The Nashville Predators will look to avenge yesterday's loss this evening when they host the Dallas Stars at Bridgestone Arena, the final game for the Preds before their League-mandated, five-day break, which begins on Monday. Sunday's matchup is the fourth of five meetings this season between the Central-Division foes with the Preds going 1-2-0 against the Stars thus far.
Nashville is coming off a 7-4 loss to the Florida Panthers yesterday afternoon, a game that saw Viktor Arvidsson record his first career hat trick. But other than Arvidsson's efforts, there wasn't much for the Predators to celebrate, a fact their bench boss echoed after the game.
"We didn't play with any purpose," Head Coach Peter Laviolette said after the game. "No passion. No effort. You're never going to win a hockey game [like that]. The actions that we gave are going to give us the results that we got. It's that simple."
Ryan Johansen remains in the team lead with 40 points on the season, followed by Arvidsson with 38, Filip Forsberg with 34 and Mike Fisher with 32 points. Arvidsson's 18 goals lead the team and James Neal is in second with 17 tallies. Pekka Rinne started Saturday's game against Florida but was pulled in favor of Juuse Saros after giving up four goals. Rinne is 21-14-6 on the season, Saros is 5-5-2.
Dallas defeated Carolina by a 5-2 yesterday. Tyler Seguin leads the Stars in scoring with 51 points, followed by Jamie Benn with 49. Patrick Eaves has tallied 21 times this season; Seguin has 20 and Benn has 17. Kari Lehtonen got the win for Dallas on Saturday and is 12-16-6; Antti Niemi is 10-8-4.
As the Preds look for a win before the five-day break, here are three things to watch:
Video: Coach Laviolette previews today's game versus Dallas
Play With Purpose:
Peter Laviolette and his players were frustrated after Saturday's loss. The Preds head coach stated during his postgame comments that he expects a much better effort from his team today than what he saw in the defeat to Florida.
"The only good thing right now is that we play [today]," Laviolette said. "[We] get a chance to move forward and take something that was ugly and try to learn from it and be better prepared. A lot of times, they say you should put [a game like that] in the trashcan and forget about it. I think we should take it home and wrestle with it all night."
Video: FLA@NSH: Arvidsson secures his first career hat trick
Hats for Arvi:
Viktor Arvidsson simply continues to impress, most recently adding his first career hat trick on Saturday and taking over the team lead in goals with 18. Arvidsson moved back up to the Preds top line with Ryan Johansen and Filip Forsberg, and the chances kept coming for No. 38. He's been key in many of Nashville's recent contests and is always a player to watch when he's on the ice.
Video: Watson and Irwin discuss today's game versus Dallas
Both Nashville and Dallas are on the second half of a back-to-back this afternoon, with the Stars traveling from Texas to Tennessee after their win over Carolina on Saturday. The fatigue factor will be relatively even for both teams - plus, both teams are desperate for wins at this stage of the season. Add to it the fact that the Preds are about to embark on a five-day break; no doubt they'd like to enter it with a good feeling in tow.
When You Go:
The NHL Centennial Fan Arena has one more day in town, open to all, free of charge from 1-8 p.m. CT today on the Bridgestone Arena plaza. The first 4,000 children to enter the building will receive a pair of Gnash socks. Doors to Bridgestone Arena open at 3 p.m. CT for the 5 p.m. puck drop.
Take It In:
Pregame coverage on Fox Sports Tennessee begins at 4:30 p.m. CT with Predators Live! presented by Nissan. The Predators Pregame Show begins at 4 p.m. on 102.5 The Game and the Preds Radio Network.