Wednesday, January 4, 2012
There was a time when the stability of the Nashville Predators franchise was in doubt. There was a time when it seemed as if it were only a matter of time before the Predators would be moved from Nashville to Hamilton, Ontario. As Thursday night's game against the Dallas Stars approaches, one thing is clear: That time is long, long gone.
The city of Nashville has an opportunity to make regular season franchise history on Thursday night at 7 p.m. against Dallas as the Predators aim for their seventh consecutive sellout. It's a pretty big deal for the franchise, and the fact that it could possibly come this early in the season is particularly impressive.
Dallas is coming off of a 5-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night. The Stars currently sit in 10th place in the Western Conference with 43 points, and have gone 5-5-0 in their past 10 games.
Nashville is coming off of a 5-3 victory over the Calgary Flames. Sergei Kostitsyn notched his first career hat trick in that game, scoring on all three shots he took. Nashville has won three straight games and are 7-3-0 in their last 10 games.
All eyes will be on Shea Weber leading up to the game. It's unclear whether or not he will play Thursday night, but he has participated in both of the practices leading up to the game. Weber suffered a concussion on December 23 at Dallas.
In the last meeting between these two teams, Mark Fistric delivered a nasty hit to the head on Weber, which caused the concussion. It will be interesting to see how hard the hitting is between these two teams on Thursday night, especially when Fistric is the subject of the hit.
My player to watch for the Stars is Loui Eriksson. He's the second leading scorer on the Stars, and has a lot of offensive talent. The Gothenburg, Sweden native has five points in his last five games.
For Nashville, my player to watch is Jordin Tootoo. Tootoo's offense has been a big story this year for the Predators. He has already tied his career high for points in a season with 18, and he still has half of a season left to play. It will be interesting to see how he balances his physical game with his offensive game on Thursday night against the Stars.
(Photo Credit: Leanne Charles)