The Dallas Stars have been fading lately with four losses in five games. For a team that was in a tight competition for one of the final playoff spots, going cold at this point of the season is simply unacceptable. Now, with two games remaining in every team’s schedule, the Stars are three points out of eighth place. That means the odds are heavily stacked against them in the battle for one of the final playoff spots, but if they want to at least keep pressure on the eighth place San Jose Sharks, the Stars need to beat the Nashville Predators on Thursday.
That will be a tough task for Dallas as the Predators are one of the most dangerous teams in the Western Conference. Nashville added Hal Gill, Paul Gaustad, and Andrei Kostitsyn in February and Alexander Radulov also returned to the club just a couple weeks ago. Those additions make Nashville a well balanced team with a handful of star players making up their core. The Predators have gone 4-2-0 in their last six games as they battle for the fourth seed with the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks.
For Nashville, a loss Thursday plus a Detroit win would mean that the Predators could finish no better than fifth place in the Western Conference, but a win keeps their seeding battle alive going into the final night of the regular season on Saturday.
The player to watch in this game is Dallas’ Loui Eriksson, who has no goals and two assists in his last seven games. It’s always painfully noticeable to a fanbase when their best player goes cold during the final stretch of the campaign, but with the Stars’ season on the line, he could break out tonight.
You know what they say: “What a difference a game makes.”
Even in the 82-game marathon that an NHL regular season is, that can be true.
Ryan Suter admitted he went too far with comments during tough times, yet there he was on Tuesday night, grinning ear-to-ear after scoring the 2-1 goal that ended up being the game-winner.
Heck, people were even joking about things. The healing powers of winning, right?
As of this writing, this win places Minnesota in the last wild card spot, and they’re close to elbowing in on the Chicago Blackhawks (who own a standings point advantage, but have played two more games so far in 2015-16).
Jeremy Roenick labels this 2-1 win as a “team win” for Minnesota, and it showed on that 2-1 goal, as the Wild showed off some picture-perfect passing and a willingness to crash the net for rebounds.
Let’s face it, though; Devan Dubnyk deserves plenty of credit, too.
It won’t be easy in the Central Division, and things may get heated again. Still, this is the sort of win that may just help Minnesota build up some confidence.
When you’re talking about bright sides, most people believe that they boil down to the light at the end of the tunnel for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy a little success in the present while waiting for that bright future, though.
The Flyers are providing at least a burst of sunshine lately, as Tuesday’s 4-2 win against the Ottawa Senators gives them … (drum roll) their first three-game winning streak of this season.
Even in recent darker moments, Philly’s been pretty impressive on offense, so Flyers fans are likely relieved to see a relative offensive outburst.
Sure, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns – Radko Gudas might have gotten himself into some trouble, for instance – yet this is still a nice sign of life for a team expected to finish in the draft lottery.
If that fails … hey, the future may require shades.
Here’s an understatement: things haven’t gone very well for Dougie Hamilton early in his first season with the Calgary Flames.
(It must feel like the opposite of Tyler Seguin in Dallas for Boston Bruins fans, but feel free to disagree in the comments.)
You could look at Hamilton’s meager offensive stats and break down his disappointing work through a very of “fancy” and traditional metrics …
… Or you could just fire up a projector and show this own-goal on a loop.
It remains to be seen if the Ottawa Senators can avoid losing against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight, but either way, it’s been a costly night.
The Senators saw two forwards leave the game with injuries, as Milan Michalek and Mika Zibanejad were banged up on Tuesday.
Michalek may have gotten hurt blocking a shot while a Radko Gudas hit on Zibanejad left the Senators forward with an upper-body injury.
Gudas may get a call from the league for his infractions.
Update: Michalek’s issue could be significant.
The Flyers ended up beating the Senators 4-2, so a tough night for Ottawa.