at NASHVILLE PREDATORS
April 12th, 2013
7:00 p.m. CDT
TV: FOX SportSouth
Nashville leads season series 2-0
The Nashville Predators may be down and out so far as this year’s playoffs go, but the Dallas Stars are one of the few teams they’ve enjoyed repeat success against in 2013.
(15-18-8, 5th in Central)
The Preds are in a tailspin as this season draws to a close, having lost four games in a row with a roster full of injuries and call-ups.
Nashville has ridden Pekka Rinne (14-14-7, 2.29 GAA, .916 SV%) into the dirt this season, so it’s good to see that Chris Mason (1-4-1, 3.54, .866) is finally going to get some work. He hasn’t seen action since March 28th and has only played two full games this season. Some might say that spoke to the coaching staff’s lack of belief both in Mason and in the team’s roster, but such a discussion would be academic at this late point.
Others to watch
One-third of the current Nashville Predators roster is composed of players who have been called up from the Milwaukee Admirals due to injuries, so consider this game on more opportunity to do a little bit of advance scouting on future regulars. Taylor Beck (2G-4A) has slowed down a bit but still looks sharp and will probably stick. Victor Bartley (0G-3A) has stabilized the second defensive pairing alongside Kevin Klein. Chris Mueller (2G-1A) has served admirably as a Paul Gaustad replacement, and former first-round pick Austin Watson has seen time on both the power play and penalty kill.
(19-17-3, 5th in Pacific)
The Stars may have traded away Brendan Morrow, Jaromir Jagr, and Derek Roy, but they are still in the hunt for their first playoff berth since 2007-08. They currently sit 10th in the Western Conference with 41 points and a game in hand.
Jamie Benn (8G-19A) leads the Stars in scoring and has three game-winning goals on the season. With Jagr gone, Benn is now the focus of the Dallas attack.
Kari Lehtonen (14-11-2, 2.67, .916) is Dallas’ Pekka Rinne – a big Finnish goalie on whom the team has pinned its post-season hopes.
Others to watch
Loui Eriksson (10G-15A) has had another great season for the Stars, including a goal and an assist against Nashville back on February 25th.
The Dallas Stars have ample motivation to win tonight in their push for the playoffs, but the desire to get a win against a bad team that has owned them this season will probably be a factor, too. Put that together with a bruised and battered Nashville Predators squad that’s starting its backup goalie for the first time in weeks, and this one looks on paper like it should be an easy Dallas win.