The Nashville Predators dropped their fifth straight to the Dallas Stars, and their sixth to the New York Rangers. The Predators now have two home shutout losses in two years; both coming this year.

Nashville Key Stats

Goals

Nick Bonino (2), Kevin Fiala

Assists

Craig Smith, Kevin Fiala (2), Mattias Ekholm

Dallas Key Stats

Goals

Tyler Pitlick, Mattias Jarnmark

Assists

Radek Faksa, Esa Lindell

New York Key Stats

Goals

Chris Kreider, Jesper Fast (2), Marc Staal

Assists

Mika Zibanejed (4), Kevin Hayes, Jasper Fast (2), Kreider

What Happened (Dallas)

Dallas scored the only goal they needed at 7:20 in the first period. Craig Smith fell over at the redline, creating a clear lane for Pitlick to get to the high slot. He zipped one through a screened Pekka Rinne, and Dallas hung on for the next 52:40 minutes.

At 11:09, Janmark made the game 2-0 after a puck trickled through Rinne’s glove and barely over the line. A scoreless third period gave Dallas their 19th win of the year, and Anton Khudobin posted a 49 save shutout.

Nashville outshot the Stars 49-30. Turnovers killed the team’s momentum, Khudobin had a relatively easy night in terms of scoring chances, and while Nashville improved the overall momentum and speed of their game, they could not pull through.

What Happened (New York)

Both teams tallied once in the first period courteous to their special teams. Kreider tipped home his 20th goal of the year at 2:42 to open up New York’s scoring affairs, and Bonino tipped one of his own at 8:43. Nashville was able to capitalize on only one of their three power play opportunities, but puck movement and player placement showed signs of improvement.

Fast one-timed a slot shot past Pekka Rinne at 3:51- he was left wide open in front of the net, as no forwards protected the net. Less than a minute later, Fiala took advantage of a turnover at the blue line and sniped one through Henrik Lunqvist at 4:44. Bonino grabbed his second goal of the game at 10:35 for his second power play goal of the night.

The Rangers stormed back in the third period. At 4:23, Staal found a wide open shooting lane thanks to a three on two and buried his shot through Rinne. Fast blasted his second goal of the game at 7:35, and Nashville couldn’t recover. The final from Bridgestone was 4-3.

Looking Forward

Kevin Fiala recorded his first 3-point game of his NHL career against the Rangers. He has four points in his last five games, but the three-point game certainly helped his stats.

Kyle Turris missed the New York game due to a lower body injury, but has not been placed on the IR. That will be his ninth missed game this year.

Colton Sissons missed his fourth consecutive game, and will likely miss another couple of games. He was last seen playing against Chicago before exiting in the third period with an ankle injury.

Viktor Arvidsson returned to the lineup against Dallas and drove the offense per usual. He has eight shots in two games and leads the team in individual scoring chances. It’s only a matter of time before he starts scoring again.

P.K. Subban also returned to the lineup against Dallas. Both him and Arvidsson had missed more than 15 games apiece, so it was a relief to have them back on the ice.

Ultimately, Nashville couldn’t score against Dallas, and that’s why they lost. A couple of well placed shots pushed New York past Nashville. They played well enough to win, but can’t seem to buy a win these days. Overall, play has improved significantly since Arvidsson returned to the lineup, and that isn’t a coincidence.

Also, Nashville hasn’t played with their full squad once this year; at least one every-day starter has been missing from the lineup every single game this year. Just something to keep in mind.

-Jack Woods covers the Nashville Predators and the Central Division for FullPressCoverage.com and PenaltyBoxRadio.com. You can follow Jack on Twitter at @jack_woods15 and the Full Press Predators at @FPC_Predators

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