Dallas Stars 3, Nashville Predators 2: Preds, Missing Stars, Miss Stars

The final regular season game of the year goes to the Dallas Stars, who win the Division & Conference. The Preds now await their 1st round opponent.

With several important players resting tonight, including Shea Weber, Roman Josi, and Pekka Rinne, the Nashville Predators missed out on a chance to beat the Dallas Stars in their home finale. Jason Spezza's hat-trick carried the Stars to a 3-2 win, even though the Preds played well throughout. For a game that the Preds didn't need and that the Stars did, the momentum was with the Preds most of the night. But the Stars did Starsy things.

Ryan Ellis got it all started with an absolute rocket. Before the Stars fans could pull out their phones to check the Blues-Caps score, the Preds were up 1-0. Nashville dominated possession in the first half of the game, eventually going up 2-0 in the 2nd period on a power-play goal from Calle Jarnkrok.

But then the Stars got two quick goals from Jason Spezza, the 2nd one on the power-play. The Preds had to weather the storm going into the 3rd period, but eventually got back to bothering the Stars' defense in their own zone. The Preds had some chances to take the lead late in the 3rd, but instead that's what the Stars did: Spezza finalized his hat-trick and that sealed the deal. They win the Central and the Western Conference regular season title.

My suggestion from here on out would be to find a happy place that you can retreat to at a moment's notice. A quiet location where you can center yourself, find balance, do some yoga, be at peace with your existence, etc.

Because playoffs.

Random Observations

  • Welcome to Game 82, where the lines are made up and result doesn't matter (for the Preds). Not much to think of the line combos tonight, but it is fun to see Ellis & Ekholm as the top pairing. And it didn't take long for Ellis to make an impact, as he scores 19 seconds in! Just like last time in Dallas, Ellis gets the Preds on the board first.
  • More on Ellis's goal: HOT DAMN that was a shot. Absolutely clobbered that puck. Like it hurt his feelings or something.
  • Preds with some altered special teams (especially the power-play) but, again, it doesn't mean much. Would be nice to see someone like Colton Sissons get some PP time. He has the skills to make some noise there.
  • Fun things that happened in the 2nd period: Austin Watson had a breakaway and just about split the defense. Viktor Arvidsson had one as well, but lost the puck trying to deke Niemi. Johansen showed some stick skills to get the Preds a 5-on-3, which they turned into a 2 goal lead when Jarnkrok roofed a rebound by Niemi. James Neal plastered Antoine Roussel.
  • Preds feeding Forsberg, trying to get him goal #34. He's had some chances. He hit the post on the power-play in the 2nd. Don't know if he will see much time in the 3rd, with not much to play for.
  • Jason Spezza's (first) goal was not Craig Smith's finest defensive moment.
  • Jason Spezza's (second) goal was not Craig Smith's finest defensive moment either, having tripped Radek Faksa and getting sent to the penalty box.
  • Carter Hutton has played just fine. He's doing what he needs to do: stop the low and medium risk shots and try really hard to stop the high risk shots. He's made some great stops in the 3rd period to keep the game tied.
  • Stars get a 3rd goal. Spezza with a hat-trick. Oh well.

OTF's Super Duper Stars of the Game

  • Ryan Ellis: a laser goal that gave him a career high for goals in a season (10).
  • James Neal: assisted on Jarnkrok's goal, generated 5 shots on goal. And that hit on Roussel was a monster.
  • Calle Jarnkrok: Nice finish on the 2nd goal, for his 16th of the year. The Preds need guys that can finish the dirty goals in the playoffs, with Jarny can do. /

Tweets of the Night

Boxscore - Game Summary - Event Summary - War-on-Ice - HockeyStats - Natural Stat Trick

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