Facing the daunting possibility of being down 0-2 before heading on the road, the pressure is on the Predators tonight in Game 2. Meanwhile, the Stars took care of business in Game 1, and want nothing more than to return to Dallas in complete control of the series.
Here’s a brief recap of how the first game went, along with things to look out for in Game 2 and a prediction.
Game 1 Recap
Rookie defenseman and All-Star Miro Heiskanen had a postseason debut to remember. Heiskanen led the charge with a goal and an assist to help Dallas take Game 1 by a score of 3-2. Trade deadline acquisition Mats Zuccarello, who missed most of the second half with an injury, also scored for Dallas.
Heiskanen was originally credited with a second goal, but a scoring change credited Alexander Radulov with the goal instead. Ben Bishop was also on top of his game, making 30 saves and only allowing two goals to Roman Josi and P.K. Subban.
Keys for Dallas
The Stars, who all year were one of the best defensive teams, showcased that ability with a dominant effort against the Predators. In particular, their penalty kill was incredibly solid, holding Nashville scoreless in four attempts. The penalty kill will have to show up again.
While Dallas was able to get scoring from several role players, they will need production from stars Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. Seguin was held scoreless in the first game, while Benn recorded an assist. With the Stars coming into the series as the inferior offensive team, production from those two, especially on the road, will be huge.
Keys for Nashville
It’s a simple goal for the Predators from here on out: don’t lose another home game. It is essential for Nashville to have a great first period and not play from behind. Led by Josi and Subban, the defense needs to be suffocating and prevent a Stars team from getting easy opportunities.
Although the Predators are still favored to win tonight and the series, the power play has to come through. Nashville only converted 12.9 percent of the time with the extra attacker this season, last in the NHL. They have been able to win in the regular season, but special teams matter a great deal in the postseason. Their power play needs to get them on the board tonight.
The Predators are favored, listed at -170. The Stars will be aggressive and try to take control of the series, but Nashville’s depth will come through, as well as a rebound performance from Pekka Rinne in net. I’ll take the Predators -170 to even up the series tonight.