Dallas Stars vs. Nashville Predators Pick & Prediction JANUARY 12th 2024

Coming off a pair of lopsided victories, the Dallas Stars are out for revenge when they host the Nashville Predators on Friday.

The Central Division rivals have split their first two games of the season, and most recently squared off just last Saturday. The Predators claimed a 4-3 win in Dallas on the strength of two third-period goals from Filip Forsberg.

That loss marked the Stars’ third one-goal defeat in as many games, yet the team bounced back in strong fashion. After shutting out the Minnesota Wild by a 4-0 score on Monday, the Stars dominated the Wild again in a 7-2 rout on Wednesday.

Twelve different Stars players had at least one point on Wednesday, led by Esa Lindell’s three assists. Despite the well-rounded offensive attack, Dallas coach Pete DeBoer was more impressed by another sturdy defensive effort.

“We need to play that way in front of our goaltenders to give ourselves a chance here. And I think we’ve kind of risen to the occasion. … Our commitment was pretty good tonight that way,” DeBoer said.

Minnesota had only 23 shots in each of the two games, continuing the Stars’ recent success at limiting opponents’ chances. In 10 games since Dec. 21, Dallas leads the NHL with an average of 24.4 shots allowed per game.

The Predators had only 22 shots against Dallas last Saturday, yet still managed the victory. However, Nashville’s fortunes were reversed in their last outing, a 5-3 home loss on Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks. The Predators had 42 shots but didn’t score until midway through the third period, when Anaheim had already built a five-goal lead.

“We can say we pushed a little bit, but that should happen when you’re in a huge hole like that,” Nashville defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. “Just a really poor start for us, and we’ve got to hold ourselves accountable. … We’ve got to be better.”

Gustav Nyquist tallied an assist Tuesday to extend his points streak to nine games. Nyquist has 13 points (six goals, seven assists) during those nine games, and the forward is one game away from matching his longest points streak of his 12 NHL seasons.

Since the Predators also play on Saturday against the New York Islanders, Juuse Saros and Kevin Lankinen figure to split the two starts in net.

Lankinen stopped 26 of 29 Dallas shots last Saturday and might be favored to face the Stars again in order to give the struggling Saros an extra rest day. Saros is 1-3-1 with an .835 save percentage over his last five games.

Dallas is also entering a pair of back-to-back games, so Scott Wedgewood and Matt Murray will likely split goaltending duties against the Predators Friday and the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.

Jake Oettinger (lower-body injury) has been skating in practice but it isn’t clear if the goalie is quite ready to return to the ice during these next two games. Wedgewood has been a workhorse in starting 12 of the Stars’ last 13 games in Oettinger’s absence.

Forsberg leads the Predators with 45 points (21 goals, 24 assists). Jason Robertson has 41 points (15 goals, 26 assists) to lead the Stars.

–Field Level Media

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