Falling Stars aim to stay alive in clash with Preds
The floundering Dallas Stars desperately need a win to stay afloat in the Western Conference playoff race and they'll shoot for that victory tonight against the playoff-bound Predators at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena.
The Stars, who have lost their last three games in regulation and are 3-7 in their last 10 trips to the ice, enter tonight with little margin for error in the playoff race.
Dallas is three points behind San Jose for the conference's eighth and final postseason berth with two games remaining for both teams. The Sharks are playing tonight in Los Angeles, while Phoenix, which is four points ahead of Dallas, is off tonight ahead of Friday's game against St. Louis. The Coyotes also have two games left in the regular season.
The Stars failed to gain a single point in their recent home-and-home series with San Jose, losing 3-0 in San Jose on Saturday before dropping a 5-2 decision in Tuesday's matchup in Dallas. Logan Couture scored the game-winning goal late in the second period for the Sharks.
Brenden Morrow and Alex Goligoski scored for the Stars, while Kari Lehtonen was tagged for four goals on 25 shots.
"We just didn't execute," Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan said. "We had things set up, but we didn't execute. There were a few things during the game that we could have done better."
Dallas is mired in a 1-for-21 slump on the man advantage and getting the power play back on track could help the Stars return to the win column.
The Stars, who are 20-18-2 as the guest this year, are playing their final road test of the regular season tonight. Dallas will complete its schedule Saturday against St. Louis.
Dallas forward Radek Dvorak has missed the last five games with a sprained ankle and is questionable for tonight.
Nashville has already locked up a playoff spot, but the Predators can still finish anywhere from fourth to sixth in the West. Nashville is currently the fifth seed and is one point behind Detroit and two in front of sixth- seeded Chicago. The Red Wings play tonight against New Jersey while the Blackhawks face the Minnesota Wild. All three teams have two games left in the regular season.
The Predators won for the fourth time in six games on Tuesday, edging the visiting Wild in a shootout. Alexander Radulov netted the lone goal in the shootout to lift Nashville to the 2-1 decision at Bridgestone Arena.
Radulov faked and went to the forehand to lift the puck over Niklas Backstrom's pad, just inside the left post. Anders Lindback, who had 25 saves, then stacked his pads to stop Devin Setoguchi's attempt for his first shootout victory.
Gabriel Bourque scored in the second period for the Predators, who will close their regular season Saturday at Colorado. Nashville is 25-10-5 at home this year compared to 21-16-3 on the road.
Dallas has taken two of three from the Predators this year and four of six overall. The Stars have also claimed three of their last four contests in the Music City.