The Nashville Predators took another drubbing Wednesday night, this time at the hands of the Dallas Stars. Very little went the Preds way in the 6-0 shutout performance by Dallas goalie, Marty Turco.
It was a game that had a strong resemblance to Monday's 6-1 loss to Edmonton. Dallas scored on their first three shots causing Dan Ellis to be pulled 6:31 into the first period. Before Pekka Rinne got comfortable in net, Dallas scored again on the power play at 8:48.
Being down 4-0 that early was not what this team needed in trying to shake off the demons from Monday night's bloodbath.
To their credit, from that point forward the team was able to regroup, to an extent, and play better defensively. Dallas's second period goal was on a five on three power play and the final goal was on a tipped redirection that few goalies could have stopped.
The Preds never got going offensively despite out shooting Dallas 29-26. Jason Arnott and Patric Hornqvist each had five shots. The Predators were last in the league in shot percentage going into this game and fell even further in the effort.
The picture doesn't get any easier going forward as the Predators return home to face the high flying Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night at the Sommet Center at 7 p.m.
The Hawks are 4-1-1 and have won three in a row after their win over Edmonton on Wednesday night. Monday, Chicago was down 5-0 and staged the biggest comeback in franchise history to win 6-5 over Calgary. Christobal Huet, who was pulled Monday night after giving up three quick goals will start in net for the Hawks.
Pekka Rinne was scheduled to go against Chicago on Thursday, but that may change after he logged almost a full game against the Stars. As for the rest of the line-up, J.P. Dumont and Jordin Tootoo are not ready to play so the Preds will have to go with something similar to what they had against the Stars.
In all fairness, the new line of Colin Wilson, Joel Ward and Marty Erat looked good in their first outing together. The were even in the plus/minus category (hard to do in a 6-0 loss) and acted as the second power play unit. At this point, it is safe to assume that this combination is the second (not third) line.
After the game with the Hawks, the Predators leave town for two weeks playing five games, starting with the Capitals on Saturday night. They will also play Boston, Ottawa, Chicago and Minnesota before returning to the Sommet.
In the past, on several occasions, the Predators have been able to regroup on extended road trips and come together as a team. At this point it may end up being just what the doctor ordered.
Hopefully, the Preds will be inspired by Steve Sullivan's Masterton trophy night ceremony and come out and win one before leaving town.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass