Central Division rivals, the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars, will meet for the first time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Season Series Refresh:
Nashville's regular season record against Dallas: 3-2-0
Goals: Nashville: Roman Josi (3); Dallas: Tyler Seguin (3)
Assists: Nashville: Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis (3); Dallas: Radek Faksa and Esa Lindell (4)
Points: Nashville: Roman Josi (6); Dallas: Esa Lindell (5)
Pekka Rinne: 1-2-0 record; GAA: 2.77; SV%: .916
Juuse Saros: 2-0-0 record; GAA: 2.96; SV%: .887
Ben Bishop*: 0-0-1 record; GAA: 4.80; SV%: .853
Anton Khudobin: 2-1-1 record; GAA: 2.01; SV%: .949
*Ben Bishop was out with injury for most of February
Video: Ekholm's OT winner helps Preds stay perfect on road
November 10, 2018, at American Airlines Center: Predators 5, Stars 4 (OT)
Nashville opened their regular-season meetings against Dallas by securing a hard-fought overtime victory over the Stars at American Airlines Center.
Scoring twice within the first two minutes of the third period thanks to Ryan Johansen and Yannick Weber, the Preds quickly erased a two-goal deficit and climbed back into the game. Another goal from the Stars midway through the third period put the Preds down by one again, but Preds Captain Roman Josi found the back of the net during a 6-on-4 advantage with just 43 seconds remaining in regulation, forcing the game into OT.
Just over two minutes into the extra session - and 41 seconds after leaving the penalty box - defenseman Mattias Ekholm caught a pass from Kyle Turris and buried the game-winner past Ben Bishop's left shoulder.
The victory stretched Nashville's road winning streak to eight - the third longest road winning streak to begin a season in NHL history. Juuse Saros made 20 saves, while Josi and Johansen collected two points apiece from a goal and assist each.
"We just don't give up," Ekholm said. "You can see it today, 3-1, they're close to getting 4-1. We just dig one out pretty much."
Video: NSH Recap: Predators can't solve Khudobin in 2-0 loss
December 27, 2018, at Bridgestone Arena: Stars 2, Predators 0
Nashville hosted Dallas in the first game back from the Christmas Break for the second meeting of the regular season against the Stars, this time falling, 2-0.
Anton Khudobin frustrated the Predators offense, stopping 49 shots and earning his first shutout of the season. Stars forward Tyler Pitlick - cousin of Preds forward Rem Pitlick - scored the game-winner at just 7:20 of the first period, and Mattias Janmark put another past Pekka Rinne midway through the second to seal the deal.
"We had good looks tonight; we put nearly every shot attempt on the net and not a lot of teams can do that," Preds defenseman P.K. Subban said. "For us, we would like to get more bodies in the paint and make it tougher on them, but you have to give them credit. They did a great job of boxing us out, but I thought we did a better job in front of our goaltender as well with boxing out and clearing pucks."
Video: NSH Recap: Jarnkrok scores in loss to Stars
February 2, 2019, at Bridgestone Arena: Stars 3, Predators 1
Nashville returned to Bridgestone Arena, but came up short against Dallas at the beginning of February, falling to the Stars 3-1 at home.
The Predators struck first with a goal from Calle Jarnkrok at 9:35 of the first period, but the Stars responded with a goal of their own just under two minutes later. In the third period, Dallas stung the Preds defense, scoring two goals just 43 seconds apart and securing their fourth win in a row.
Anton Khudobin performed well against Nashville yet again, stopping 38 shots.
"We played a pretty good first two periods," Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "I didn't like the way we started the third period. I thought that they came out, probably in the first five or six minutes, and just stayed in our end and outworked us a little bit, got some opportunities, some chances. I thought we corrected it for about 10 minutes after that. The game was going back and forth."
Video: Johansen scores OT winner for Preds against Stars
February 7, 2019, at Bridgestone Arena: Predators 3, Stars 2 (OT)
The Predators turned things around in their fourth regular-season showdown against Dallas, securing their second overtime win versus the Stars in front of a home crowd.
Nashville's first line - Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson - found success against the Stars and Anton Khudobin, who stepped in for Ben Bishop after the Stars' starting goaltender was placed on Injured Reserve with an upper-body injury.
Craig Smith put the Preds on the board first, scoring off an odd bounce late in the first period. Arvidsson put the Preds ahead 2-1 at 8:41 of the third period, with linemates Forsberg and Johansen each earning assists.
Stars defenseman Taylor Fedun responded with a goal just a little over a minute later, forcing the game into overtime. But just 43 seconds into the extra time, Johansen and Arvidsson struck again, scoring the game-winner and earning two points apiece.
The result snapped Dallas' five-game win streak and extended Nashville's record against the Stars to 2-2-0.
"It's good to get a win just because they've beaten us the last two times," Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "In the end, we got ourselves a lead. They came back and tied it, then we pressed forward again and got ourselves a win in the overtime. I like the perseverance of our group tonight."
Forward Brian Boyle also made his Predators debut and former Predator Cody McLeod donned Gold once more after the pair were acquired in separate trades on Feb. 6.
Video: Josi scores twice in the 3rd as Predators beat Stars
February 19, 2019, at American Airlines Center: Predators 5, Stars 3
Nashville finished strong in their fifth and final regular-season meeting against Dallas, topping the Stars 5-3 at American Airlines Center.
Brian Boyle got things started for the Predators in the first period, tapping in a rebound from Roman Josi after finishing a big check on Tyler Seguin at the other end of the ice. The goal was Boyle's second with Nashville.
Rocco Grimaldi and Filip Forsberg added goals for Nashville in the second period, while Roman Josi scored a pair to wrap things up in the third period and finished the game with three points (2g-1a). Defenseman Ryan Ellis also tallied three assists, while Pekka Rinne made 36 saves for the Preds.
"We played a desperate team that played with a lot of edge and a lot of attitude tonight," Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "They were fighting for their lives. Like us, they've been losing some games and they've had some games not go their way, and that makes them on point trying to grab the two points. I was really happy with the response from the last game and the fact that we were able to come back from that game and put it away."