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Predators-Stars Preview

GAME: Nashville Predators (33-15-6) at Dallas Stars (36-15-3).

TIME: Monday, 8:30 p.m. EST.

For the second time in less than a week, Dallas Stars goaltender Marty Turco will likely get the chance to continue his dominance over the Nashville Predators at home.

Turco is expected to start when Dallas meets Nashville at the American Airlines Center in a matchup of top Western Conference clubs.

Turco, headed to the Turin Olympics to represent Canada, made 23 saves Wednesday in a 2-1 home victory over Nashville. He is 4-0-0 with a 1.25 goals-against average and one shutout in his career at home against the Predators.

The Stars goalie, though, is coming off a somewhat lackluster performance Saturday in a 4-3 overtime loss to lowly St. Louis.

Turco allowed goals 32 seconds apart late in the second period as the Blues took a 3-2 lead. Jere Lehtinen tied it for Dallas early in the third, but Turco gave up Barret Jackman's goal 2:16 into overtime.

"The two (goals) in the second period sort of changed the face of the game," Turco said. "But tonight wasn't our best overall effort."

Dallas is tied with Detroit with 36 wins, but is two points behind the Red Wings for the Western Conference lead.

The Predators also have an Olympic goaltender in Tomas Vokoun of the Czech Republic. He made 40 saves Saturday in the Predators' 6-0 rout of Chicago, his second shutout of the season and 14th of his career.

"Tomas played remarkably," forward Scott Hartnell said. "Without him, who knows what the score would have been."

Vokoun, however, has struggled against the Stars, especially in Dallas. He has started three times against the Stars this season and has lost twice, allowing eight goals.

Vokoun is 0-4-0 with a 3.25 GAA at Dallas since his last win there March 7, 2003.

Hartnell was the offensive star for the Predators on Saturday, recording his first career hat trick and adding an assist. He has a career-high 20 goals.

"It's cool to do this," Hartnell said of the hat trick. "I didn't think it would happen in this game. I've had a lot of two-goal games. You always wonder if you are ever going to do it.

"Getting three goals in an NHL game might be a once in a lifetime thing, but getting the win is so much more important."

Yanic Perreault added three assists, giving him a goal and five assists during a four-game point streak.

Nashville's 33 wins are third-most in the West behind Dallas and Detroit.

STANDINGS: Predators - 72 points, 2nd place, 5 PB, Central Division. Stars - 75 points, 1st place, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Predators - Steve Sullivan, 26 goals; Paul Kariya, 35 assists and 52 points; Darcy Hordichuk, 107 PIM. Stars - Lehtinen, 26 goals; Sergei Zubov, 34 assists; Mike Modano, 51 points; Steve Ott, 105 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Predators - Power play: 18.7 percent (65 for 347), 9th in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.0 percent (294 for 346), 6th. Stars - Power play: 15.8 percent (53 for 335), 22nd. Penalty killing: 83.7 percent (277 for 331), 12th.

GOALTENDERS: Predators - Vokoun (27-11-5, 2 SO, 2.55 GAA); Chris Mason (5-3-1, 3.16). Stars - Turco (28-13-2, 3, 2.49); Johan Hedberg (8-2-0, 2.71).

SEASON SERIES: Stars, 2-1.

LAST MEETING: Wednesday; Stars, 2-1. At Dallas, Brenden Morrow had a goal and assist for the Stars to back Turco's effort.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Predators - 12-10-5 on the road; Stars - 19-10-1 at home.

Associated Press

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