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5 Keys: Predators at Stars, Game 3

Nashville must stay disciplined; Dallas needs to take advantage of home ice

by Tracey Myers @Tramyers_NHL / Staff Writer


9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS, FS-SW, FS-TN

Best-of-7 series tied 1-1


[RELATED: Complete Predators vs. Stars series coverage]


The Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars will play Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round at American Airlines Center on Monday.

When a best-of-7 series is tied 1-1, the winner of Game 3 is 212-100 all time (67.9 percent).

Here are 5 keys for Game 3:


1. Goaltending

If you're a fan of good goaltending, this series hasn't disappointed. Stars goalie Ben Bishop has a 1.92 goals-against average and .946 save percentage through two games.

Video: DAL@NSH, Gm2: Bishop turns away Jarnkrok and Grimaldi

Pekka Rinne wasn't tested as often as Bishop in Game 2, when the Predators outshot the Stars 42-23, but he's also been good for Nashville (1.97 GAA, .923 save percentage). 


2. Grimaldi factor

Predators forward Rocco Grimaldi is in the lineup for Game 3 with forwards Brian Boyle (appendix procedure) and Wayne Simmonds (lower body) each week to week. 

Grimaldi, who had not skated in a Stanley Cup Playoff game since playing two games with the Florida Panthers in the 2016 Eastern Conference First Round, made a big impact when he scored his first NHL postseason goal in the second period of Game 2. 

"It's been such a long journey for me to get here that every game means the world to me," Grimaldi said. "All I want to do is help our team win by whatever means necessary, whether it's scoring a goal, taking a hit to make a play, blocking a shot, whatever. I just want to help our team win a game."


3. Generating more chances

Though the Stars weren't concerned about the quantity of shots on goal, they want to get more quality opportunities in Game 3. 

"They got to the net front," coach Jim Montgomery said. "The winning goal [from Predators forward Craig Smith] is a perfect example. I don't know if I ever saw us have an opportunity like that all night, 5-on-5."


4. Staying disciplined

The Predators took seven penalties in Game 2, three from defenseman Mattias Ekholm including an unsportsmanlike conduct that coupled with an interference call gave the Stars back-to-back power plays at 10:55 of the first period.

Though Nashville was 6-for-6 on the penalty kill, they must be more disciplined in Game 3.

 Video: Reaction to Predators' Game 2 OT win against Stars


5. Home-ice advantage?

The Stars were 24-14-3 at American Airlines Center in the regular season and hope that continues in the playoffs. But the Predators were 22-15-4 on the road and 2-0-0 in Dallas.

"We've got to manage the surges," Stars forward Mats Zuccarello said. "We just have to stay in the moment the whole time, use our fans to our advantage. We're coming home, we're excited about that. But nothing's going to change."


Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg -- Ryan Johansen -- Viktor Arvidsson

Mikael Granlund -- Kyle Turris -- Craig Smith

Colton Sissons -- Nick Bonino -- Austin Watson

Miikka Salomaki -- Calle Jarnkrok -- Rocco Grimaldi

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, Cody McLeod, Frederick Gaudreau, Niclas Westerholm

Injured: Brian Boyle (appendix procedure), Wayne Simmonds (lower body)


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

Jamie Oleksiak -- Ben Lovejoy

Ben Bishop

Anton Khudobin

Scratched: Julius Honka, Jason Spezza, Taylor Fedun, Valeri Nichushkin, Landon Bow

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


Status report

Salomaki will play for the first time since Jan. 4. ... Zuccarello and Janmark didn't participate in the morning skate but are expected to play. Janmark, who missed part of the second period of Game 2 with a lower-body injury, will be evaluated during warmups. … Oleksiak will make his first appearance of the series, replacing Fedun.



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