Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros, left, celebrates with defenseman Mattias Ekholm after the Predators defeated the Chicago Blackhawks in an NHL hockey game in Chicago, Saturday, March 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
- The Nashville Predators are home favorites against the Dallas Stars for their May 1st game that will be pivotal in determining the final Central Division playoff spot
- ESPN+ will broadcast the game on Saturday at 8:00 pm ET
- Here are the odds, lines, picks, and analysis for the game
If the Dallas Stars defeat the Nashville Predators in their May 1st , 2021, game at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, the two teams will be tied for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central Division.
If the Predators win the game in regulation, they will have a four-point lead with four games remaining. The Stars will have five games left after Saturday’s encounter.
The Predators are enticing home favorites because they are 15-10-0 in Nashville this season and are 27-24 against the spread this season.
Stars vs Predators Odds – May 1st
|Dallas Stars||-108||+1.5 (-295)||O 5 (-136)|
|Nashville Predators||-108||-1.5 (+240)||U 5 (+112)|
Odds as of April 30 at DraftKings.
Stars Put the ‘D’ in Dallas
When the Dallas Stars are playing well, the ice looks like Dallas freeways at rush hour. Congestion. No room to maneuver. Traffic everywhere. The Stars are the NHL’s sixth-best defensive team because they know how to prevent opponents from flying up the highways.
Defense is why the Stars reached the Stanley Cup Final last season and it’s why the Stars are in the hunt for a playoff spot in the Central Division this season.
The Stars are an average offensive team, but they are more dynamic offensively today because forward Roope Hintz (14-24–38) has taken another quantum leap in his development, and California native Jason Robertson (15-25–40) has been a dazzling rookie.
Jason Robertson: Rookie of the Year?
The @DallasStars newcomer is currently on a nine-game point streak as the team makes a push for the #StanleyCup Playoffs. pic.twitter.com/OHW7tTyhgY
— NHL (@NHL) April 29, 2021
The Predators: Flawed But Determined
The Predators rank 21st offensively (2.67 goals per game), 17th defensively (2.86 goals-against per game) and 25th on the powerplay (17.9%).
Unlike the other Central playoff contenders, they have given up more goals than they have scored.
But over the past month, their goaltending has been sharp, their defensively play has been consistent and their scoring touch has been opportunistic. The result: a 16-6-1 record in their last 23 games and a shot at making the playoffs. The odds are in their favor.
All attention is on the #Preds and the Stars meeting on Saturday.
– #Preds playoff chances: 83%
– First-round opponent: Carolina (70%), Tampa Bay (12%)https://t.co/ndF0gIS2Vs
— Thomas Willis (@TomAWillis) April 28, 2021
Seguin Expected to Play Soon
The Stars aren’t saying exactly when Tyler Seguin will return to the lineup, but the anticipation is that he will play some games before the regular-season ends. Last week, coach Rick Bowness said hoped Seguin might play this week. Others have said he is “getting close.”
Seguin, the team’s No. 1 center, had offseason hip surgery to repair a torn labrum and has not played this season. The Stars’ Alexander Radulov is also out, and won’t be returning this season.
Tyler Seguin is getting closer to making his return to the #Stars lineup 👀 pic.twitter.com/67Uba9536X
— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) April 29, 2021
The Predators are playing without their usual leading scorer Filip Forsberg who has an upper body injury. He won’t play against the Stars, but he is now considered day-to-day. He has not played since March 25. Defenseman Dante Fabbro is expected to return next week, and Viktor Arvidsson is day-to-day.
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Don’t Forget What Stars Did Last Summer
All you need to do is to remember last season’s NHL playoffs to find a reason to believe the Stars can earn this final postseason berth. This is essentially the same team that surprised everyone to reach the Stanley Cup Final last season. Finding enough points to earn a playoff spot seems like child’s play in comparison.
The Predators have beaten the Stars four times in seven games, but all of those wins came in either overtime or a shootout. The other way to look at is to say the Stars earned a point in all seven games they played against Nashville this season. Their official record against Nashville is 3-0-4. The Stars have lost their last two games, but are 6-3-1 in their last 10. The Predators are 5-4-1.
Pick: Stars Moneyline (-108)
Kevin Allen has covered most major events, including the Olympics, Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Final. He covered the NHL for USA Today from 1986-2020, receiving the Lester Patrick Award in 2013 and was honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014 with the Elmer Ferguson Award.