The Dallas Stars have lost five straight games while the Nashville Predators have been defeated in four of their last five outings. The good news is, when they eventually meet, one of them will taste victory.
The original chance for both struggling clubs to return to the win column on Monday was quashed because nobody can beat Mother Nature, so their clash was postponed. They’ll try again Tuesday night in Dallas, provided the impact of the storm that’s hit the area is decreased.
The extra 24 hours simply allowed the teams more time to stew about their struggles.
Dallas, coming off a trip to the Stanley Cup Final, started the season with four wins, including a pair against the Predators. The Stars pasted the Preds 7-0 in their season opener that came a week late because of a COVID-19 issue.
Since that 4-0 start, however, the Stars have posted a 1-3-4 record, with the latest defeat a 4-3 home shootout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. Though three of their last four defeats have been in extra time, it’s not providing much consolation.
“We’re running out of patience,” coach Rick Bowness said. “We’re not playing poorly, we’re not, but we’re not capitalizing on chances that we get. … We’ve got to stop putting ourselves in that position where we’re losing points.”
Special teams are a factor. After their red-hot start, Dallas has scored six power-play goals in its last eight games, but opponents have scored nine power-play goals against the Stars in that time.
“I think we’ve been pretty good on the PK and then we do just one bad mistake,” said forward Radek Faksa. “So I think we have to read from each other even more than before and do more blocked shots and stuff like that.”
The Predators’ lone victory in their current slump came against the Detroit Red Wings, the only team below them in the Central Division. Detroit responded with a 4-2 win over Nashville on Saturday.
“Our play right now is unacceptable,” defenseman Ryan Ellis said. “The results aren’t acceptable. It needs to change. It’s not like we have a lot of time. The good thing is every game is a division game, and it gives us an opportunity to catch up, but we’re digging ourselves a hole, and it’s only due to ourselves. No one else’s fault but the guys in the locker room.”
The Predators were outscored 16-7 in their one-win, four-game homestand and looking for something to ignite them. Right now, the game plan appears to be in favor of not piling on this group of discouraged players.
“Every day is an opportunity to get better,” coach John Hynes said. “We’re doing something that we all love, we’re all privileged to do, so as bad as it is sometimes hockey-wise or your record-wise or in our case (on Saturday) how we played, you have a chance every day to fix it. … You have to find things where we’ve done some things well, and those are certainly presented to the team, and those are areas that have to be better.”
Both sides are aware they will face a motivated team.
“Even if they’re in a bit of a rut, they’re still a tough team to play against, super tight-checking and there’s not a lot of room out there,” Predators forward Colton Sissons said of the Stars. “It’s a huge test again. They’re a really good hockey club, and it’s just us trying to get the ball rolling in the positive direction here, start building ourselves up and getting some confidence and swagger back.”
–Field Level Media