The Dallas Stars paid a visit to Bridgestone Arena for a preview of the upcoming Winter Classic. The Stars biggest news is the recent surprise firing of former head coach Jim Montgomery due to “unprofessional conduct inconsistent with the core values and beliefs of the Dallas Stars”. Tonight’s game was the 3rd for interim Coach Rick Bowness. The Stars have picked up 3 of 4 points possible since Bowness took over. Their most recent game was the night before and resulted in an over time loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Predators are coming off a road loss to the Buffalo Sabres. The Predators sent Daniel Carr back down to Milwaukee while calling Colin Blackwell up. The team has been cycling through forwards from the AHL club since Viktor Arvidsson’s injury and especially during the Kyle Turris nonsense in order to find an offensive spark that is also defensively responsible. Yakov Trenin, as well as Colin Blackwell, would hit the ice for Nashville as Mikael Granlund was scratched due to a lower body injury. Mattias Ekholm was ill and did not play.
The first period started out slow with the Dallas Stars playing solid defense and allowing the Predators the opportunity to do little more than dump the puck in and take point shots.
The Stars are pressing the hell out of the #Preds right now. And the passing and skating lanes are all clogged up.— Alex Daugherty (@AlexDaugherty1) December 14, 2019
This feels familiar.
After a decent flurry of activity in front of Anton Khudobin, Craig Smith was called for high-sticking Esa Lindell and took a seat in the penalty box. The penalty expired without incident and play continued.
With around 5 minutes left in the first, Matt Irwin was sent to the penalty box for slashing. It was, of course, Corey Perry that drew the penalty, so take that as it is. Despite the Stars nearly doubling their shot on goal count, the penalty was killed off. Soon after, the Predators had several high-quality chances in front of the Dallas net, generated by the second line. The period ended with no score.
The second period started with a spark as Dante Fabbro wired a shot that hit the post. The rebound was rifled in from the blue line by Dan Hamhuis and tipped in by Austin Watson, putting the Predators up 1-0.
Soon after, Matt Irwin received an illegal check to the head from Andrew Cogliano and the Predators found themselves on the power play for the first time. Blake Comeau was able to track down a mishandled pass to Roman Josi to score short-handed and even things up for the Stars. Around a minute later, Roope Hintz was able to put the Stars ahead 2-1 when he took control of shot from Justin Dowling that had been knocked down.
That would've also been a time to settle things down and call timeout... But... Nah... F it.#Preds— Greg Moshopoulos (@GreekGoalie35) December 15, 2019
The next several minutes of the period were rash with what can best be described as sloppy, frustrated play by the Predators. Things seemed to calm down and the team seemed to get their heads cool enough to play and get some solid chances, but the little momentum that had been built was ended when Jamie Oleksiak found the back of the net with an assist from Alexander Radulov, putting the Stars up 3-1. Corey Perry very nearly made it 4-1, but the puck drifted just wide of the net.
I’m dreaming of shots from the net-front...— Rachel K (@_RKH80) December 15, 2019
It wasn’t long before the Stars were up 4-1 as Andrew Cogliano cleaned up his own rebound after a bout of sloppy play on behalf of the Predators. The sloppiness continued with a series of offsides calls, bad passes, and point shots that Khudobin could see coming a mile away.
Just can't believe Khudobin can see those shots coming from the blue line with no screens! How does he do it?— Shaun C. Smith (@SCSOTF) December 15, 2019
(yeah, it’s my own tweet) The period ended mercifully without further scoring with the Stars leading 4-1.
The third period offered a chance for the Predators to redeem themselves after the sloppy second period. However, after 6 minutes, it did not look good. Granted, the Stars didn’t add to their lead, but the Predators hadn’t done anything to close the gap.
All of a sudden it’s not really Kyle Turris’ fault, or Mikael Granlund’s fault, or Kevin Fiala’s fault, or *insert literally any players name here whose game died when they played for the preds*— #firelaviolette (@PredsandStuff) December 15, 2019
With around 10 minutes left, Andrew Cogliano made contact with Pekka Rinne’s head and found himself in the penalty box. The penalty expired without incident and the Predators continued to play frustrated. The Predators continued to enter the zone and take shots from the wall and amassed a large number of shots on goal that failed to convert.
With a few minutes left in the game, Jamie Oleksiak interfered with Calle Jarnkrok and put the Predators on the power play once more. Halfway through the power play, Pekka Rinne headed to the bench to give the Predators a two man advantage. The penalty expired outwith incident. Play finally expired with the Predators losing 4-1.
Men of the Match (I didn’t want to say stars)
3rd Man - Austin Watson redirected a shot for a goal.
2nd Man - Dan Hamhuis is the one who took the shot.
Best Man - Left blank intentionally