need their big guns to step up. They are are 11-1-2 when Filip Forsberg scores, 11-2-2 when James Neal scores, and 8-0-0 when Ryan Johansen scores this season.

Following his first career hat trick Saturday afternoon against Florida, Viktor Arvidsson is now the team’s leading goal scorer with 18 goals. Johansen remains the team’s leading scorer (9G, 31A - 40), while Arvidsson has moved into second (18G, 20A - 38). Roman Josi has goals in consecutive games and six points in his last six games.

Reasons to Watch

  1. Viktor Arvidsson
  2. If the 7-4 beatdown the Panthers dished out yesterday is still fresh in your mind, perhaps the quick turn around will take your mind off of it?
  3. I got nothin’

Sights and Sounds

Puck drop is set for 5 p.m. You can catch it on Fox Sports TN or Fox Sports Go. As always, you can listen to 102.5 the Game with Pete Weber and Brent Peterson calling the game.