Preds and Stars meet in crucial matchup in Smashville
by Jackson Walsh
After a thrilling, and undefeated, roller coaster ride of a road trip, the Nashville Predators come back home to the Tire Barn, Bridgestone Arena, to host the Dallas Stars. The final of four meetings between the two teams, in which Nashville has the advantage 2-1 after winning 5-2 on December 5, 2017 at American Airlines Center, has a say in both teams respective standingin the Western Conference playoff hunt.
Dallas is currently a playoff bound team and a bit better than the Avalanche, whom the Preds beat Sunday and are on the outside looking in. Dallas (37-23-5, 79 points) sitsin the first Western Conference WildCard spot, but we all want to place better, right? They are two points behind Minnesota (37-22-7, 81 points) for the golden third spot in the Central. Though, it could be argued, that it is a better fate to be in the 1st Wild Card spot and likely have to face the Las Vegas Golden Knights (42-18-5, 89 points), whom the Stars have beaten once this season over the Jets, whom they are 0-2 against. If ever there was a year to fall back a spot, this might be it.
The Predators (42-14-9, 93 points), of course, lead the Central division by a 6 point margin over the Winnipeg Jets (39-17-9, 89 points). The Jets are one of those hot streaky teams that Nashville hopes they can continue to top this late in the season.
It’s always a fast-paced, typically high scoring matchup between these two Southern hockey teams. The offense led by Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin look to be on point as usual, and the strong team play notably on the second and third lines for the Preds, in whatever configuration they appear, look to buzz around the Dallas goal and welcome Mike Fisher back to Smashville with a great big beautiful W.
Photo credit: NHL.com