The second meeting of between the Predators and the Stars was hosted in Nashville, and the crowd was ready for the inevitable angst brewing between the two teams. During the last meeting between these two teams in Dallas on December 23rd, Dallas defenseman Mark Fistric leveled Predators captain Shea Weber at the end of the game, placing Weber on the IR up until their second meeting. If you missed the nasty hit, here’s the video:
Needless to say, both the team and the fans of the Nashville Predators were visibly upset by the fact Fistric was not reprimanded by his careless hit and the fact Tootoo was suspended after the whole incident with Buffalo. Last night was going to be brutal for the Stars, one way or another. Here are the highlights from last night’s game:
- Earlier in the day yesterday, the Predators announced that Shea Weber would be released off of IR and would be ready to play against the Stars. Colin Wilson was also deemed healthy, but was still scratched from the game.
- With Colin Wilson, both Jonathon Blum and Ryan Ellis were also scratched from the game with the return of Shea Weber and the recent return of Kevin Klein.
- Although many thought Brian McGrattan would be the one to take on Mark Fistric, it was actually Jordin Tootoo who dropped the gloves with the Dallas defenseman at 1:46 into the game. It wasn’t a punch free-for-all kind of fight, but Tootoo clearly won the battle when he body-slammed Fistric, who is almost fifty pounds heavier. Here’s the video:
- Although Nashville came out with a bit of power, they weren’t able to stop Dallas from drawing the first blood. The Predators were quick to return the favor at 8:31, with Gabriel Bourque’s first career NHL goal. Both Jordin Tootoo and Nick Spaling picked up the assists.
- With only a few seconds left in the first, Dallas scored once again on what looked like a onside goal from Kevin Klein. It looked as if, when Klein was trying to block the puck, he accidently bumped the puck in behind Pekka Rinne, but after review, it was clear Mike Ribeiro snuck it in.
- Jamie Benn would send the Stars up 3-1 thanks to a nasty miscommunication amongst the Predators. Ryan Suter reversed the puck, only to have none of his men in waiting. Benn caught Pekka off guard and sunk the easy goal.
- Steve Ott was given a penalty shot shortly after Benn’s goal, but was unsuccessful against the Finnish phenom that is Pekka Rinne.
- Adam Burish sealed the game in the favor of the Stars at 12:53 in the third, the second loss for the Predators this season against the Dallas Stars.
The Predators were out-shot by the Stars 25 to 30 and suffered from more penalties than the Stars did. Here were the boys who faced some penalty time:
- Jordin Tootoo – 1:46 1st Period – Fighting
- Shea Weber – 0:46 2nd Period – Holding
- Mike Fisher – 19:03 2nd Period – Tripping
- Francis Bouillon 5:44 3rd Period – Roughing
- Jordin Tootoo – 8:35 3rd Period – Interference
- Jordin Tootoo – 8:35 3rd Period – Diving
- Anders Lindback and Jonathon Blum were reassigned to Milwaukee to gain more ice time and goalie Jeremy Smith was bumped up to Nashville, his first call-up to the NHL. Rumors are running amuck that the Predators are looking to trade and Blum might be the unfortunate person. With rookies like Roman Josi, Gabriel Bourque, and Ryan Ellis playing as well as they have been in the NHL, falling short in the defense area for the Predators is basically a death sentence. Sadly, Blum just hasn’t quite matched the other rookies thus far (nor did Blake Geoffrion, who is hanging out in Milwaukee as well).
The Predators tore out of the gate last night emotionally and what seemed physically ready, but as the game progressed, ill-fated mistakes and miscommunication lead to the loss at home against the Dallas Stars. While the Predators are usually able to regain themselves after silly mistakes, the Stars ate up every mishap and used each one to their advantage.
Even though it was a 4-1 loss, the Predators still made regular season franchise history by selling out their 7th consecutive game. The Predators look to score an 8th consecutive sellout when the Carolina Hurricanes roll into Smashville tomorrow night. The puck drops at 7PM.
(Image credit: Leanne Charles Photography)