The Preds were overrun on Friday, with a strong start followed by a prolonged collapse. The Avalanche have good coaching, but they were also still missing some key players; it’s not the performance any of us would have liked to have seen. The Preds failed to maintain zone time or really much of anything else, getting out to a 2-0 lead before allowing three unanswered goals.
The Dallas Stars, unlike the Avalanche, are not missing several key players to injury. They’re at the top of the Central thanks to good all-around play: good offense, good defense, good special teams, okay shooting, great goaltending. Some of these things are lukewarm, but they have no real salient weakness, and that counts for a lot.
Jason Robertson has been a force to be reckoned with. The young forward leads the Stars’ offense with 24 goals and 26 assists, a scorching 50 points in just 35 games. Roope Hintz, Joe Pavelski, and Jamie Benn have also been significant contributors, with Miro Heiskanen racking up the assists on defense.
Jake Oettinger has been very solid in goal, with a season sv% of .919, and Scott Wedgewood has a very respectable .910 as backup. Between the goalies and the Stars’ defense they have allowed remarkably few goals so far this year; the Preds will need to work hard to change that.
The Stars’ power play is an even bigger challenge. The Preds have struggled with player discipline for the last few seasons, which means not only do they risk earning penalties, they’ve lost much of the benefit of the doubt on ambiguous calls. Dallas will make them pay; their power play has an impressive conversion rate which could easily be higher, given the offensive barrage that a Stars skater advantage is.
Still, with hard work, discipline, and puck luck, this is a winnable game, and if the Preds can pull it off they’ll have a lot to be proud of.
How to Watch
The game airs at 7PM Central/8PM Eastern on Bally Sports South and 102.5 The Game.