(47-24-10) Nashville Predators vs. Dallas Stars (40-31-10)
7 P.M. | American Airlines Center
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game | Nissan Pregame: 6:30 P.M.
The Nashville Predators will play their 82nd and final contest of the 2014-15 regular season tonight as they take on the Stars in Dallas. The Preds are guaranteed to finish second in the Central Division when the regular season concludes tonight, but could face Minnesota or Chicago in the first round
of the Stanley Cup Playoffs beginning next week.
Nashville has fallen in five consecutive contests, including a 4-2 defeat to the hands of the Wild on Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena. The Preds are 0-3-2 over that stretch and 4-3-3 in their last 10 outings.
Out of playoff contention, Dallas is on a three-game win streak, including a 4-0 triumph in Anaheim over the Ducks on Wednesday.
Filip Forsberg, who has 15 multi-point games this season, took over the Nashville lead in points (25g-37a-62pts) with his first-period goal on Thursday. The Ostervalla, Sweden, native is only the 14th NHL rookie since 2000-01 to tally 62 points and was the second Preds’ player to hit 60 points this season.
On the season, Forsberg has played in all 81 of Nashville’s games and, while playing in the League’s toughest division, the team is 17-4-4 when he scores a goal. In addition to his two overtime game-winning goals, Forsberg has tallied three shootout-deciding markers. Forsberg leads rookies in shots (235) and game-winning goals (tied, 6). He is second in power-play goals (tied, 6) and power-play points (19) and second among rookie forwards in average time on ice (17:23).
Seth Jones, who has two points (1g-1a) in his last three games, recorded his eighth goal of the season against the Wild, in addition to tallying a career-high six shots in the contest. With 27 points on the season (8g-19a), Jones has surpassed the 25 points he recorded during his 2013-14 rookie season. On the season, the Preds are 5-2-1 when the Dallas native finds the back of the net. Appearing in all 81 of Nashville’s games this season, Jones has averaged 19:51 time on ice, third among Nashville blueliners. His 11 power-play points (2g-9a) are fifth on the team.
Roman Josi, who has eight points (4g-4a) in his last 12 games, is fifth among all League blueliners in points (15g-40a-55pts) and first among Nashville defensemen. Josi’s 209 blocked shots this season are first on the team and second overall in the NHL, and his 26:28 average time on ice is fourth in the League and first on the Preds.
Mike Ribeiro has seven points (2g-5a) in his last eight games. He is second on the Preds in points (15g-46a-61pts) and is in the Top 15 in assists in the NHL this season. Ribeiro has recorded 46 helpers on the season and now holds the Preds franchise record for assists in a season by a center.
Despite missing out on the playoffs, the Stars posses two of the League's top scorers. Entering into Friday night's action, Dallas Captain Jamie Benn was tied for the League lead in scoring with 83 points. Not far behind, Tyler Seguin has 77 points, including 37 goals, to his credit. Jason Spezza has added 45 assists and 62 points this season.
Kari Lehtonen has been the starter in Dallas this season, posting a 34-17-10 record with a 2.94 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage. The Stars have given up an average of 3.16 goals-per-game this season, contributing to their spot out of the postseason.
The Preds finished their slate of regular season games with four consecutive games against intra-divisional foes after only playing two games in the Division in the entire month of March. Overall, Nashville is 15-9-4 against the Central Division and 6-3-2 against them as the visiting squad.
The Preds are 28-32-(1)-3 all-time against the Stars and 9-20-(0)-2 against them as the visiting team. Since the start of the 2011-12 season, Nashville has taken home points in 11 of 16 match-ups against this Central Division rival.
The Predators recalled defenseman Joe Piskula from the Milwaukee Admirals under an emergency basis this morning. The 30-year-old played in two games with the Preds in 2013-14 and has suited up for 12 NHL games overall in his career.
On the Stars front, goaltender Jhonas Enroth is the expected starter between the pipes for Dallas and forward Tyler Seguin looks to be a healthy scratch per Mark Stepneski.