The Nashville Predators haven’t been home in 15 days. Their huge eight-game road trip ends tonight as they face the Dallas Stars.
The Predators are tied with the Stars in the standings, both teams sitting at 27 points. Both teams are also six points behind 4th place Columbus and 5th place Chicago. The Predators have lots of ground to make up and will almost need to play perfect games from here on out.
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Every point matters if the Predators are to have any hope of making the playoffs. Points are critical as Dallas has four games in hand, giving them more opportunities to make up points.
Both teams will be desperate for a win today, but Dallas may be a little more motivated as they lost to the Predators on March 7.
Dallas has also been struggling as of late and will be looking to get back on track and make the climb back up in the standings. At one point, they led the division.
The Predators are 3-3-1 on this current road trip that has been surprisingly successful given the opponents they have faced and the number of injured key players that are out of the lineup.
Lines For The Nashville Predators
If the projected lineup holds, this will be the third game in a row where Head Coach John Hynes has kept the same lineup intact. While they didn’t find success in their last game against Florida, these lines worked well in the meeting with the Panthers on March 18.
Consistency is the key to these lines, and placing the players in a line blender for every game is not how consistency is built.
It is especially good to see that Filip Forsberg, Eeli Tolvanen, and Ryan Johansen remain on the top line. The Forsberg/Tolvanen line has had success, and their chemistry continues to build with every game.
Calle Jarnkrok has also been on a tear lately. Jarnkrok has seven points in his last five games and can hopefully tally another goal or two today with the help of his linemates in Viktor Arvidsson and Mikael Granlund.
Don’t Let Down The Goaltenders
The Predators’ goaltenders have been playing outstanding hockey on this road trip, especially Juuse Saros. In his past two games, Saros has stopped a total of 87 shots and has only let in two goals.
Pekka Rinne has also made significant contributions to the Predators’ success on this trip. While Saros was on the injured reserve list, Rinne started in seven straight games and participated in eight, if you count the Carolina game where Saros was injured.
Saros and Rinne are putting on goaltending clinics, but the team cannot capitalize and find the back of the net. The Predators need to find some offense to compliment the excellent play of their goalies. Scoring goals has been a struggle and will continue to be against a tough Stars team.
The Predators find themselves in a tricky situation as the trade deadline looms. A victory in Dallas will give them a 4-3-1 record on this road trip and could provide some momentum as they move on to face Detroit and Chicago.
If the wins start coming, it will make a case for a rebuild harder as it is tough to get rid of players when they are performing well. However, no matter the Predators’ success, management needs to move forward with the rebuild.
The puck drops at 7:30 PM CDT and will be televised on Fox Sports Tennessee. Follow along with us on Twitter for up-to-the-minute game commentary.