Dallas Stars (21-16-1, 43 pts) @ Nashville Predators (21-14-4, 46 pts)
7:00 PM CT, January 5, 2012
Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
The easiest way to rile up a Stars fan right now is to mention the name "Adam Pardy" in conjuction with the word "defense" or "lack of defense". In his first year with the Stars, Pardy has looked 1/3 lost, 1/3 confused and 1/3 just plain bad. A good clean waste of $2 million. Luckily for the Dallas folks is that Stephane Robidas should make his return from his injury tonight. With the recent callup and play of Jordie Benn, that should push Pardy out of the lineup and into the 7th defensemen spot which is definitely where he belongs. Unless Gulutzan just isn't that sure about Benn, then Pardy would be in the lineup, but Stars fans can all pray that isn't the case.
The lack of defense is what killed the Stars in their last game, a 5-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. Without Robidas and Sheldon Souray, the Red Wings ran rampant over the Stars d-men. Kari Lehtonen had an amazing first period but just couldn't hold on for the rest of the game. He let in some easy goals that a first string goalie just should never allow. He was giant target in a free-of-obstacles shooting range for the Wings. The Stars offense (Read: Eriksson-Benn-Ryder) was all that kept the Stars in this game or it would have been an easy blowout.
Dallas gets a bit of a break tonight as they travel to play the Nashville Predators. The Preds shouldn't be able to skate circles around the Dallas like the Wings did, but one never knows how the Stars will play as they've been a true roller-coaster of a team.
The bad news for this game? It looks like the Preds will be getting Shea Weber back from a concussion, which he might have suffered the last time these two teams played, 6-3 win for the Stars. The Preds have been a bit of a rut since then. While they have won three of the four games since playing Dallas, they havn't been easy. Two of the games went into shootouts while the third game they won was a 5-3 offensive outburst.
The Preds have had a bit of rest. They haven't played a game since New Year's Day so it should be Pekka Rinne back in goal for the Preds tonight. The Stars were able to run him out of the game the last time these two played soooo maybe it can happen again.
Kari Lehtonen should be in goal tonight. Dallas will be without the services of Sheldon Souray (ankle), Philip Larsen (concussion-like syndromes) and Tomas Vincour (knee). Robidas is listed as questionable but by all accounts it looks like he's a go.
The Preds look to be without Colin Wilson (upper body) tonight. Weber should be back from his concussion.
- The Preds are 11-6-3 at home this year. They have won 7 of their last 8 home games.
- Dallas is 9-9-0 on the road.
- In the last 5 games, Nashville has been 13 of 13 on the penalty kill. Their power-play in that span of time has been 2 of 18. Their only two goals came in the game against Dallas.
- There's been one guy for Dallas that has been absolutely on fire lately, Michael Ryder. Ryder has scored a goal in seven of his last eight games, including his two goal effort against the Wings. He has eight goals and three assists in that stretch. He, Eriksson and Benn have been the only guys recording consistent points lately.