Dallas Stars Takeaways: 2/24/22 @ Nashville Predators

Dallas had the opportunity to climb within two points of Nashville for the first wild card in the Western Conference. The game featured 75 hits, nine penalties, and once again went past 60 minutes in what has become the usual between these two teams. 

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The Stars did not get the result they wanted but did put forth a gutty effort on the second night of a back-to-back to earn one point, eventually losing the game 2-1 in a shootout.

Stars Show Grit On Second Night Of Back-to Back

Dallas was coming off an intense overtime victory against the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday night, they were forced to fly to Nashville on the day of the game, and they were facing a Preds team that is hard to beat on home ice. However, they showed the type of grit and effort of an elite team, earning a point and giving themselves plenty of chances to come out on top. 

“It’s a good point, we deserved two,” Rick Bowness said. “Their goalie was the difference in the game, I thought we played our hearts out tonight. I was very happy with everything. We deserved the two, we didn’t get it. We’ll take the one and move on.”

Unfortunately, Dallas could not find enough goals at even strength once again as Jason Robertson scored the lone goal on a nice play in the second period. They have been one of the worst teams 5-on-5 all season and have only scored four times over their last six games. 

“I don’t know, it’s one of those dry spells,” Robertson said. “We had a pretty good first period and a lot of chances there and the second was a lot of special teams. It’s one of those dry spells but everyone in that locker room is trying to bury.”

Saros To The Rescue 

It is pretty easy to find the hero in this tilt. Juuse Saros made 27 saves and stopped all four Stars shooters in the shootout to earn his 25th win of the season. On the same night that Nashville retired Pekka Rinne’s jersey to the rafters, the young goaltender nearly singlehandedly beat one of their biggest rivals on home ice.

Dallas controlled most of the game, had the better of the scoring chances, and controlled the puck for an entire two-minute power play in overtime. None of that mattered though as Saros had an answer for all but one of their attempts. 

“He did a great job,” Robertson said. “There were a lot of fans there tonight so it definitely cheered the momentum and got him going. It was a good performance by him. We got out chances and he made some good stops. Wishing more went in but that’s hockey.”

Stars Power Play Stays Cold

Although it has been one of the biggest weapons for Dallas all season, the power play has run into a bit of a cold streak. Heading into tonight, the Stars have one of the league’s worst power plays in the month of February. Unfortunately, going 0-4 against the Predators only added to that stat. 

Related: Dallas Stars Bold Second Half Predictions 

The Stars had huge opportunities to take the lead and win with power plays late in the third period and early in overtime. Although the final two chances looked more dangerous, they did not have the same threat level Stars fans have grown accustomed to throughout the season. John Klingberg’s shot deflected off the crossbar and Saros made some big saves but overall, Dallas was simply not good enough. They have now gone 14 straight attempts without a power-play goal. 

“You’d like to get a few looks,” Ryan Suter said. “They did a good job killing, didn’t give us much. But it’s always nice if you can end the game that way.”

On the flip side, Nashville was even worse. The Preds went 0-5 on their power play and failed to register a single scoring chance on nearly all of them. This includes a double minor to Jamie Benn in the second period. 

Oettinger Is Stellar Once Again

Jake Oettinger started his ninth game in the last 10 for Dallas, including both sides of the back-to-back Wednesday and Thursday. The youngster was not tested frequently but made some key saves and controlled the flow of the game throughout. After only allowing one goal, he stopped the first three Predators shooters before Mikael Granlund snuck a shot through his legs to win the shootout. 

With the loss, Oettinger moves to 6-2-1 with a 1.85 goals-against average and .937 save percentage over his last nine games. 

Jake Oettinger Dallas Stars-Dallas Stars Takeaways: 2/24/22 @ Nashville Predators
Jake Oettinger, Dallas Stars (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

“Jake, he wants the ball,” Bowness laughed. “He wants to run with it. You’ve got to love that about him. He’s a workhorse and if you asked him to go to practice tomorrow, he would be the first one on the ice.”

The loss leaves Dallas at 59 points, even with the Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers but still on the outside of the playoff bubble due to tiebreakers. They have now gone 5-2-1 since the All-Star break, picking up 11 of the possible 16 points over that time. If they continue to play at that pace, it seems certain they will be a playoff team come May.

He Said It 

“I think our performance was as close to good as it gets in a back to back against a Central opponent,” Robertson said. “We are proud of our effort tonight.”

“I want to be the backbone for this team like he [Saros] is for them,” Oettinger said. 

Sam’s Three Stars 

  • Third Star: Mikael Granlund, NSH (shootout winner)
  • Second Star: Jason Robertson, DAL (1 goal, 4 shots, 3 hits)
  • First Star: Juuse Saros, NSH (27 saves on 28 shots, stopped all four Stars shooters in shootout)
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