Nashville Predators vs. Dallas Stars Preview: The Parade Lap
Just have fun out there.
This game doesn't matter at all to us, but it definitely matters to the Stars. Deep the in dark, poured concrete buildings of the grey world called the "Midwest", middle-aged couples stand by their computers awaiting the results of tonight's game. The hotels have been scouted, and likely already booked with cancellation clauses already added. They're going to drink, swear, and probably challenge children to fights in the streets and concourses later this month, the only question is: Where?
Yes, Dallas wants to win this game much like Minnesota probably wants Dallas to win this game, so Chicago and St. Louis can fight each other like it's baseball season or something.
The Dallas Stars
By now, you know who these guys are. They're good, they're fast, they score a bunch of goals, and they're a nightmare at home against the Predators. The Preds have struggled mightily against the Stars in the DFW as of late, and tonight is a game the Stars want badly. A win tonight ensures the division for Dallas, and will pit them against the Minnesota Wild in the first round. And we should accept this matchup.
Firstly, anything that makes a playoff series vs. Minnesota viable is a great achievement. Dallas would do so, much like that boxing episode of the Simpsons when Homer fought against Mike Tyson. But more importantly, it gets the Blues vs. Blackhawks series in the first round.
I make a lot of analogies with other sports, so here's one for you kids out there: The Dallas Stars are much like a Nolan Richardson or Dr. Tom Davis coached basketball team. Both coaches believed in constantly pressing the opponent and forcing them to constantly move the ball around to the point of exhaustion and frustration. That's the basketball version of the Dallas Stars. They play a style that's tough to prepare for if you only see them once every 2 weeks or so. But in a playoff series where you're going to see it over and over, a good team with the right type of defensemen can adjust.
Dallas has shown they can beat Chicago, and hold their own against. St. Louis in the regular season. If you have an active defense against Dallas, they can exploit it. They play for the breakaway, and all of their defensemen look for the stretch pass like Jason Kidd did for the Mavericks after a steal. Here's the result:
After watching that, we have a strong accord for tonight.
The Nashville Predators
The Preds are playing Carter Hutton.
The last thing we need for Pekka Rinne is a Stars team playing at 100% and trying to avoid Chicago like the plague vs. a Nashville team that's just trying to stay healthy. This year's playoffs and the potential to make a run will rest on Pekka Rinne, who has not performed up to his own standard during the regular season. None of that will matter if Rinne gets going again, and this team goes on a run. But if he falters in the playoffs, and gets scorched in April again... we'll get even more tired of defending Pekka Rinne as a fanbase. We love the guy, but some substance from the big fella would be great to fall back on after the year he has had.
Other than that, it would be cool to see 1/3 of the Admirals play tonight. It won't happen, but we can dream. But please, stay healthy. If anyone in the top-nine is blocking a shot with the body, bench him.
Some roster stuff:
Mike Fisher, Shea Weber, Mike Ribeiro, Pekka Rinne and Roman Josi will all sit out tonight's regular-season finale at Dallas.— KWilsonPreds (@KWilsonPreds) April 9, 2016
The @PredsNHL recall Corey Potter (regular) and Marek Mazanec (emergency) from @mkeadmirals https://t.co/cvpjeVglOL— KWilsonPreds (@KWilsonPreds) April 9, 2016
Reasons to Watch
- Filip Forsberg and James Neal will have one last shot at Jason Arnott (pronounced "ARE-NOT") and his 33 goal record. Forsberg has already tied it, but Neal has more hate in his game than a corgi has smiles. Respect the heel. Always.
- We have no idea who Dallas will play in net during the playoffs.
- It's way too cold to enjoy a Sounds game at the park. And that's a bummer.
Drink of Choice for Game Time
I haven't done one of these this year. I'm having some red blends tonight that I smuggled across the border from Kentucky, including the Bourbon Barrel Red from Old 502 Winery. I'm pairing this with some Italian bread, French brie, and some strawberry preserves. It's delicious.