The Dallas Stars are one of the most highly skilled, entertaining, and high scoring teams in the NHL but that has not translated into sustained and consistent success however, as the Stars back end has far too often been neglected. After missing the playoffs for the second time in three seasons last spring, the Stars decided to go back to the future with the hiring of Ken Hitchcock as head coach. “Hitch” was the Stars head coach when they won the 1999 Stanley Cup championship and is universally acclaimed and renowned for orchestrating the shutdown of opponents and the development of suffocating defenses. Hitchcock is charged with tightening up the Stars defense while allowing just enough freedom for their skilled players to continue to light the lamp.
The Nashville Predators are coming off a Western Conference championship and the most successful season in franchise history. Now the question beckons as to whether or not they can sustain such a high level of success at the highest levels. Fourth year head Peter Laviolette has put the Preds in the playoffs all three of his seasons and has now led three different franchises to the Stanley Cup Final. Let’s look at the game and NHL picks.
The Dallas Stars visit the Nashville Predators on Thursday, October 12 with a start time of 8 pm Eastern.
Nashville -125, total 5.5 over.
Dallas Stars vs. Nashville Predators
The Dallas Stars dropped their first two games of the season as they continue to adjust to their new style of play under Hitchcock but they rebounded to beat Detroit 4-2 on Tuesday. So far it looks as if the Stars have overcorrected, as they rank a very un-Dallas like 25th in the NHL for goal scoring and a middle of the pack 12th for goals against. Dallas has been quite effective in limiting shots as the top ranked team in that category in the NHL.
The Nashville Predators also lost their first two games of the season with a bit of a hangover from their great success in the playoffs last spring but t he bounced back to beat Philadelphia 6-5 on Tuesday. It has been a very sluggish look for the Preds, who rank 13th in the NHL for goal scoring and 26th for goals against.
One factor to keep in mind is the retirement of Preds captain Mike Fisher, who hung it up after 17 seasons and was the most popular player on the team with fans. Fisher had a great leadership presence that will be missed.
Nashville has won three out of their last four games against Dallas with the last four meetings between the Stars and Preds going over the total.
Nashville has won seven out of their last 10 home games against Dallas with four out of the last six meetings in this head to head series at Nashville going over the total.
Both teams are going through an adjustment period but the Preds have the better goalie in likely starter Pekka Rinne. I will take Nashville and the game under the total.
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