The Predators beat down the Stars 7-3 tonight, keeping their chances at the 3rd or 7th seed alive for the time being. It was a dominating win by the Preds, who jumped out to a 4-0 lead and, despite a brief rally by the Stars in the 2nd period, never looked back.
It was a completely different 1st period than the last two games. The Preds were dominant from the opening face-off. Viktor Arvidsson scored his 30th goal of the year on a great deflection barely a minute into the game. Then, a bit later, Craig Smith scored his 11th goal of the season to make it 2-0 Preds.
The Stars made a goalie change, but it wouldn’t make much of a difference. With Antti Niemi out and Kari Lehtonen in, the Preds didn’t back off. Kevin Fiala put on a highlight reel move to make it 3-0. It was a pretty sweet goal. Then shortly afterward, Arvidsson got his second on a lucky bounce in front.
It was 4-0 at the end of the 1st period.
Harry Zolnierczyk scored early in the 2nd period to make it 5-0, but the Stars answered shortly after when Jason Spezza made it 5-1. And then they answered two more times. Radek Faksa and Jason Dickinson. So it was 5-3. Everything looked a bit tighter. Suddenly, it was a game.
The Preds were able to calm things down a bit when Roman Josi scored a power play goal to make it 6-3. But still, the flow of the game was altered significantly by the Dallas Stars actually playing hockey. Going into the 3rd period, no one was really sure what to expect.
Turns out not much. The Stars lost a lot of momentum after Josi scored, and the Preds were able to maintain enough pressure to hold the lead. Craig Smith scored his second of the night (off of John Klingberg) to make it 7-3 and that was pretty much it.
Juuse Saros had 30 saves on the night for his 10th win of the year. He played solid in the Nashville net, stopping several late deflections and denying some key opportunities when the Stars were fighting back.
In the end, this game probably doesn’t matter much. If you are the sort who really doesn’t want the Preds to play the Blackhawks in the first round, then this was an important win. But really you just wanted them to play well and they certainly did that.
Game 82 is on Saturday in Winnipeg!
- Harry Z in, Cody M out. Also Parenteau on a line with Fiala, that’s interesting.
- Taking Arvidsson off the top line? That’s not interesting. That’s just dumb.
- WOW. Arvy goes and gets his 30th anyway. What in the what? How is he so awesome?
- Preds look a lot better in this 1st period.
- Craig Smith!! He did it! He scored! Haha.
- Preds look a LOT better.
- Niemi out, Lehtonen in. This is great to see.
- OH. MAN. Kevin Fiala. What a freaking goal.
- I’m telling you, Fiala is prime for a run in the playoffs. He’s never looked more confident.
- There’s a fourth!! It’s either Arvidsson or Bitetto, depends on who they give it to. Arvy sent the puck in that deflected in off Oleksiak’s leg. Arvy did the work, but it could go to Tony.
- How has this night gone? Harry Zolnierczyk scored a top shelf deflection in front. It was kind of nuts. It’s 5-0 and not even a game at this point.
- Ok, well Spezza scores and it’s 5-1.
- So the Stars have scored two more times. It’s 5-3 and I’m not sure what I’m feeling.
- Josi gets one back. That’s important. As necessary a goal as you can have in a blowout.
- Many sighs of relief in Pred land tonight. Blowing that kind of a lead this close to the playoffs would have been devastating.
- Smith with another! Haha.
OTF’s Super Duper Stars of the Game
- Arvidsson: 4 points from this man. 2 goals, 2 assists. 61 points on the season. MVP of the team? I think so.
- Smith: 2 goals, 1 assist. He has had a rough go of it this year. Glad to see him get on the score sheet like this late in the season.
- Subban: 2 assists on the night. I keep hearing that he elevates his game in the playoffs and he is certainly trending that direction.
Tweets of the Night
VIKTOR DAMN ARVIDSSON— RJ O'Connell (@rjoconnell) April 7, 2017
What a coincidence, there's as many fans in Dallas as there will be next week. #Preds— Moshtradamus (@GreekGoalie35) April 7, 2017
The Predators haven’t scored with this much regularity since Del Zotto left town.— Jim Diamond (@diamondhockey) April 7, 2017