(Photo courtesy of zimbio.com)
The Dallas Stars closed out their three game home stand with a win over Pacific Division rival the San Jose Sharks. This game started out slow, but things quickly picked up in the second period when Jamie Benn and Joe Thornton decided to drop the gloves, instantly energizing the Stars and the fans. Benn would also get an assist and goal late in the third giving him the "Gordie Howe Hat Trick". Dallas would also pick up a couple of power play goals from Jagr and Ryder finally giving life to a sub-par power play. The Stars backup goalie Cristopher Nilstorp would stop 31 of 32 shots earning his first NHL win.
The Dallas Stars hit the road to Nashville to take on an offensively challenged Predator team, the Preds are currently last in the NHL for goals per game at 2.0. With Kari Lehtonen out with a groin injury, the Stars have had their own share of struggles having lost two of their last three home games. However, the Stars have had some offensive consistency from Jaromir Jagr, Michael Ryder, and Jamie Benn, who lead the team in scoring. Looks like the Stars could be without defensemen Trevor Daley (neck), and Aaron Rome (foot), Philip Larsen (head injury) are both out. The Stars have recalled defensemen Jamie Oleksiak and 6'3" 210lbs defensemen Carl Sneep who could possibly make his debut for Dallas.
Now to some keys for Dallas Stars' road win over Nashville. When you think of the Nashville Predators you typically think of these names: Shea Weber, Martin Erat, Mike Fisher and Pekka Rinne. Pay particular attention to Colin Wilson. He leads the Predators in goals and assists. Colin currently ranks fifth in points behind names like Zetterburg, Crosby, Voracek in the month February.
The key to tonight's game will be primarily in the Stars' defenses' ability to shut down Wilson, Weber, Fisher, and Erat. In addition, they need to use the momentum gained from beating the Sharks and take it on the road. Finally, I like the change the Stars did last game by putting a forward on the point during the power play. Putting a forward at the point on the power play seemed to add a punch and generate more shots on goal during the man advantage. The Predators are (4-2-3) at home, while the Stars are (5-5-0) on the road, hopefully the Dallas can improve this record. (The video below is the scrap between Thornton and Benn).