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The Nashville Predators have dropped four games in a row and the Dallas Stars are trying to win as many points as possible to keep their playoff hopes alive while they sit right on the outside of the eighth and final spot, one point behind ninth place Phoenix.
While test driving the new faces and future players of the Predators franchise, Nashville can only hope to be spoiler to their soon-to-be-rival/divisional foe for 2013-2014.
Winners of three straight games, the Dallas Stars toppled the Ducks, Kings and Sharks, each one in the top five of the conference. Ray Whitney has come back with a vengeance as the ageless wonder has four points in his last two games. Vernon Fiddler has also been contributing from farther down the depth chart with an amazing seven points in his last four games. The former Predator looks to have made a home with the Dallas Stars and his contributions open up the play of forwards like Eriksson, Benn and Whitney.
If this wasn’t enough, the newly-assigned Alex Chaisson, a second round pick in 2009 has exploded for 4 points in his last four games and this has given the Stars yet another offensive weapon for a team riddled with such talent. Kari Lehtonen has performed admirably in the last three games with two wins, but he is day-to-day after leaving the Kings game with a lower-body injury. Bachman came into the game for relief and earned the win stopping all 22 shots faced. If Lehtonen can’t go Friday night, Bachman may get the nod.
The Predators, according to SportsClubStats.com, still have a 0.3% chance of making the playoffs…so there’s still hope…right? Unfortunately the Predators will 99.7% not make the playoffs so they are giving real looks at the future of the organization. Daniel Bang (pronounced BONG) got his first action Tuesday night against the Blues and had nothing to show for it except some good NHL game-speed experience. Austin Watson has played two games and has a -2 rating and one SOG.
Some rookies that are playing admirably are defenseman Victor Bartley and Taylor Beck. Bartley has found a great defensive partner in Kevin Klein and in 17 games has 3 assists and a +4 rating. Taylor Beck has the offensive skill that Nashville was missing with the injuries to Wilson and Bourque, neither of which are returning for this season. Beck has 6 points in 12 games and his wrist shot is mercury-smooth alongside a Hornqvist-like ability to bang pucks home.
Legwand has really turned things around this year leading the Predators in points with 23 and co-leading in goals with 11. He has four points in the last five games including a game-winning goal against the Colorado Avalanche: the Predators last win. Pekka Rinne is playing at an All-World pace, but the lack of offense from the Predators has made a couple one-goal allowances into 1-0 shutout wins for their opponents. He is 4th in Shots Against, 5th in Saves and 6th in Goals Allowed for the entire NHL, but despite these performances the Predators cannot simply generate at least one/two goals to send the game to extra time or an out-right win. These differences will be pointed to as to why the Predators are in the draft lottery instead of the playoffs.
Game time is at 7:00 P.M. Central and can be heard on 102.5 the Game and viewed locally on Fox Sports South. If you like what you’re reading or have questions/comments feel free to write us below or follow us on Twitter @Preducated and @ThePredatorial.