Power Play: Dallas is a very good team and made Nashville look silly
The Predators were outright embarrassed by the Stars on New Years' Eve in Dallas. While it looked like things could go their way with an early Craig Smith goal in the second, Dallas scored five unanswered to slap Nashville right in the mouth.
Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Patrick Sharp are just as dangerous as you think
When your top line contains two of the top three scorers in the NHL, you know you have a pretty decent line to compete against any other across the league. In the case of Benn, Seguin and Sharp, the trip have combined for 129 points already in 38 games prior to Thursday nights contest between the Stars and Predators.
Just for a bit of comparison, Nashville's Roman Josi, Shea Weber, Filip Forsberg, Mike Ribeiro and James Neal have combined for 128 points cumulatively.
It takes six players from the Predators roster to eclipse what only one line can do for Dallas. That's just an insane thing to read, let alone watch.
Seeing the trio on ice, you almost feel that every time they're deployed they could finagle some type of goal by what has to be utter wizardry. If an opponent stops Benn, he'll simply dump the puck off to Seguin. If Seguin is stopped, he'll dump the puck off to Sharp. And Sharp? He could just easily pass it back to Klingberg on the blue line who is just as dangerous.
Nashville had its hands full early and often against the dangerous top line of Dallas, allowing three goals and five points to the dynamic trio -- enduring more than their fair share of opportunities against across the full 60 minutes.
Speaking of the Stars, they can change their fate just as quickly
The Predators held the lead for all of 91 seconds during the second period after Craig Smith's opening goal.
Less than five minutes later, Dallas would jump on top of Nashville with a nearly unrealistic sequence that found Predators players sprawled everywhere on the ice and Stars center Mattias Janmark roofing a puck over Pekka Rinne for a 2-1 lead.
That's how the Stars have operated all year long -- especially in the second period. Dallas is second-best in the NHL with a +12 goal differential in the middle frame. Nashville? Simply a +1.
Even with the most dangerous line in the NHL, it seems like anyone can score on the drop of a dime for the Stars. Case and point with Janmark.
You can't commit egregious turnovers against a team like Dallas
Twice on Thursday night did the Stars capitalize on extremely rough turnovers by Nashville in scenarios where they really would live to have those opportunities back when they review the film on this game later.
Finding himself in trouble for the first time during the game, Mattias Ekholm turned the puck over to Jamie Benn during the second which lead to Benn rifling a shot past Rinne into what appeared to be about two centimeters worth of goalmouth space to tie the game at one.
Later during the third period, Ekholm again found himself in a whole heap of bad juju when he tried to dump the puck behind Rinne and around the boards, only to be intercepted by Jason Spezza who fed the puck to a waiting Patrick Eaves who sniped it past Rinne to make it 3-1.
To succeed against a team like Dallas, you can't find yourself in a position where the puck can find its way to an opposing player -- as the Stars will light you up like a Christmas tree outside Rockefeller Center. Not only that, but Dallas is the top-scoring team in the league by nearly 20 goals.
Nashville found that out the hard way in its first game against the Stars this season. It won't be the last time they face them and I'm sure they won't forget the errors they made.
Plus, it's not especially great when you outshoot your competition and can only muster one measly goal to your opponent's five.
Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars -- Two goals for Seguin to bring his point total up to 50 on the season. He may not eclipse his linemate Benn, however he's just as deadly as his counterpart. Both goals were absolute beauties that showcased exactly what a true elite center can do to a team's lineup.
Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars -- Adding a goal and an assist to his point total, Benn's up to 52 points on the season and stays just a handful behind Patrick Kane for the league lead. Benn started the scoring for Dallas with a laser of a shot past Rinne and assisted on Seguin's second goal of the night.
Jason Spezza, Dallas Stars -- The center who spurned the Predators just one season ago burnt Nashville twice on the evening, feeding both Janmark and Seguin in back-to-back goals for the Stars.