Nashville traveled to Dallas after a disappointing outing Thursday night at home, here’s what happened.
The Predators would start the period off trying to recover from the mistake-filled Thursday night loss, and would get a chance early when Radek Faksa was called for interference against Yakov Trenin with 16:30 remaining. However, anything that could’ve gone wrong in the power play, did go wrong. The Stars would pick Josi’s pocket and Roope Hintz would take the puck all the way and beat Saros to give the Stars an early 1-0 lead.
The penalty still wasn’t over, despite the shorthanded goal, and before the power play expired, Cody Glass would be called for hooking and sent to the box. From there, Nashville would struggle to maintain possession of the puck, and the Stars would control the puck for the majority of the period. Nino Niederreiter would get several chances but came away empty-handed, as the Predators fought to maintain some sort of momentum, but unfortunately the Stars would be up to the task.
Much like Thursday night’s loss, costly giveaways and bad passing would keep the Predators stuck in the mud, and the period would come to a close with the Stars in a 1-0 lead.
With a 1 goal deficit still in the realm of “manageable” for the Predators, the start of the second took less than a minute to go south. Tanner Jeannot would force a takeaway from the Stars, but seconds later more mistakes would sink the Predator’s hope as Roope Hintz and Joe Pavelski would execute on some crisp, precise passing and get Saros out of position. Hintz notched his second goal of the game with 19:21 remaining, and the specter of Thursday’s awful play threatened to return once again.
A couple of minutes later, Nashville would finally get another chance at the powerplay, this time hoping that Dallas wouldn’t score again shorthanded. After an ineffective first unit struggled to get anything going, the Stars would take a rebound from Cody Glass the other way and score, taking a 3-0 lead before the Predators challenged for offside, which was easily overturned and the score would remain 2-0 and Nashville would avoid disaster - for now.
After the power play, Dante Fabbro and Ty Dellandrea would get called for an odd hooking and holding the stick penalty, and both teams would move to 4 on 4. But as time ticked down, Miro Heiskanen would score, sending the Dallas Stars to a 3-0 lead, and the Predators appeared to be completely flustered and outplayed.
Nashville would get the next seven consecutive shot attempts, but the final one - a Matt Duchene shot off the post - would end with a hooking penalty on Duchene. The Canadian center would be furious at the call, and after the tv break, we’d find out that Duchene received a 10 minute game misconduct for “abuse of the officials”. (Author’s note: If you heard something from Sumner County after that call, it was my eyes rolling out of my head)
However the Preds would survive the next several minutes of back and forth play and a Ryan Suter (boooooooo) interference call on Filip Forsberg behind the play would the Preds on their third power play with just 3:42 remaining.
Midway through the power play, Colin Miller would get called for tripping on Niederreiter, and the Preds would get a chance at 5 on 3. As the original penalty on Suter expired, Niederreiter finally got Nashville on the board behind an incredibly patient and accurate pass from Mikael Granlund, and signs of life for Nashville have started to appear, cutting the Dallas lead to 3-1. Back at even strength, not much anything would happen either way, and the Predators would head to the locker room with a glimmer of hope - but not too much.
After clawing their way back into the game with a Niederreiter power play goal in the second, the Predators started the third period with plans on creating another 3-1 comeback story. The Predators would get a handful of decent chances early, but play in the defensive zone once again was lacking. Nashville would get a few defensive stops, but turnovers in the center of the ice kept several Dallas possessions alive. Nashville’s forecheck regained some sense of swagger, slowing down the Dallas Stars transition game just two minutes into the period. However, Dallas would win a faceoff near the Nashville blue line, and Saros would be forced to make a couple of saves before the Preds would eventually get a clear.
The clear didn’t amount to anything (sense a trend tonight?) and Nashville’s offense would once again go one-and-done in the OZ. The poor play would be immediately be rewarded with a Jason Robertson goal off of some nifty passes and Saros was nowhere near the puck, and Dallas takes a 4-1 lead.
After the goal, it was more of the same for the Predators. Offensive possessions were short and infrequent, and Nashville played on their heels again for several minutes. Niederreiter would create a turnover but Dante Fabbro broke his stick on a shot attempt and the puck headed the other way. However, the offense seemed to wake up a bit, and Johansen would see the team’s second goal bounce off the post with twelve minutes remaining.
Unfortunately, Dallas’ would go into “protect the lead” mode, and despite Nashville getting a handful of decent-looking chances, it would be nothing doing for the Predators. Both teams would continue to test the goaltenders, but although Nashville would get more chances, the scoreboard remained at 4-1 late into the period.
With minutes left in the game, Coach Hynes would pull Juuse Saros in an attempt to get anything at all on the board, despite the game being essentially over. Nashville would finally be able to maintain possession for a minute or so before Mason Marchment would pick up an empty net goal, his third against the Predators early this season and the Predators once again would leave this Central Division matchup completely outworked and outclassed. The elusive “win on American soil” would have to wait once again, and the Predators would fall to 2-2-0 early in the 2022-23 campaign.
(My) Three Stars of the Game
First Star: Roope Hintz - 2 goals, 1 assist - 3 points
Second Star: Jason Robertson - 1 goal, 2 assists - 3 points
Third Star: Jake Oetttinger - 29/30 (96.7% save percentage), 25/25 at even strength