Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff isn’t worrying about his high-octane offense getting it in gear - after all, the team has erupted for nine goals on just 48 shots in its first two games. Ruff, however, has his eyes set on the other end of the ice as his sputtering defense looks to get untracked on Tuesday as the Stars visit the Central Division-rival Nashville Predators.
“It’s attention to detail,” Ruff said of his team yielding eight goals in its first two contests, with five straight tallies spoiling an early two-goal lead in a 6-5 loss to Colorado on Saturday. “We had some bad changes. We had some careless play in the defensive end. We got off to a good start and then let our game slip.” Nashville struggled right out of the gate on Saturday, surrendering three goals in just under four minutes to drop the back end of a home-and home series with Chicago. Craig Smith scored a power-play goal in the 5-3 loss for the Predators, who are 4-for-8 with the man advantage this season.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest (Dallas), FSN Tennessee (Nashville)
ABOUT THE STARS (1-1-0): Devin Shore is turning heads in Dallas, as the 22-year-old collected a goal and an assist after being elevated to the second line on Saturday and found himself paired with Patrick Sharp and Brett Ritchie again during Monday’s practice. “He got moved up the lineup in the last game, played well defensively, made a nice play to Ritchie and scored on a great shot on the 2-on-1 goal,” Ruff said. “For a guy I threw up in the top-six late in the game, he really played well.” Veteran Jason Spezza worked on the third line in Monday’s practice and Adam Cracknell centered the fourth, but Ruff admitted that the defensive pairings are “still a work in progress and will be.”
ABOUT THE PREDATORS (1-1-0): Offseason acquisition P.K. Subban has hit a few high notes with a goal and an assist for the Music City representatives, who have great expectations heading into the season. “It’s a special group,” Subban said. “If we just focus on what we’re doing on the ice, we’re going to have a lot of success. We have to play hard and keep moving forward.” Pekka Rinne, who turned aside 22 of 24 shots in a 3-2 win over Chicago on Friday, will get the nod on Tuesday and will look to improve upon his 11-7-2 career mark (with three shutouts) against the Stars.
1. Dallas won four of the five meetings between the Central Division rivals last season, although it owns just a 2-4-1 mark in Music City over the last three campaigns.
2. Nashville D Anthony Bitetto will be sidelined four-to-six weeks and F Miikka Salomaki is out six-to-eight as both deal with upper-body injuries.
3. Stars veteran F Jiri Hudler (illness) is doubtful to play versus the Predators, according to Ruff.
PREDICTION: Predators 5, Stars 4