Chance for quick bounce back could be just what Stars need
After its shutout loss, Dallas gets a fast turnaround, returning home to face Nashville again on Saturdayby Jeff Odom @jeffodom / DallasStars.com
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- As much as Thursday's 2-0 shutout loss against the Predators left the Stars disappointed, they will have a chance to make up for it in just two days.
That's one positive of this late-season home-and-home between the Central Division rivals, giving both teams an early glimpse at what the challenges of playoff hockey may present.
"It's like a little playoff," Stars center Radek Faksa said of playing two straight games against Nashville. "Playing back-to-back with the same teams, so it's like a miniseries … and it can be huge for us going on to the playoffs."
At this moment, it can also be huge toward getting Dallas back on track with just 15 games remaining as they look to halt what is now a four-game winless skid (0-2-2).
Video: Stars can't match Preds desperation in Nashville
On Thursday, despite firing 33 shots on Predators goalie Juuse Saros, the Stars failed to find the back of the net or convert on all four of their power-play opportunities. The Predators went 2-for-4, handing Dallas its first shutout defeat since a 7-0 drubbing at Minnesota just before the All-Star break.
"We can't take anything for granted ... we have points that we need to go earn," veteran forward Joe Pavelski said.
In need of a bounce-back effort before, the Stars have prevailed against these same Predators.
In the first round last postseason, the Stars dropped Game 2 in Nashville and were then upended at home in Game 3 to fall behind in the series, 2-1. They responded by taking Games 4, 5 and 6 to move on to face the eventual Cup champion Blues in the second round.
Video: Pavelski: "execution felt low" in Nashville
Sure, playoffs are an entirely different animal when compared to the regular season. But for a Stars team jockeying for position and still alive in the fight with both Colorado and St. Louis for first place in the Central, they can't get much closer to a playoff-like situation than this.
Now, it will be up to them to find a way to get it done.
"It's the desperation that they (the Predators) played with that we didn't play with that's disappointing," Stars interim coach Rick Bowness said.
"Again, we haven't done anything yet. We don't have a spot. … So we expect our desperation level to pick up a whole lot by Saturday afternoon."
Preds fans express displeasure toward Perry
A little more than two months after his ejection from the Winter Classic for elbowing Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis in the head, Stars winger Corey Perry was greeted Thursday with vocal displeasure from the Predators' faithful around Bridgestone Arena.
Needless to say, there would be no southern hospitality on this night. The jeers directed at Perry began during pregame introductions and continued each time he touched the puck throughout the contest.
Video: Stars quest for offensive consistency continues
On the ice, Perry got into a brief post-whistle fracas with Predators defenseman Jarred Tinordi along the boards early in the first period and exchanged words and stick whacks with Ryan Johansen just before the first intermission.
Perry said afterward that he was unfazed by the noise.
"No," he said when asked about the crowd, "I didn't hear it."
Bigger than the game
For the first time since deadly tornadoes swept through Middle Tennessee earlier this week, killing at least 24 people, the Predators played a home game with heavy hearts.
Before puck drop, the team held a moment of silence to honor the victims. Predators players wore helmet stickers, and coaches and TV broadcasters donned white T-shirts emblazoned with the phrase "Nashville Strong" in blue and gold text.
Standing with the Predators, the Dallas Stars Foundation will donate a portion of money raised from Saturday's 50/50 Raffle fundraiser to tornado relief efforts. You can also donate through the foundation by clicking here.
Spend your afternoon with the Stars when they return home to battle the Nashville Predators at American Airlines Center on Saturday at 1 p.m. Get your tickets now!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.
Jeff Odom is the manager of DallasStars.com and writes about the Stars/NHL. Follow him on Twitter @jeffodom.