Dallas Stars Look to End Shootout-Loss Streak Against Nashville Predators

Ken ArmerSenior Writer IOctober 13, 2009

DALLAS - OCTOBER 15:  Defenseman Trevor Daley #6 of the Dallas Stars during play against the Nashville Predators at the American Airlines Center on October 15, 2008 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

As the young season continues after their Western Canadian road trip, the Stars find themselves in an interesting spot, a limbo where the team may either be in a good position, or bad. For those at a loss as to what I am referring, it is the team's record. While Dallas is only one of two teams without a regulation loss thus far the Stars have dropped three games in the shootout.

Some fans are concerned the team is headed for doom. Others, who believe the team is just trying to find its mojo, have no real answers for what the struggle is about. I have some answers, and can tell you where to find the rest.

One fact is the Stars aren't getting it done in overtime. Five minutes isn't a long time, but with all the offensive weapons the Stars have, if things start clicking the Stars should be able to dominate the offensive zone in the extra period.

The Stars lack of regulation losses is a good thing. Thus far, the Stars have only truly played one bad period all season, the second period against Vancouver. The Stars found themselves out-played and out-motivated by the Canucks, something that must change going forward.

To the fans concerned and sweating buckets over the record, I urge you not to worry. A coronary isn't worth it this early in the season. Hold the trips to the emergency room until January when the injuries pile up.

For now take solace in the fact the Stars are well in the division points race of the Pacific Division. Once the wins start rolling in the team will be in a pretty position to take over the Division.

At this point the Stars are still finding themselves, so any points they can get are better than none. Currently, we don't have solid answers on what to expect from this team. If asked whether they are good or bad merely say, "meh, they're earning points."

Against the Predators, the Stars must show the home fans they are capable of winning in 60 minutes. The key against Nashville is the penalty kill, something which thus far has left a bad taste in many Stars' mouths.

"Our penalty kill has been really disappointing," said captain Brenden Morrow to Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News. "What are we, 50 percent this year? It’s pretty miserable."

"Pretty miserable" are my thoughts exactly. For the Stars to be a force in big games, special teams are key. Unfortunately while the penalty kill makes one want to stab their eyes out with scissors, the powerplay isn't much better.

The game against Nashville will boil down to who is better on the special teams side. Nashville is a talented team with solid goaltending and not the soft team of the past. With threats like Jason Arnott in front of the Dallas net, the Stars could make one mistake and lose the game easily.

Ken's Key's to the game:

1. Minimize the penalty kill time, if a team hemorrhages goals with a man short, it follows logically not to take stupid penalties until you address those issues.

2. Steve Ott was injured after pulling an oblique muscle in the Vancouver game and will likely not play until after he is reevaluated later this week. Someone (Brian Sutherby) must step up and play with the reckless abandon Stars fans love from Steve Ott.

Heck, Dallas loves Steve Ott so much October Fest is now "Ott-tober Fest." Regardless of the Stars bad marketing ploys, Steve Ott's inability to be on the ice will make it harder for this team to win.

Dallas will face the Nashville Predators on Wednesday at 7:30pm central at the American Airlines Center. The game can be viewed in the Texas area on Fox Sports Southwest and heard on 1310 The Ticket in Dallas.

Ken Armer is a Community Leader for the NHL and the Dallas Stars for Bleacher Report. He also covers the Anaheim Ducks for SoCalSportsHub.com and covers the Texas and Dallas Stars for Hockey54.com. He can be contacted at karmer@bleacherreport.com.