Dallas Stars 4, Nashville Predators 1: Preds lose 5th straight, again

The Nashville Predators have now lost five games in a row, and ten out of their last thirteen, after being routed by the Dallas Stars tonight 4-1. Erik Cole scored twice for the Stars, one of nine Dallas players to earn at least one point. Kevin Klein scored the lone goal for Nashville, which is being left behind in the Central Division as Winnipeg beat Minnesota earlier this evening.

Carter Hutton made 30 saves and wasn't really the cause of the Preds' woes. Kari Lehtonen simply made more saves (33) at his end of the ice, and the Predators couldn't capitalize on the opportunities they did create. This marks the second time recently that the Preds have hit a 5-game skid, the most recent coming from 11/28-12/7.

Nashville (16-18-4) heads home immediately for a game against the Los Angeles Kings tomorrow night.

Random Observations

  • The Predators have given up a goal in the first 3 minutes of four of their last five games. Pro tip: that's not a good way to start. In fact, the Preds fell to 3-17-2 after giving up the first goal in a game, the worst winning percentage in the NHL for those situations.
  • That goal was interesting on a couple levels. Barry Trotz complained that Tyler Seguin slew footed Victor Bartley into Hutton, leaving him unable to make a save, but that looked like a basic battle for position there, no foul. Watch the replay of that goal, however, and it looks like #16 Ryan Garbutt knocks Kevin Klein's skate out from behind to start the whole play. It didn't look like a deliberate slew foot to me, but it just shows how even a momentary loss of position can lead to big trouble.
  • Shortly before Klein scored by cutting down towards the net for a back-door pass, Bartley tried a very similar play and coughed up a 3-on-1 break the other way. Relying on your defense for goal-scoring does entail risk...
  • Erik Cole's second goal was a combination of soft hands, patience with the puck, and awful defense by Bartley.
  • With his assist tonight, Ryan Ellis is tied with Roman Josi & Seth Jones for 2nd place among Nashville D in scoring (11 points), but with about half their ice time. You'd think a team with such offensive woes would find a few extra shifts for a guy like that.
  • Colin Wilson is still having trouble generating shots, as he now has just three in his last six games (tonight was his second in a row without any shots).
  • Another Too Many Men penalty! I'm looking forward to the end-of-season highlight reel recapping all of these.
  • The "Predator of the Game" poll below is completely tongue-in-cheek, but Patric Hornqvist and Shea Weber really stood out as guys trying to make a difference tonight under trying circumstances. This team just isn't very good.

Central Standings

Chicago 40 27 7 6 60
St. Louis 36 24 7 5 53
Colorado 37 23 11 3 49
Minnesota 40 20 15 5 45
Dallas 36 18 12 6 42
Winnipeg 40 17 18 5 39
Nashville 38 16 18 4 36

(updated 12.27.2013 at 10:00 PM CST)

Boxscore - Game Summary - Event Summary - Fancy Stats

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Who was your Predator of the Game?

Rich Clune15
Amy Jones95