Two ugly regulation losses to open the season has quickly been made up for as the Nashville Predators beat the Dallas Stars for their 2nd-straight win.
This early tilt with the Stars is an important one. The Central Division figures to be murderers’ row yet again, and the Stars are expected to bounce back from a dismal performance last season. A high-scoring affair is something you can plan for with these two teams, but only one team lived up to that expectation.
Slow starts are becoming a common theme for the Nashville Predators, and this game was no different. The Predators spotted the Stars an early goal just eight minutes into the first period, forcing to them to play from behind again. A goal from Jamie Benn on the power play put the high-powered offense of the Stars up early.
You don’t want to fall behind against a potent offense like the Stars have. We know the Predators have plenty of offensive firepower of their own, but they have to stop falling behind early in games. It messes with you psychologically and drastically lowers your chances of getting two points.
Shot totals favored Dallas at 12-10 in the first, so both goaltenders were fairly busy. Just one goal on the board at the first intermission is somewhat surprising for these two teams.
You have to be proud about how the Predators respond to deficits. This game is another example of that as the 2nd period saw momentum swing the other way. The first goal of the 19-year-old Samuel Girard‘s NHL career tied the game at 1-1. Less than three minutes after Girard’s goal, Filip Forsberg put the Predators on top 2-1 via the power play. The Stars amassed 14 penalty minutes on the night.
The goal from Girard will have people talking all week. He’s generating a lot of buzz about how the front office should handle him and how long they should keep him at the NHL level. As for Forsberg, the tiebreaking goal gives him four over the first four games. Obviously his current pace will come back down to Earth, but 40 goals is very realistic.
Pekka Rinne stopped 10 shots to keep Dallas off the board in the 2nd period. Holding Dallas scoreless in any period is an impressive feat.
Rinne stayed sharp in the third period to hold off Dallas and all of their lethal scorers. The Predators kept the aggression up as well. It’s something you have to do against high-scoring teams.
A gorgeous pass from Forsberg set up Viktor Arvidsson to pad the lead at 3-1. The pass made for a breakaway opportunity for Arvidsson, and he didn’t waste the it. How many times have we seen the old Predators teams blow opportunities like that? It’s nice to see the JOFA line contributing so quickly in the young season.
At 3-1, the Predators really clamped defensively. The Stars managed just 31 shots all game, which isn’t a lot for this team. A major push from Dallas never really culminated after the Arvidsson goal. Comfortable wins don’t seem to ever happen in this league, but you can consider this win a relatively comfortable one for the Predators.
Chad’s Three Stars
Third Star: Pekka Rinne
We’ve been a little hard on Rinne since the Stanley Cup loss. Yes, he’s very streaky and gives us duds at times. However, he’s still the top option in goal until someone else comes along. Not sure if Juuse Saros is ready to take over. As for the Stars game, Rinne helps the Predators cruise to a rare win that didn’t require too much anxiety at the end. He finishes with 30 saves and a .968 save percentage. Not too shabby for the seasoned veteran.
Second Star: Samuel Girard
This kid is going to be so special and fun to watch. We can keep debating on how the front office should handle him, but let’s enjoy it this while we can. He still has much more he will improve on, and that’s the incredible part. His tying goal and assist gives him three points on the season in just two games played. He gets the first star from the actual game, per Preds PR:
First Star: Filip Forsberg
My first star goes to Forsberg. He’s proving himself the unquestioned leader. His set-up pass to Arvidsson for the breakaway kept the Stars out of reach. It was a clutch pass from a guy that we just think of as a scorer. Of course, you can’t look past his power play goal that put the Predators ahead for good. He now has four goals on the season, and is well on his way to 40-plus.
After two home wins, the Nashville Predators travel to Chicago to face their rival Blackhawks. Revenge will be on the brain of the NHL’s highest scoring team so far, as they look to make a statement after being swept out of the postseason. The game is on Saturday at 7:30pm Central.