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Predators hope to find offense against Stars

by Corey Masisak

STARS (9-8-1) at PREDATORS (8-6-5)


Last 10: Dallas 6-4-0; Nashville 4-4-2

Season Series: This is the first meeting of the season. They have split the season series in each of the past four seasons, but that won't happen this year because they only play three times.

Big Story: One team that has been consistently scoring goals faces one that has struggled to produce them in a battle of playoff contenders in the Western Conference.

Team scope:

Stars: Dallas got off to a slow start, but the Stars have had a strong February and moved into the top eight in the West with a 3-1 win Saturday against the San Jose Sharks. The Stars are 7-3-1 this month, including four wins away from American Airlines Center.

They have scored at least three goals in nine straight contests, even with one of the team's top two free-agent additions, forward Ray Whitney, sidelined because of a broken foot. For the season, the Stars are only 19th in the League in goals per game, but that's because of their early-season troubles.

Predators: Nashville has struggled to score goals all season, but great work from Pekka Rinne has kept the Predators among the top teams in the West. Even Rinne couldn't save Nashville the past two games, and suddenly the Predators are in a bit of a slump.

They have lost four of five (1-3-1), including back-to-back shutouts by Vancouver and Detroit on Friday and Saturday. In the one game where the offense did flourish, a bad no-call on a Matt Duchene goal left the Predators with a 6-5 defeat against the Colorado Avalanche.

"Got to find a way to score," Nashville captain Shea Weber said after the loss to the Red Wings. "Chances aren't going to win the games."

Who’s hot: Jamie Benn missed the first five games of the season because he was without a contract and only had one point in his first four contests, but he's been rolling since -- he has six goals and 12 points in the nine contests since. No one has scored in the past two games for Nashville, but Colin Wilson had seven points in the five contests before that and leads the Predators with five goals and 14 points.

Injury report: Goaltender Kari Lehtonen (groin) and Whitney (foot) are out for the Stars. Defenseman Trevor Daley (neck) has missed the past two games, but could play for Dallas. Paul Gaustad (upper body) is the only player questionable for the Predators.

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