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Preview: Stars at Predators

Dallas forward Jiri Hudler won't play because of illness; Nashville's depth tested early

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

STARS (1-1-0) at PREDATORS (1-1-0)

8 p.m. ET; FS-SW, FS-TN, NHL.TV


Stars team scope

Forward Jiri Hudler will not play because of an illness. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen is expected to start. The Stars have given up eight goals in two games and will look to be better defensively against the Predators. They have scored nine goals but know that a strong offense can't carry them the entire season. "It starts with just getting back to the foundation of our team game, and that's playing well away from the puck," forward Patrick Sharp said. "We want to get our shot attempts up, we want to be an offensive team, we want to be a fast team, but we can't forget about what makes us successful and that's keeping pucks out of our net. We took a big stride last year in that direction, and it resulted in winning the division."


Predators team scope

The Predators' depth will be tested earlier than they anticipated with forward Anthony Bitetto out 4-6 weeks, and forward Miikka Salomaki to miss 6-8 weeks, with upper-body injuries. "Depth in any area of the game, whether it be in net or on defense, is a big part because injuries are a part of the game, and they're bound to happen throughout the year," defenseman Ryan Ellis said. "Obviously you don't want to get tested this early in the season, but it's bound to happen. It'll be a test, and hopefully we can be successful with it." Forward Cody Bass will make his season debut. The Predators have given up five goals in the first period through two games and want to start faster in that area. 


Stars projected lineup

Jamie Benn -- Tyler Seguin -- Patrick Eaves

Patrick Sharp -- Devin Shore -- Brett Richie

Antoine Roussel -- Radek Faksa -- Jason Spezza  

Curtis McKenzie -- Adam Cracknell -- Lauri Korpikoski

Dan Hamhuis -- John Klingberg  

Johnny Oduya -- Stephen Johns

Esa Lindell -- Jamie Oleksiak

Kari Lehtonen 

Antti Niemi

Scratched: Patrick Nemeth, Jordie Benn

Injured: Cody Eakin (knee), Jiri Hudler (illness), Ales Hemsky (groin), Mattias Janmark (knee)


Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg -- Ryan Johansen -- Kevin Fiala

Colin Wilson -- Mike Fisher -- James Neal

Viktor Arvidsson -- Mike Ribeiro -- Craig Smith

Cody Bass -- Colton Sissons -- Calle Jarnkrok  

Roman Josi -- P.K. Subban  

Mattias Ekholm -- Ryan Ellis 

Matt Carle -- Yannick Weber

Pekka Rinne

Marek Mazanec

Scratched: None

Injured: Anthony Bitetto (upper body), Miikka Salomaki (upper body)


Status report

Spezza will move to the Stars' third line on the right wing. … Lindell and Oleksiak will be the third defensive pairing with Nemeth and Jordie Benn coming out of the lineup. … The Predators are playing their third consecutive game within the Central Division after splitting games with the Chicago Blackhawks. … Nashville held an optional morning skate. … Rinne is expected to start for the Predators. … Bass will take Salomaki's spot on the Predators' fourth line. 


Who's hot

Seguin leads Dallas with two goals in two games and is tied for the Stars lead with three points. … Subban has one goal and one assist, and has earned a point in each of his two games played.

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