Stars, Predators each looking for a spark Tuesday
- Francis named GM of expansion Seattle
- Police say Greg Johnson's death suicide
- Avalanche lock up F Compher for 4 years
- Red Wings re-sign D Hicketts for 2 years
- Capitals' Ovechkin to make trip to China
Two teams searching for answers -- the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators -- meet on Tuesday for the fifth and final time in regular season in Dallas for a key Central Division dustup.
The Stars have picked up at least a point in each of the four previous games with Nashville this season, winning twice and losing the other two games in overtime, most recently a 3-2 loss in Tennessee on Feb. 7.
Dallas (29-24-5, 63 points) returns to the ice after losing 3-0 in Carolina on Saturday and ending a five-game road trip 1-3-1 and with back-to-back shutout losses to league-leading Tampa Bay and the Hurricanes, one of the hottest teams in the NHL.
After getting walloped 6-0 by the Lightning on Thursday, Dallas expected to be better in Carolina -- and it was. The Stars played well enough to win at times on Saturday, making the plays they needed except for finding the net.
"Our identity is to defend well and outwork the other teams," Dallas center Tyler Seguin said after the loss in Carolina. "Our defending has slipped a little bit the last couple games. You got to tip your hat to Tampa. Tonight, obviously, wasn't the start we wanted. We can't score zero goals in the game, especially on the road."
Scoring goals is the name of the game, and Dallas' offense has abandoned it at times this season, especially when falling behind. When the Hurricanes lit the lamp twice in the first period on Saturday -- with both of the tallies coming off turnovers by Dallas' top line -- the Stars got into a bit of desperation mode never really recovered.
Dallas needs to make a statement in its next three games, all of them at home, beginning Tuesday versus Nashville, continuing on Thursday against red-hot St. Louis and on Saturday in a rematch with Carolina.
"I like the way we're playing," Dallas coach Jim Montgomery told NHL.com. "We're playing consistently hard, we're playing together, and we're playing for each other. When teams do that, they continue to get better, and they climb the standings."
The Predators (34-22-5, 73 points) head into Big D on the heels of sobering 5-1 loss Saturday in Las Vegas, Nashville's fourth defeat in five games since beating Dallas in overtime at home earlier this month. The Golden Knights outshot Nashville 24-7 in the second period while taking over the game.
"It wasn't a good game," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said afterward. "We were outdone in a lot of areas, and the score reflected that. The second period is, for me, unexplainable. That's back-to-back second periods where we just didn't show up."
The setback in Sin City was predicated by allowing 50 shots to the Golden Knights. Nashville was all but run off the ice over the first two periods, as Vegas peppered Predators netminder Juuse Saros with 41 of those shots while taking a 2-0 lead.
"We have to look at it," Nashville captain Roman Josi said. "It's been happening too much that we play a good first and come out in the second flat and don't play well at all. We're capable of playing a lot better, and we have to fix it."
Kevin Fiala score Nashville's only goal early in the third period to give the visitors some hope, but two Vegas scores down the stretch finalized the loss.
The Predators were again woeful on the power play against Vegas, failing to score on all three chances, and dropping to 3-for-54 with the man advantage since Jan. 10.
"I'm going to work on it constantly; on the ice, in the room, on the video," Laviolette said. "It's not working."
--Field Level Media
Updated February 18, 2019