Apr 5, 2012, 8:09 AM EDT
The Dallas Stars have been fading lately with four losses in five games. For a team that was in a tight competition for one of the final playoff spots, going cold at this point of the season is simply unacceptable. Now, with two games remaining in every team’s schedule, the Stars are three points out of eighth place. That means the odds are heavily stacked against them in the battle for one of the final playoff spots, but if they want to at least keep pressure on the eighth place San Jose Sharks, the Stars need to beat the Nashville Predators on Thursday.
That will be a tough task for Dallas as the Predators are one of the most dangerous teams in the Western Conference. Nashville added Hal Gill, Paul Gaustad, and Andrei Kostitsyn in February and Alexander Radulov also returned to the club just a couple weeks ago. Those additions make Nashville a well balanced team with a handful of star players making up their core. The Predators have gone 4-2-0 in their last six games as they battle for the fourth seed with the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks.
For Nashville, a loss Thursday plus a Detroit win would mean that the Predators could finish no better than fifth place in the Western Conference, but a win keeps their seeding battle alive going into the final night of the regular season on Saturday.
The player to watch in this game is Dallas’ Loui Eriksson, who has no goals and two assists in his last seven games. It’s always painfully noticeable to a fanbase when their best player goes cold during the final stretch of the campaign, but with the Stars’ season on the line, he could break out tonight.
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