The Nashville Predators return to Dallas for tonight's rematch of this season's opening night game with the Stars. In a real quirk in the schedule this will be the Preds second (and last) trip to Dallas in a two week period.
The Predators are coming off two poor offensive performances where they were shutout by Buffalo last Saturday and managed only a single goal late in Monday's 6-1 loss to Edmonton.
The Predators won their first meeting with the Stars 3-2 on a Mike Santorelli goal in a shootout. There was controversy surrounding that meeting involving a statement by Stars radio man, Daryl "Razor" Reaugh who "guaranteed" a win for the Stars.
Reaugh promised to buy everyone in the arena a ticket if the Stars lost. They lost and the Stars made good on Reaugh's guarantee. Tonight's match-up is one of the games where fans could trade their stub from the opener for another ticket.
The Stars bring an odd record of 1-0-3 into tonight's game, having lost three games in shoot-outs and winning a road game at Calgary.
The Predators are 2-2 after winning their first two contests before becoming completely impotent on the offensive end of the ice.
After Monday's loss Coach Barry Trotz blamed the losses on the Preds losing their direction saying, “If you get away from your plan and start improvising only bad things can happen.”
Trotz also indicated that he may change up the lines as every goal this season has been scored by the Pred's first line of Jason Arnott, Patric Hornqvist and Steve Sullivan.
In the third period of Monday's contest, Trotz found one combilation that he liked, “Erat, Wilson and Ward, they were pretty good.” The game marked Colin Wilson's NHL debut after he sat out for three weeks with a groin injury.
The Predators are still without the services of J.P Dumont (head) and Jordin Tootoo (hip). Dumont has been skating and is considered day to day. There is an outside chance that he could play Saturday but it would probably be a game time decision as to whether he will be ready to go.
After an outstanding game on Saturday, Goaltender Pekka Rinne was pulled after the first period on Monday when he gave up four goals on nine shots. Dan Ellis, who won against Dallas in the first meeting, will return in net tonight.
After tonight's game, the Predators will return home and play the Chicago Blackhawks tomorrow night at the Sommet Center. The Preds will then head to the road for a five game road trip that starts Saturday in D.C. against Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.
In Pred Nation...
Dirk Hoag announced yesterday that he will be the co-host on tonight's Hockey Buzz Radio show at 6:00 on WNSR. That should be some good pre-game listening. Forechecker also takes a look at the numbers from Monday's loss versus Edmonton.
Bryan Mullen discusses the slow return of J. P. Dumont and Barry Trotz discusses how he chooses a starter in goal. John Glennon also looks at how the lines played at practice on Tuesday.
Jeremy at Section 303 is still pounding his fist on the table wanting Erat moved to the fourth line, and also discusses the Pred's goalie "controversy."
Mark at the View from 111 takes a look at the dissapearing offense in recent losses.
David Boclair discusses the new lines and appears to wonder which line is the nuber two line, Wilson, Ward Erat ot Legwand, Jones, and Santorelli.
Addicted laments the recent poor play at home.
Admirals Short Shifts is pleased to have Triston Grant back in time for their game tonight against the Peoria Rivermen.
We pointed out that this NASCAR-Preds tie-in was coming in our Monday post. Get braced for the onslaught of "non-traditional" comments. Here's a picture of the vehicle with the third jersey-like paint job.
Around the NHL...
Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy invites Gary Bettman to watch a game with him. I can't wait to read Gary's "Five Things" that comes out of the meeting. Nice photoshops by B.D Gallof add to the spirit of the invitation.
Matt at View from My Seats has part three in his social media and hockey series, this time with Jennifer Leggio from ZDNet.
Puck Central has one of the best lists around of "must follows" on Twitter. I have not looked at it in a while and it has grown substantially. Beyond the list, Puck Central is a great blog for Ranger fans and others who are interested in hockey in general.
Ryan at the RLD has his top five favorite announcers.
Mirtle reports trouble in Leaf land.
For her 100th post, Psycho Puck Lady has a Tuesday Top 1o featuring ten of her favorite posts. This is a great catch-up for new readers.
Jeff Z. Klein's new NHL point system is an interesting thought.
Finally, I was confused yesterday when I went to this Puck Daddy piece about Redneck Tailgating. I thought that I had stumbled on to the PeopleofWalmart page.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass