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Stars and Preds meet for third time in four weeks @NHLdotcom

STARS (6-2-5) at PREDATORS (5-6-1)

Last 10 -- Dallas 5-2-3; Nashville 3-6-1

Season series -- The Predators and Stars are meeting for the third time this season. Unlike the previous two encounters, however, the game will be played at SommetCenter in Nashville. The teams have split the first two games, with the Predators winning 3-2 in a shootout on Oct. 3 and Dallas rolling up a 6-0 win on Oct. 14. The teams won't see each other again until Dallas comes to Music City on March 23.

Big Story -- Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne notched his first shutout of the season on Thursday behind 22 saves in a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. The Predators opened the season at American Airlines Center with a 3-2 shootout victory on Oct. 3. The shootout went five rounds (10 shooters) before Mike Santorelli scored the game-deciding goal -- the first shootout marker of his career. It marked just the third time in series history the teams have gone to overtime or shootout to determine a game's outcome. The second meeting in Dallas was no contest as the Stars scored a 6-0 triumph behind 29 saves by Marty Turco.

Team Scope

Stars -- Dallas is doing an excellent job at not losing games in regulation, making sure to get at least one point. It's getting the second point that's proving to be the problem. The Stars overcame an early 3-0 deficit on Friday to get to a shootout with Florida tied 5-5, only to lose. The Stars are now 1-5 in games that were tied after 60 minutes -- and 0-4 in shootouts, an area they once dominated.

Predators -- Nashville goalie Dan Ellis has faced the team that drafted him 60th overall in the 2000 Entry Draft eight times in his career -- posting a pair of shutouts. It remains to be seen if he'll get the nod this time. Rinne, who is coming off his fifth career shutout after blanking Chicago on Thursday, has never faced the Stars. Nashville is 6-4-0 since the start of the 2007-08 season against Dallas, with J.P. Dumont (4 goals, 6 assists) and Jason Arnott (4 goals, 6 assists) doing most of the damage in those 10 games.

Who's hot -- Dumont has 8 points (3 goals, 5 assists) over the last seven games and now leads the team with 9 points. … Dallas forward James Neal has 5 goals during a four-game goal-scoring streak and 8 points during a five-game points streak.

Injury report -- Arnott (arm) and winger Jordin Tootoo (hip) are on injured reserve for Nashville. The Stars were without goaltender Marty Turco on Friday night because of flu-like symptoms. Mike Modano (ribs) and Jere Lehtinen (abdominal soreness) are still on IR.

Stat pack -- Dallas coach Marc Crawford is starting on his second thousand games. He was behind an NHL bench for the 1,000th time on Friday night, becoming the 15th coach in the NHL to reach that. The 48-year-old is 476-363-161 in his career, which includes stints with Quebec/Colorado, Vancouver, Los Angeles and Dallas. He won a Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 1996.

Puck Drop -- The Stars are on an offensive roll, scoring four or more goals in each of their last four games, and are 4-0-3 on the road. The Predators 2-3-0 with only six goals scored at home, are struggling offensively but they're starting to show the kind of defensive tenacity and get the sort of goaltending they've received over the past few seasons.

--Mike G. Morreale,

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