NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, February 26th
(All times eastern)
Nashville Predators (31-22-8) at Dallas Stars (32-23-6), 2 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Dallas Stars will try to win consecutive games for the
first time in over a month when they welcome the sliding Nashville Predators
for today's battle at American Airlines Center.
The Stars had lost five straight games -- all in regulation -- before notching
a victory Thursday evening in Detroit. Dallas still has a 3-10-1 mark since
its last winning streak, a five-game stretch from Jan. 9-20.
Nashville, meanwhile, has lost three straight and has been shut out in each of
its last two setbacks.
Tonight's contest is an important battle in the Western Conference playoff
race. The Stars and Preds are currently locked with Chicago in a three-way tie
for the eighth spot with 70 points each.
Dallas and the Predators have split a pair of meetings this season with each
club winning a game on the road. The teams have split the last 10 encounters
overall and Nashville has won two of its last three in Dallas.
The Stars picked up their first win since Feb. 11 with Thursday's 4-1 victory
in Detroit. Kari Lehtonen made 38 saves to help Dallas snap a seven-game road
Mike Ribeiro, Loui Eriksson, Krystofer Barch and Jamie Langenbrunner lit the
lamp for the Stars, who killed off five of Detroit's six power-play
"They had a lot of power plays that could have turned the game around, but we
killed them," Ribeiro said. "Once again, our goalie was outstanding, and we
scored on our chances."
Dallas has just one win in its last five home games and has a 17-9-5 record as
the host this season. After today's game, the Stars will head out on a four-
game road trip.
Stars forward Brad Richards has missed the last five games with a concussion
and he will miss today's game as well. However, Dallas' leading scorer this
season was able to skate on his own on Thursday, a fact that could make the
coveted playmaker easier to deal before Monday's trade deadline. Richards, who
has 24 goals and 63 points this season, is scheduled to become an unrestricted
free agent this summer.
Nashville has been outscored by a combined 7-0 margin in its last two trips to
the ice, getting blanked Tuesday in Columbus before losing Thursday's home
tilt to Chicago. The Predators have never been held scoreless in three
Corey Crawford stopped all 31 shots he faced for his third shutout of the
season in the Blackhawks' 3-0 victory at Nashville. Pekka Rinne allowed two
goals on 24 shots for Nashville.
"Every time we've had a downturn this year it's been because we haven't been
able to finish," said Predators head coach Barry Trotz.
Nashville's last goal came with 50 seconds left in regulation in last
Saturday's 3-2 loss to Phoenix, leaving the Preds with a scoring drought of
120 minutes, 50 seconds.
The Predators have lost four of their last five road games and they are
sporting a 17-15-1 record as the guest this year. Nashville is playing five of
its next six games away from the Music City, but will host Columbus tomorrow
Nashville received some bad news on injured forward Marcel Goc this week, as
the team announced Thursday that he will undergo season-ending shoulder
surgery. Goc had nine goals and 24 points in 51 games this season.
Goc joins Matthew Lombardi and Cal O'Reilly as the third Nashville centerman
to suffer a season-ending injury this season.
Preds winger Steve Sullivan was also placed on injured reserve Friday with a
groin injury that has bothered him for most of the season. Sullivan has 10
goals and 12 assists in 43 games this season.
02/26 10:30:15 ET