Nashville Predators: Hoping for a Yippie-ki-yay Christmas in Dallas

(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /

With visions of victory in their heads, the Nashville Predators travel to Dallas for a match against the Stars. It won’t be easy.

‘Twas the weekend of Christmas and all through Smashville than fans were stirring, hoping for a thrill. The Nashville Predators travel to Dallas – by plane not cars – to take on their nemesis: those pesky Stars.

For the last two games, the Predators have faltered, and lost the last three at home, the Bridgestone alter. Still, the team is among the best, and after this game, they will get some needed rest.

To say the times have been interesting for the Predators is true, but a win on the road will cure those blues. Nashville sits high in the standings, with Dallas close behind and notice demanding.

What it means

With two-points needed to keep pace with the top of the Western Conference, a win in Dallas would give the Predators three victories against the Stars. And, their second win in Dallas this season. But, the Stars own an 11-4-1 record at the American Airlines Center.

The race for Western Conference playoff spots are long from finished, but five points separate the Predators and Stars. Dallas currently sits in the first Wild Card spot, but four teams sit within three points behind them.  With 46 points on the season, the Predators sit in second place in the conference but are tied with St. Louis and Winnipeg for the Central Division.

The last time these two teams met, Murphy’s Law was in full order. The Predators scored often including first goals of the season for Cody McLeod and Pontus Aberg. Physical play will be the name of the game with the survivor earning the die-hard victory.

Kevin Fiala looks to extend his NHL-high 9-game point streak tonight. A goal would give Fiala six straight games finding the back of the net, and in nine of his last 10 games. Teammate Viktor Arvidsson is looking to add to his success against the Stars. Arvidsson has 5 goals and 5 assists against Dallas in 12 career games. The 10 points are the most against any team he has faced.

The Stars are coming off a shutout win over the Blackhawks, and have earned points in each of their last three games. However, the Stars are 0-6-0 against the Central’s top teams. With Ben Bishop in-goal tonight, who is 1-5-1 against Nashville for his career, the Stars could be in trouble.

But, if Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn continue their solid play, the Stars could change their fortune.

Predators Projected Line-up

After a rough start versus the Carolina Hurricanes, the Nashville Predators will start Pekka Rinne in-goal. Rinne was pulled after just six and a half minutes last game, allowing four early goals to Carolina. It is his worst performance in an otherwise stellar season.

Craig Smith is out of the line-up due to a lower-body injury, with Scott Hartnell taking his place. Coach Peter Laviolette looks to ignite the third line by switching Filip Forsberg and Colton Sissons.

With a physical battle to ensue, McLeod may see the ice a bit more.


Colton Sissons – Ryan Johansen – Viktor Arvidsson

Scott Hartnell – Kyle Turris – Kevin Fiala

Filip Forsberg – Calle Jarnkrok – Pontus Aberg

Cody McLeod / Miikka Salomaki – Nick Bonino – Austin Watson


Roman Josi – Mattias Ekholm

Alexei Emelin – P.K. Subban

Anthony Bitetto – Yannick Weber


Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

Next: Home Struggles Are Uncharacteristic for Predators

Where to tune in

The game tonight starts at 7 PM central and will air on Fox Sports Tennessee. The pregame broadcast will start at 6:30 PM. Additionally, the game can be streamed on the Fox Sports Go app on your mobile device and heard on 102.5 The Game.