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Predators at Stars preview

Nashville aims to sweep home-and-home, climb in wild-card race; Dallas tries to end slide

by Josh Clark / Independent Correspondent

PREDATORS (33-26-8) at STARS (37-22-8)

2 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-SW, FS-TN, NHL.TV


The Game

The Nashville Predators will try to sweep a home-and-home against the Dallas Stars and climb in the wild-card race when they begin a season-high five-game road trip at American Airlines Center on Saturday.

The Predators trail the Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets by two points for the two Western Conference wild cards into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Juuse Saros made 33 saves in a 2-0 win against the Stars in Nashville on Thursday that ended a three-game losing streak. Filip Forsberg scored on the power play to end a 16-game goal drought.

Goalie Ben Bishop will return for Dallas after missing the past three games because of a lower-body injury.

The Stars, who begin a four-game homestand, are 0-2-2 in their past four games. They have not gone five straight without a win since Oct. 10-18.

Dallas is in third place in the Central Division, six points ahead of Winnipeg and six behind the Colorado Avalanche for second.


Players to watch

Predators defenseman Roman Josi has two goals and four assists during a five-game point streak.

Stars forward Jamie Benn had a six-game point streak (one goal, six assists) before the shutout loss to the Predators.


They said it

"At the times when we played them, we weren't playing our best hockey and we were in a tough situation with the team. A lot has changed, and we play a lot better. We played a lot better than we did the last couple of times against them. I'm sure they're going to adjust to it on Saturday, but we'll be ready for it." -- Predators forward Filip Forsberg on their first win in three games this season against the Stars

"It's nice to say that we have nine more home games, but don't get comfortable with that. We're aware of the other teams and their status. But more importantly, where are we? We know they are going to be desperate, but so should we. Until we see that X, we should be just as desperate. No one should be more desperate than we are. We aren't in and we haven't done anything yet." -- Stars coach Rick Bowness on their upcoming homestand


Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg -- Matt Duchene -- Mikael Granlund

Colton Sissons -- Ryan Johansen -- Calle Jarnkrok

Yakov Trenin -- Kyle Turris -- Viktor Arvidsson

Rocco Grimaldi -- Nick Bonino -- Craig Smith

Roman Josi -- Ryan Ellis

Jarred Tinordi -- Mattias Ekholm

Korbinian Holzer -- Dante Fabbro

Juuse Saros

Pekka Rinne

Scratched: Yannick Weber, Austin Watson, Colin Blackwell

Injured: Dan Hamhuis (lower body)


Stars projected lineup

Jamie Benn -- Tyler Seguin -- Alexander Radulov

Denis Gurianov -- Jason Dickinson -- Corey Perry

Andrew Cogliano -- Radek Faksa -- Blake Comeau

Mattias Janmark -- Joe Pavelski -- Roope Hintz

Esa Lindell -- John Klingberg

Miro Heiskanen -- Stephen Johns

Jamie Oleksiak -- Andrej Sekera

Ben Bishop

Anton Khudobin

Scratched: Justin Dowling, Roman Polak, Taylor Fedun

Injured: None


Status report

Bishop backed up Khudobin in two of the past three games, including Thursday, and missed a 2-1 overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. ... Radulov and Sekera did not practice Friday, each taking a maintenance day. ... Polak, a defenseman, practiced after missing the game in Nashville for personal reasons.


Stat pack

Saros is 5-0-1 with a 2.29 goals-against average and .927 save percentage in six games against the Stars. ... Duchene has three points (two goals, one assist) in three games against the Stars this season. ... Radulov has three points (one goal, two assists) in three games against the Predators this season.

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