Saturday night’s game was a prime example of how cruel the beautiful game of hockey can play. The Predators outplayed the Stars for stretches of this one and ended up with exactly zero points.

Good

-Overall, I liked the Predators’ effort in this one. At 5-on-5, the Predators had more shot attempts (49-37), scoring chances (14-12), and high-danger scoring chances (8-5). I particularly liked the way the Preds started in this game. I thought they came out and played at an aggressive pace. That pace was rewarded with a 1-0 lead. Coming in off the rush, Ryan Hartman showed great patience and vision as he hit a trailing Calle Jarnkrok with a tape-to-tape pass. Jarny gathered the puck and sniped the hell out of Anton Khudobin.

-The Predators also managed some pretty dangerous chances considering that the Stars are one of the better defensive teams in the league. Nashville was able to get to the slot with some degree of regularity and came close to scoring three or four goals in this one.

Credit: Natural Stat Trick

-P.K. Subban and Mattias Ekholm were outstanding on the back end for the Preds on Saturday night. Despite getting most of their ice time against Dallas’s top two lines — the second line featuring Jamie Benn especially — they had phenomenal numbers. When Subban and Ekholm were on the ice at 5-on-5, 75 percent of the shot attempts were in Nashville’s favor. Subban and Ekholm were able to quickly and effectively get the puck up ice to their teammates in order to generate offense, and Dallas didn’t spend much time in the zone with those two on the ice.

-Overall, Nashville didn’t defend poorly. Three bad breakdowns cost them the game, but outside of that the Predators were able to keep the area in front of Pekka Rinne pretty clean.

Credit: Natural Stat Trick

-This was the game where I decided that David Poile needs to give Ryan Hartman whatever he wants when he hits free agency this offseason. In the second period, Khudobin tripped up Hartzy. When Hartman confronted him about it, Khudobin didn’t want that smoke. Those two went back and forth before Esa Lindell made the grave mistake of fighting Hartman. Hartzy force fed him a couple of fists, got up, and fired up the crowd on his way to the penalty box like he was some kind of bash brother.

-Hartman’s edge and speed is something the Predators need in the bottom six, so I’d like for him to stick around a while.

-Filip Forsberg, in the midst of Filbruary, proved once again that he is not of this realm. I’m not sure if he is from the atsral plane or what, but what Forsberg did with the puck on Saturday was absurd. While killing a penalty, Fil came into the zone on a 1-on-4. He promptly flipped a puck over two Stars, caught it, and continued to kill time in the Dallas zone.

Bad

-The Predators didn’t exactly close this game out on a high note. The third period was the worst one of the game, which is really not ideal when the game is tied headed into the final 20 minutes. Nashville was out-everything’d in the final frame, except for high-danger scoring chances, which were tied. Rinne made some nice saves up until the end when the Stars broke through on a couple of goals. Like I said above, a few blown coverages cost the team big time. Here’s what happened on those.

-On Dallas’ first goal, they rimmed the puck around the boards and Radulov got to it first. He immediately kicked a pass out to an open Tyler Seguin cruising down the wing who beat Rinne on a rocket of a shot. For everyone crying every time Rinne comes out to play the puck behind the net, this is what can happen when he doesn’t. The other team streaks down the other side and tries to get a scoring chance out of it.

-On Dallas’ second goal, which came with less than five minutes left in the game, Radek Faksa won the battle for the puck along the boards. He kicked the puck out to Mattias Janmark in the slot, and he tipped the puck right out in front to Blake Comeau, who had escaped the coverage of Colton Sissons. It was an easy tuck in on a helpless Rinne. In other words, no one really did their job on this play.

-On the third goal and the one that broke the camel’s back, Rinne simply couldn’t corral a shot that he’d normally swallow up 99 times out of 100. The shot kicked out of his glove, the rebound laid right in front of him, and Janmark slammed it home. It’s a mistake that Rinne doesn’t normally make.

-As good as Subban and Ekholm were, Josi and Ellis seemed to really struggle against Dallas’ top line, and even in the limited time against the Stars’ third line. With those two on the ice at 5-on-5, the Stars got roughly two-thirds of the shot attempts. That’s not what you’d expect out of those two, who were on the ice for the team’s first two goals against.

-The power play continues to be in a funk. That unit hasn’t scored in nearly a month — on Jan. 9 against the Blackhawks. I believe this team is 0-for-110 on the power play since then. That’s not an exact calculation, but that’s what it feels like at this point. I do like the new set up of four forwards and one defenseman on the first unit. I think they’ve created a few more chances using that, but until it actually pays off it’s going to keep costing them games. If the Predators had been able to convert on one of these power plays, the game may have played out somewhat differently. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the man advantage — or the lack thereof — has cost this team a handful of points in the standings. Let’s pray to the hockey gods that the Preds end their power play drought against the Coyotes.

The Ugly

-Blake Comeau was a bit of an ass hat in this game. That’s just a stone cold fact. He gave Josi a nice punch to that beautiful mug on a roughing penalty. Then he boarded Subban before being man enough to take on Subban, who was given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for confronting him. Sad that today’s game is being watered down with fake tough guys like Comeau.

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