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Stars-Predators Preview

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After missing a chance to pull away in the West, the Nashville Predators have little margin for error if they hope to earn the conference's top seed.

The Predators (49-22-7) look to bounce back from a disappointing loss when they host the Dallas Stars (47-24-6) on Saturday night.

With a 2-1 loss to Detroit on Thursday, Nashville and the Red Wings were tied atop the West with 105 points each. The Predators fell one point back after Detroit lost to Dallas 4-3 in a shootout on Friday.

"We have to rely on Detroit losing two points, and we go undefeated. It was two huge points we lost today," Predators center Peter Forsberg said.

Nashville is one win shy of the franchise record they set last season, but have dropped five of their last eight games. Three of Nashville's final four games are at the Gaylord Entertainment Center.

"You want to control your own destiny, and this was a game that we could do that," coach Barry Trotz said. "Now we're going to need a little help from someone else."

However, Trotz also downplayed the significance of playoff seeding.

"If we play one through eight there's not much difference," he said. "It looks like you're going to have eight hundred-point teams. There's not much difference."

David Legwand scored the lone goal for Nashville, and J.P. Dumont picked up an assist for his fourth point in his last two games and 19th in 19 games.

Five Nashville forwards missed the game, four of them with injuries. Jordin Tootoo served the final game of a five-game suspension for punching out Dallas defenseman Stephane Robidas in the teams' last meeting

Robidas, who suffered a concussion, has not played since. The Predators won that game 3-2, but are just 2-9-0 with a tie in the last 12 meetings with Dallas.

The Stars are tied with San Jose for fifth place in the Western Conference with 100 points, two more than Minnesota. Friday's win over the Red Wings was Dallas' ninth in 11 games, and keeps them in the hunt for their third Pacific Division title in five seasons.

The Stars trail Anaheim by four points with a game in hand, and host the Ducks on April 6.

Sergei Zubov scored the only goal of the shootout after Brenden Morrow, Mike Ribeiro, and Philippe Boucher scored 6:17 apart late in the third period to erase a 3-0 deficit.

"We stuck with the game plan and said between the second and the third we'll put it all on the line here and see what happens," said backup goalie Mike Smith, who stopped 31 shots. "Fortunately, we came out with the win."

Marty Turco likely will be back in goal for the Stars in this game. He's 1-1-0 with a 2.01 goals-against average in two starts against the Predators this season.

Mike Modano scored two goals in the loss to Nashville earlier this month to become the all-time leading American-born goal scorer with 503, surpassing Hall of Famer Joe Mullen.

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