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5 Keys: Stars at Predators, Game 2

Nashville must rev up power play; Dallas seeks more heroics from Bishop, Benn

by Tracey Myers @TraMyers_NHL / Staff Writer


6 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN, TVAS 2, FS-TN, FS-SW

Dallas leads best-of-7 series 1-0

The Dallas Stars will try to go up two games against the Nashville Predators when they play Game 2 of the best-of-7 Western Conference First Round at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday. 

The Stars scored twice in the third period for a 3-2 win in Game 1 on Wednesday. Nashville will attempt to even the series before it shifts to Dallas for Game 3 at American Airlines Center on Monday.


[RELATED: Complete Predators vs. Stars series coverage]


Teams that win the first two games of a best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series have a series record of 318-50 (.864) and are 72-20 when they come on the road (.783).

Here are 5 keys for Game 2:


1. Predators need to power up

Nashville went 0-for-4 on the power play in Game 1; a part of that was Dallas' penalty kill, which was ranked fifth in the NHL in the regular season (82.8 percent). But mainly it was the Predators' continued problems with the power play, which has been a source of angst all season; they ranked last in the NHL (12.9 percent). 

"It's been frustrating," Nashville forward Craig Smith said. "Just to sit in the room and watch it, it's frustrating. Probably for the fans to sit there and watch it, it's frustrating. It [ticks] me off. We're making some adjustments, we're fixing things. That's all you can do, move forward and look forward to that next opportunity, because that's going to be the most important one."


2. Big-game Bishop

Stars goalie Ben Bishop came through with the kind of performance they needed in Game 1, when he made 30 saves. He was especially good in the first period; he stopped 11 of 12 shots when the Predators were their most aggressive and the Stars were struggling to get going. 

Bishop is 22-13-0 with a 2.08 goals-against average and .927 save percentage in 37 Stanley Cup Playoff games. 


3. Finish the job

Nashville was outstanding in the first period of Game 1, dictating the pace and playing a physical game. But it didn't continue, and midway through the second period, the Stars took over with speed and quickness. The Predators need to get back to what worked for them.

"You saw it in the first period," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "When we're on the attack and on our toes, we're playing good hockey. We just lost a little focus through the course of the game. It's not like we have to reinvent the wheel. Our guys know how to do it. We'll work to get it done."


4. Turn defense to offense

The Predators can usually count on their defensemen for offensive production, and they did have three points in Game 1 (Roman Josi and P.K. Subban each had a goal and Ryan Ellis assisted on Josi's goal). The Nashville defensemen combined for 197 points (43 goals, 154 assists) in the regular season. 


5. Benn and now

Stars forward Jamie Benn has 21 points (nine goals, 13 assists) in 20 NHL playoff games. Benn got the secondary assist on forward Mats Zuccarello's game-winning goal in Game 1, forcing a turnover to start the play and later controlling the puck behind the Nashville net.

"When he wants to win that puck, he's going to go win it," Dallas coach Jim Montgomery said. "That's why he's our captain."

Stars projected lineup

Jason Dickinson -- Tyler Seguin -- Alexander Radulov

Jamie Benn -- Roope Hintz -- Mats Zuccarello

Andrew Cogliano -- Radek Faksa -- Blake Comeau

Mattias Janmark -- Justin Dowling -- Tyler Pitlick

Esa Lindell -- John Klingberg

Miro Heiskanen -- Roman Polak

Taylor Fedun -- Ben Lovejoy

Ben Bishop

Anton Khudobin

Scratched: Julius Honka, Jason Spezza, Jamie Oleksiak, Valeri Nichushkin, Landon Bow

Injured: Stephen Johns (upper body), Marc Methot (lower body), Martin Hanzal (back), Brett Ritchie (hand)

Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg -- Ryan Johansen -- Viktor Arvidsson

Mikael Granlund -- Kyle Turris -- Craig Smith

Colton Sissons -- Nick Bonino -- Austin Watson

Brian Boyle -- Calle Jarnkrok -- Wayne Simmonds

Roman Josi -- Ryan Ellis

Mattias Ekholm -- P.K. Subban

Dan Hamhuis -- Dante Fabbro

Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

Scratched: Matt Irwin, Yannick Weber, Rem Pitlick, Zac Rinaldo, Miikka Salomaki, Cody McLeod, Frederick Gaudreau, Niclas Westerholm, Rocco Grimaldi

Injured: None

Status report

Neither team held a morning skate. … Spezza skated on a line with Nichushkin and Ritchie at practice Friday. correspondent Robby Stanley contributed to this report




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