There’s been several fierce rivalries in the relatively short history of the Nashville Predators, but one continues to grow and that’s with the Dallas Stars.
You can’t script this any better for Saturday night when the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars will square off in what is seemingly what feels like a play-in game to get into the actual playoffs. Two teams with high expectations and respected veterans looking to claim a Stanley Cup.
For Predators fans, the Stars have climbed up their personal hate lists after what happened in 2019. A shocking first-round playoff exit for the Predators that felt like the end of the Stanley Cup window in Nashville.
This all-division schedule has been the perfect ingredient to add fuel to the fire of this rivalry. With their current positions in the standings heading into Saturday night’s clash, you really can’t ask for much more intrigue for both fanbases.
What really helps make this growing rivalry special is you have two teams who like to play physical hockey that often leads to a lot of extra action after the whistle. There will probably be plenty of that on Saturday night.
The growth of a new rivalry for the Nashville Predators
I never really considered the Stars even the slightest of a rival before the 2019 first-round playoff series. Heading into that series I just wanted to see the Predators get to the next round, but didn’t really have any disdain towards the Stars franchise.
However, that series and playoff exit left me with a sour taste that I still haven’t lost. I can’t blame the Stars for that as they played a strong series and certainly earned it, but some things you just can’t forget.
What really started fueling the rivalry was the games that would follow those 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs, and then the 2020 Winter Classic, which was a spectacular atmosphere at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
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The Stars had their share of villains on the team for Predators fans with Corey Perry and Alexander Radulov leading the way. Then the Ryan Ellis injury occurs, Perry gets ejected and the Predators take a quick 2-0 lead.
The bottom fell out after that and the Stars would win that game, and that’s when my disdain for the Dallas Stars really took off. Still nowhere near the level of disdain I have for the Chicago Blackhawks or St. Louis Blues, but they’re starting to make a strong case after that Winter Classic.
These games are always battles, for the most part. The Stars have built a formidable team over the past few seasons that led them to the Stanley Cup Final last season. They fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning, but they surprised a lot of people.
Now in current times, the Stars are still a team that could end up making noise if they do get into the playoffs over the Predators. That’s what the next chapter of this growing rivalry will be; two highly physical teams with sturdy goaltending and a nice blend of youth and veteran leadership on their respective rosters battling for one playoff spot.
Both teams have also dealt with a rash of injuries throughout the season, but have gradually gotten healthy in recent weeks. The Predators are close to getting Filip Forsberg back, which would provide a massive boost to their chances of getting Juuse Saros some needed goal support and power play improvement.
The Stars are hoping to get a superstar of their own back in Tyler Seguin. He’s considered close to returning as well, so if these two come back for the same game then that will add even more intrigue to this matchup.
This game will be appointment viewing on Saturday night. The winner will be in the driver’s seat for the final playoff spot. One fanbase is going to leave hating the winning team that much more. So get yourself amped up and ready to go, because Saturday night should be another wild ride in this rivalry.