Dave Tippett wasn't happy with his team's inconsistent play in the season opener on Friday. He was none too pleased once again a night later.
For the second straight game the Stars showed bursts of energy, but were ultimately undone by their miscues and discombobulating defensive play in a 3-1 loss to the Nashville Predators on Saturday night at Sommet Center.
Former Stars Jason Arnott -- who celebrated his 34th birthday -- and Dan Ellis helped doom Dallas, as Arnott recorded two power-play goals and an assist and Ellis made 19 saves in the win. Shea Weber also scored for the Predators, who won for the second straight time over the Stars.
Trevor Daley scored his second goal of the season, and Marty Turco made 29 saves for Dallas, which has now lost four of its last five to the Predators.
"We don't have everybody on board, simple as that," a distraught Tippett said. "Trying to find a spark and we didn't have much of it. We have lots of work to do in all areas. Right now we are not even close. We need to find some people to get the job done."
The Stars had a hard time developing a flow in the penalty-filled game, and looked out of synch for the majority of the contest. After forward Sean Avery was handed a game misconduct in the first period, Tippett desperately searched for a trio that could kick-start a team that admittedly stole a point in Friday's overtime loss to Columbus.
Dallas was outshot in the first two periods by a 24-13 margin, and if not for the exploits of Turco could have found itself down by more than the 2-1 that showed on the scoreboard.
Despite their loosey-goosiness, the Stars were actually still in a position to garner a point in a game where both teams began losing steam in the third period. But Arnott scored his second goal of the game with 3:47 remaining in the third, and Ellis kept the Stars at bay when they pulled Turco with just under two minutes to go.
After Brad Richards nearly picked-off Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter's cross-ice pass, Arnott capped a tic-tac-toe passing play when he shoveled in J.P. Dumont's feed in tight to secure the win.
Dumont assisted on all three goals, while Martin Erat had a pair of helpers.
"We are all fighting to make things click and we might be trying to do too much," Turco said. "We chatted about having some bad habits and really taking a look at who we need to be as a team. We have allowed a lot of goals and that's not us. My goal is to give these guys what we need every game. There is no panic button, but there are some things that needed to be said."
|Tevor Daley and Jordin Tootoo fight for positioning in front of the Dallas net.
Emotions ran high early on between the two heated rivals. Midway through the first period, Nashville's resident pest Jordin Tootoo began a melee when he slashed and elbowed Turco on a Predators dump-in. Steve Ott stepped in to engage Tootoo, while B.J. Crombeen and Greg de Vries dropped the gloves in the right corner in the Stars end.
While that fight was occurring, a scrap developed between Avery and Nashville defenseman Dan Hamhuis. The two pugilists were handed a five-minute major and kicked out of the game since their altercation took place after the initial one between Crombeen and de Vries.
After giving up four man-advantage goals the previous night in a loss to St. Louis, Nashville was able to thwart the Stars power play, especially in a pivotal stretch in the second period when the Predators were handed consecutive penalties.
Overall, Dallas was unable to cash in on any of its five power-play opportunities, and is now just 1-for-12 with the man advantage two games in.
"It feels like we are not trusting or supporting each other, and we are leaving holes," captain Brenden Morrow said. "It's not a lack of effort. I think we are too anxious to make plays."
Added defenseman Philippe Boucher: "We are competing but sometimes not all together. There are no excuses. We need to find our compete level from years past. It's no time to panic. We haven't stepped up yet, but we need to raise our work ethic and play as a group."
It didn't take long for the Predators to grab an early lead, as Weber notched his first of the year just 46 seconds in. After a Dallas turnover in the neutral zone, the Predators were able to penetrate the Stars zone, with Dumont lugging the puck in on the right wing. Dumont sent a pass to a streaking Arnott, who was able to get a piece of the puck in the slot before Weber came in and lifted it up and in past Turco.
Dallas was able to tie it just 75 seconds later after Daley scored his second goal in as many games. After accepting a soft pass from Morrow, Daley let go a wicked wrist shot from the inner edge of the left circle that eluded Ellis.
Arnott scored his first of the year with just over nine minutes left in the first. With the Predators enjoying the power play, Dumont deftly slid the puck to Arnott, who was standing four feet in front of Turco. Arnott quickly released a shot that went over Turco's shoulder for a 2-1 Nashville lead.
Turco made a scintillating save to help keep the second period scoreless when he sprawled to his left and blocked Arnott's backhand attempt with his outstretched glove along the ice nine minutes into the middle frame.
Just prior to that, Ellis, who led the league with a .924 save percentage last year, stoned Loui Eriksson at the doorstep with a terrific save midway through the second.
|Brenden Morrow chases the puck as it goes by Dan Ellis in the Predators net|
"We know the expectations and after not getting the result we wanted yesterday, we were trying to do too much," Morrow said. "It's only two games, but we certainly want to be playing better than this."
These two teams renew acquaintances on Wednesday at American Airlines Center (7:30, FSN). The Stars will be looking for that elusive first win, while the Predators have lost their only road game this season.
--Forward Jere Lehtinen missed his second straight game with a nagging groin injury, and continues to be day-to-day.
--Daley's first two goals of the season have come on consecutive shots.
--The Stars were whistled for 48 minutes in penalties, while Nashville spent 34 minutes in the box.
--Dallas was able to kill off just 5-of-7 penalties after killing off all three in the season opener to Columbus Friday.
--Turco dropped to 9-6 lifetime against the Predators, while Ellis improved to 3-1 against his old mates.
--Besides Lehtinen, defenseman Doug Janik and rookie left wing Fabian Brunnstrom were also scratched.