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The Nashville Predators are 2-1-0 with four points after the first three games of the NHL regular season and in third place in the Central division. Nashville opened the season with a two-game sweep of the Columbus Blue Jackets winning the opener 3-1 and the second 5-2. The Predators were then defeated by Carolina 4-2 before their fourth game of the season was postponed due to covid protocols. The Predators have had strong play out of goalie Juuse Saros and the blue line, while the Nashville forwards struggled against the Hurricanes scoring just twice in the loss.
Dallas has yet to drop the puck in its 2021 NHL regular season as the Stars have had each of their first four games postponed due to covid issues. Last season Dallas lost to Tampa Bay in the Stanley Cup finals. The Stars were 37-24-8 and finished fourth in the Western Conference. Dallas will start the season without two of its top players as forward Tyler Seguin and goalie Ben Bishop underwent surgeries during the off-season and both are likely to be out the first 2 months.
Defense and goaltending Lead the Way
Through the first three games of the regular season, Nashville has seen excellent play from its blue line and goalies. The Predators as a team are allowing an average of 2.33 goals per game. Juuse Saros is 2-0-0 with a goals-against average of 1.50 and save percentage of .959. Saros has pushed aside 71 of the 74 shots he has faced in net. Pekka Rinne is 0-1-0 with a goals-against-average of 3.04 and save percentage of .869. Rinne has pushed aside 20 of the 23 shots he has faced in goal. The penalty kill unit for Nashville has been effective 87.5% of the time.
Nashville is scoring an average of 3.33 goals per game. The Predators are led in goal scoring by Filip Forsberg with three and Forsberg is the leader in points as well with three. Viktor Arvidsson is the leader in assists. The power play for Nashville is scoring just 9.1% of the time. Luke Kuhn has started the season strong with a pair of goals, while Arvidsson, Matt Duchene and Dante Fabbro all have two assists apiece.
Injury Report: Mikael Granlund and Luca Sbisa are both out indefinitely for the Predators.
Stars Must Avoid Post-Cup Hangover
The Dallas Stars must avoid a post-Stanley Cup hangover when they open their regular-season on Friday, January 22. Dallas lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2020 Stanley Cup finals and need to start the season strong to avoid falling into the trap of having a poor season following a Stanley Cup Finals loss. That could be hard since Dallas opens this evening without its leading scorer from last year Tyler Seguin, who had offseason surgery as well as top goalie Ben Bishop, who is always rehabilitating from surgery.
However, Dallas will have forwards Jamie Benn who scored 19 goals and assisted on 20 others and Alexander Radulov who scored 15 goals and assisted on 19 others. Anton Khudobin was 16-8-4 with a goals-against average of 2.22 and a save percentage of .930 in 30 games, including 26 starts, last season. Khudobin was instrumental in helping the Stars reach the Cup finals last season when Bishop was injured. Miro Heiskanen will be a key cog in Dallas’ success. The defenseman scored eight goals and assisted on 27 others in 68 games during the regular season and added 26 points on six goals and 20 assists during 27 playoff games.
Injury Report: The previously mentioned Tyler Seguin and Ben Bishop around for at least two months, while there is a laundry list of several players out indefinitely because if covid-19 issues and that will have an effect on the success of the Stars beginning the regular season.
- Dallas is 1-4 in the last five
- The Stars are 5-10 in the last 15 at home
- Nashville is 4-1 in the last five during January
The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Nashville has won two of its first three games of the NHL regular season, while Dallas has had each of its first four games postponed and the Stars will be playing short-handed. Dallas is without last season’s top scorer Tyler Seguin and starting goalie Ben Bishop. In addition, Dallas has several players out indefinitely due to exposure to covid-19. The Stars will also be fighting against the dreaded “Stanley Cup hangover” after losing the Cup Final to Tampa Bay last season. The Stars are 1-4 over the last five games played dating back to the Stanley Cup finals.
Nashville Predators -110
Full-Game Total Pick
Although Ben Bishop is sidelined for Dallas, Anton Khudobin is more than adequate in goal. Last season Khudobin posted a 2.22 goals against average in 30 games with the Stars. Nashville is off to a strong start on defense allowing an average of just 2.33 goals per game and Juuse Saros has a goals against average in two outings of 1.50 per game. Dallas is known for its excellent defense and the total has finished under in four of the last five the Stars have played against the Predators.