The NHL is set up with an action packed slate of games throughout May 1. Fifteen games will be up on the board throughout Saturday. One of these games will be between the Dallas Stars and the Nashville Predators. These two teams are competing for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central. This game will drop the puck at around 8:00 PM Eastern time on ESPN+.
The Stars have put up a record of 21-17-12 throughout this season, which has them sitting in fifth place of the Central Division. Dallas is two points behind the Predators with a game in hand. The Stars will look to catch them with a big win in this one. Dallas has lost back to back games and three of their last five, but will look to get back in the win column in this one.
Nashville has posted a record of 27-22-2 to this point in the season, which has them in fourth place of the Central Division. The Predators can really help their playoff chances with a win in this one. Nashville is coming off a loss in their last game and will look to bounce back in this one. I expect the Predators to come out hot on Saturday night.
These two teams are in a very tight race entering the last game of the season series. The Predators have a slight lead coming into this one, but Dallas could change that with a win. I expect this to be a playoff atmosphere as both teams battle it out. Both teams will look to control the pace early as this could be make or break for the postseason.
The Stars and Predators have met up seven times so far this season. Dallas hosted the first two games on January 22 and 24. Joe Pavelski scored two goals and two assists in the first game, while Anton Khudobin stopped all 34 shots he faced in a 7-0 win. Roope Hintz and Joe Pavelski both had a goal and two assists in the second game to lead the Stars to a 3-2 win.
The third and fourth game of the season series stayed in Dallas on March 7 and 21. Eeli Tovanen had a goal and an assist in the third game, while Filip Forsberg had two assists. The Predators earned a big 4-3 win in the shootout. Tolvanen had a goal and two assists in the fourth game as Nashville earned another 4-3 win in the shootout.
Nashville hosted the fifth and sixth game of the season series on March 30 and April 1. Calle Jarnkrok and Eeli Tolvanen both had a goal and an assist in the fifth game to lead the Predators to a 3-2 win in overtime. Joe Pavelski had two assists in the sixth game, while Anton Khudobin stopped 21 of 22 shots in a 4-1 win for the Stars.
The seventh and most recent game of the season series was in Nashville on April 11. Roope Hintz had a goal and an assist, but it was not enough for Dallas this time around. Ryan Ellis and Yakov Trenin both had a goal on the night to force the shootout. Ryan Johansen had the shootout winner to lift the Predators to a 3-2 win at home.
Dallas has been solid on the power play throughout this season. The Stars have capitalized on 35 of their 148 power play attempts, which is a 23.7 percent success rate. Dallas has struggled a bit on the penalty kill though. The Stars have killed off 105 of their opponents 133 power play chances, which is a 79 percent penalty kill.
The Predators have struggled a bit on both sides of special teams so far this season. Nashville has scored on 26 of their 145 power play opportunities, which is a 17.9 percent power play. The Predators have given up 40 power play goals on 160 penalties against, which is a 75 percent kill rate. Nashville will need to step up on special teams in this one.
The Stars have the edge on the power play and penalty kill in this matchup. Dallas has been strong with the man advantage this season and will look to attack the Predators penalty kill in this one. Nashville will need to stay out of the box in this one after giving up a lot of penalties this season. If the Stars can force the Predators on their heels on the penalty kill though, it could be enough for the win.
Anton Khudobin will likely get the start in the crease for the Stars in this one. Khudobin has earned a record of 11-10-1 through his 28 starts this season. He has put up a save percentage of .907 and a 2.45 GAA through those games played. Khudobin’s last start was against the Carolina Hurricanes where he stopped 25 of 30 shots in the loss.
I expect Juuse Saros to get the nod between the pipes for Nashville on Saturday night. Saros has started in 31 games this season, going 18-10-1. He has posted a .926 save percentage and a GAA of 2.36 through his tilts. Saros finished with 49 saves on 55 shots in his last start against the Florida Panthers, which was not enough for the win.
The Predators have the edge in net with Saros getting the start in this one. Saros has been really strong throughout this season and will look to keep it going in this one. Khudobin is coming off a tough start in his last game and will look to bounce back in this one. I expect both teams to test the goalies early to try and catch them on an off night.
These two teams have been neck and neck in the season series and will play their biggest game on Saturday night. I think that Dallas will come out strong though and earn a big two points on the road. The Stars have been strong this season, but have struggled in the extra period. If Dallas can put pressure on the Predators early, I think they can earn the win in this one though.
BetOnline has Nashville listed as a -109 against the money line in this one. This gives a slight edge to the Predators at home. I agree with this line as Nashville is at home. Both teams are really tight in the standings, but I think Dallas has been playing better as of late. Tyler Seguin could make his debut as well, which could give the Stars the offensive push they need.