NHL Playoff Preview: Dallas and Nashville

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NASHVILLE, TN - FEBRUARY 7: Mattias Ekholm #14 of the Nashville Predators skates against Alexander Radulov #47 of the Dallas Stars at Bridgestone Arena on February 7, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

Playoff time, people.

The Dallas Stars and the Nashville Predators will square off in round one. This was best case scenario for the Predators, and worst case scenario for the Stars. Nashville is finally playing good hockey, finishing the year going 8-3-1 in their last 12. Dallas, on the contrary, posted a 6-3-2 record and grabbed the second Wild Card. It’s going to be an interesting series to say the least.

Season Series Results

NOVEMBER 18TH, 2018- Nashville wins on the road 5-4 in OT

Three different defensemen scored for Nashville- Roman Josi, Yannick Weber, and Mattias Ekholm. A three-goal third period pushed the Predators into overtime, and Mattias Ekholm sniped the game-winning goal seconds after leaving the penalty box.

DECEMBER 27TH, 2018- Dallas wins on the road 2-0 in regulation

Tyler Pitlick and Mattias Janmark solved Pekka Rinne in the first and second period. Despite P.K. Subban and Viktor Arvidsson returning to the lineup, Anton Khudobin turned away 49 shots.

FEBRUARY 2ND, 2019- Dallas wins on the road 3-1 in regulation

Both teams netted a goal in the first period, but Blake Comeau and Mattias Janmark beat Pekka Rinne twice in the third period. Once again, the Predators outshot the Stars but ultimately couldn’t get past one goal.

FEBRUARY 7TH, 2019- Nashville wins at home 3-2 in OT

The Predators held a 1-0 lead through the first and second period, but Miro Heiskanen and Taylor Fedun netted goals for the Stars, and Viktor Arvidsson continued his hot streak with a goal of his own. Ryan Johansen eventually sniped the game-winner in OT.

FEBRUARY 19TH, 2019- Nashville wins on the road 5-3 in regulation

Nashville had consistent scoring in all three periods, but an outstanding second period kept the Stars in the game. Roman Josi’s two third period goals were enough to lift the Predators out of defeat, and the Predators closed the season series with a victory.

Key Players

NASHVILLE- Roman Josi

Roman Josi tallied five points in five games against the Stars alone this year. The Captain is notoriously dangerous against the Stars anyway, but Josi has an element of speed and skill over most of Dallas’ forwards. Were Josi able to elevate his creative dominance, the Stars will be in serious trouble.

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DALLAS- Alexander Radulov

The former Predator scored 72 times this year, matching his total from last year. Overshadowed by the stardom of Seguin and Benn, Radulov is one of the lesser-known players for the Stars. He is, however, no less dangerous than either player and not soon forgotten in Nashville. Perhaps he could be a difference maker when the spotlight is upon him.

What’s Going to Happen?

It’s almost poetic that the two teams who will face off in the 2020 Winter Classic have the first round to add fuel to a burning rivalry. The entire series depends on three things, which are listed below.

  1. Which Pekka Rinne will show up- Vezina Pekka, or 2018-2019 playoff Pekka?
  2. If Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn step up when it matters most
  3. Which team can maintain control through the third period

On paper, the Predators are better, and they have home-ice advantage (although with how talented these teams are, it truthfully does not matter). Nashville has not played Dallas since acquiring Brian Boyle, Wayne Simmonds, and Mikael Granlund, so the Stars are theoretically going in blind. That being said, the Stars should not be counted out. Even if this is their first playoff appearance since 2016. Anything can happen when desperation sets in.

I say the Predators prevail to the second round in five games. Dallas did not win at home against Nashville once, but the Stars held them to one goal in two games at Bridgestone Arena. Dallas might take one in the first two games, but Nashville has always found a way to win against the Stars when it mattered most.

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

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