NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, December 28th
(All times eastern)
Dallas Stars (21-11-4) at Nashville Predators (17-12-6), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - While a lack of offense halted the Stars' six-game point
streak last time out, a failure to score goals has been plaguing the Predators
for the last four games.
With both clubs coming off shut out losses, Dallas and Nashville will both try
to get their offenses going in this evening's clash at Bridgestone Arena.
The Stars took a 4-0-2 run into Sunday's home game versus the Coyotes, but
were dealt a 1-0 setback while also being shut out for the third time this
season. It was Dallas' first regulation loss since Dec. 11 and first in the
last 14 games at home (10-1-3).
Kari Lehtonen made 24 saves and allowed two goals or less for a fourth
straight start. He has a 1.48 goals-against average in that span, but couldn't
will his team into the win column.
Loui Eriksson had a chance to get the Stars on the board with a penalty-shot
bid 6:48 into the second period, but had his try denied.
"We wanted to come out hard tonight and we didn't do that," Stars defenseman
Stephane Robidas said. "We wanted to get more pucks at the net and get more
traffic in front of the net."
The Stars, who still lead the Pacific Division with 46 points, could be
without Tom Wandell and Nicklas Grossman due to illness when they go for a
fourth straight road victory.
Nashville hasn't been as lucky as Dallas as of late, getting outscored 14-3
over a four-game slide. The Predators had scored just a single goal in each of
their previous three games before Sunday's 2-0 setback in St. Louis.
Making his second start since a nine-game absence caused by knee surgery,
Pekka Rinne stopped 24-of-25 shots faced, but wasn't a fan of the one he let
go by him off the stick of the Blues' David Backes.
"He made a good shot, hit the side of my head," Rinne said. "It went off the
side of my face and went in. It's unfortunate. That's not the one you would
like to see deciding the game."
Nashville has been shut out four times this year and tonight will try to avoid
matching its season-worst five-game slide set on Oct. 28-Nov. 7. The Preds
have also lost two straight at home after winning five in a row there.
The Predators will be without the services of three key players though, as
both Steve Sullivan (lower body) and Martin Erat (upper body) have landed on
injured reserve, while the club announced on Monday that forward Jordin Tootoo
has voluntarily entered in-patient care as part of the Joint NHL/NHLPA
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program.
General manager David Poile said there is no timetable for Tootoo's return.
Dallas has one of Nashville's four whitewashes this year, beating the Preds,
1-0 on Oct. 23 in the only meeting so far between the clubs in 2010-11. Rinne
picked up one of his three shutouts this season, making 30 saves to improve to
2-1-0 with a 2.07 GAA versus the Stars.
Lehtonen, meanwhile, turned aside 23 shots but still fell to 3-1-0 with a 1.72
GAA in his career when facing the Predators.
These two clubs have split their last eight meetings overall and the Stars
have lost three of their last four in Nashville.
12/28 11:12:10 ET