The Dallas Stars look to make up some ground in the Central Division race as they play three games this week. The red hot St. Louis Blues have managed to jump them in the standings and the Stars don’t want to fall too far back of that third spot.

The Stars will take on a struggling Nashville Predators on Tuesday night. The impressive St. Louis Blues come to town on Thursday night and the Stars are going to need to be ready to play from the drop of the puck. The week ends on Saturday night against the Carolina Hurricanes, who beat the Stars on Feb. 16 at home.

1) Tuesday, Feb. 19 vs. Predators- 8:30 p.m. ET – ESPN+

This is a big game for both teams since they have hit a rough patch. The Nashville Predators have a more balanced lineup than the Stars, but not by much. The Stars have the advantage on the power play since the Predators have the worst one in the League. This should be a good game with the teams looking to keep pace in the playoff race.

The Stars Will Win If…

They can play a good defensive game and get some scoring from the other three lines. The Predators have not had a problem scoring and converting their chances this season so the Stars are going to have to get back to playing good team defense. They’ll want to eliminate the ill-timed turnovers in their own zone and in the neutral zone since the Preds can turn those into quick goals. The depth scoring is going to need to get involved and establish some kind of cycle game or offensive zone attack time. The depth players also need to cash in on their chances when they get them.

Matchup of the Game

If the Stars can manage to win the even strength battle then they should win the game. The Predators score most of their goals at even strength since they have an awful power play, which has only scored 26 goals this season. The Stars need to win the battles and get to loose pucks to keep pace with the Preds at even strength. The Stars just need to get some pucks on net.

Game Prediction

The Stars are going to lose this game by a score of 3-1 and the Predators will pick up an important two points. The Predators goals will be scored by Filip Forsberg, Kevin Fail and Viktor Arvidsson. Tyler Seguin will score the only goal for the Stars.

2) Thursday, Feb. 21 vs. Blues- 8:30 p.m. ET

This is an important game in the standings for both teams. The Stars are battling to keep pace with the other teams in the Western Conference playoff race, while the St. Louis Blues are the hottest team in the NHL. The Blues have turned their season around and have gone from last place in the Western Conference to a playoff spot.

The Stars Will Win If…

They get the first goal of the game and keep the pressure on in the offensive zone. The Blues are a much better team when playing with the lead as opposed to playing from behind. The Blues are 7-16-2 when the opposition scores first and have only come from behind five times to get points when trailing in the third period in 23 games this season. The Stars should establish the forecheck and cycle game early and keep attacking.

Players to Watch

Jamie Benn hasn’t exactly been lighting it up in the points department this season so look for him to start ramping up his play to try to help the Stars stay in playoff contention. Vladimir Tarasenko has been on fire of late, just like his team. In his last five games played he has seven goals, six assists and 13 total points. It will be tough trying to defend him, but the Stars need to be physical with him and make him work for his space and chances.

Game Prediction

This is not a game for the goalies and it will reflect in the 4-3 final score. The Blues will continue to stay hot while the Stars continue to be inconsistent. The four goals for the Blues will be scored by Brayden Schenn, Vladimir Tarasenko, Colton Parayko and Tyler Bozak. The Stars get goals from Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Mattias Janmark.

3) Saturday, Feb. 23 vs. Hurricanes- 5 p.m. ET

The Stars will be looking for some revenge on the Carolina Hurricanes after taking the loss in Raleigh just a week ago. The ‘Canes have a balanced lineup and have been getting decent goaltending on this run that they’ve put together of late. The Stars need to find some of what the Hurricanes have been doing to get back on track and get some points.

The Stars Will Win If…

They can take advantage on special teams both on the power play and the penalty kill. The Hurricanes power play is ranked 23rd in the NHL and its penalty kill is ranked 14th, which is about the middle of the pack. The Stars power play is ranked 16th but is over 20% for the season. The penalty kill is where the Stars have a big advantage in this game because they rank 7th in the NHL, and they’ve scored four shorthanded goals. The Stars need to not overthink things when on the power play and just keep doing what they’ve been doing all season when killing penalties.

Matchup of the Game

The goalies will play an important part in this game, whether it is the starters or the backup. Ben Bishop is sidelined with an injury so Anton Khudobin has been getting a majority of the starts for the Stars lately. Petr Mrazek has seemed to find his game with the Hurricanes even though his record might not reflect that. He is 13-12-3 with a 2.63 GAA and a .902 save percentage and he also has two shutouts. Curtis McElhinney has played solid when he has been in net for the Hurricanes. Whether it be Mrazek or McElhinney in net, the Stars need to get plenty of puck towards the net.

Game Prediction

The Stars get their revenge for last week’s loss, but they’ll need to work for it. The Hurricanes are a decent defensive team and so are the Stars so this game will be close as long as the turnovers are limited. The Stars get the 2-1 win and their goals come from Alexander Radulov and John Klingberg. The Hurricanes lone goal is scored by Nino Niederreiter.


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