(18-15-6) Dallas Stars vs. Nashville Predators (26-9-4)
7 P.M. | Bridgestone Arena
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The GameTickets
The Nashville Predators are set to host the Dallas Stars tonight at Bridgestone Arena in the third of five meetings between the two Central Division foes this season. The Preds have already triumphed twice over the Stars on the campaign, including a 4-1 victory on Oct. 11 in Nashville.
Home ice continues to be kind to the Preds, with the club winning their 15th contest in Music City just two nights ago. Nashville is 15-2-1 at home this season, a win total that is tied for tops in the NHL. The team's 31 home points are tied for second in the League.
Filip Forsberg has garnered attention in Nashville throughout the season, and on Tuesday night against Carolina, the rookie sensation solidified his place in the club's record books. With an assist on Mike Fisher's third period goal, Forsberg earned his 38th point of the season, setting a new franchise record for points by a rookie. It took the previous record holder, Alexander Radulov, 64 games to record 37 points in 2006-07. Forsberg tallied 38 points in 39 games. The Swede leads the Preds and all NHL rookies in goals (14) and points.
In addition to stellar play in their own end, the Preds d-corps have been regularly contributing on the offensive side of the puck as of late as well. Defenseman Roman Josi tallied the game-winning goal for the Preds on Tuesday, the third game in a row that Josi has had a hand in the winning marker. That streak contains two game-winning goals and an assist on Shea Weber's shorthanded game winner on Dec. 30 against St. Louis.
Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne leads the League in wins, earning his 26th victory of the season on Tuesday night. The Finnish netminder owns a 2.00 goals-against average, which is third in the NHL, and a .929 save percentage, fourth in the League. Of nine NHL goaltenders to have played nine or more overtime games this season, Rinne is the only one who has yet to allow a goal.
After struggling for a good portion of the beginning of 2014-15, the Stars have gained ground in the Central as of late, currently sitting fifth in the division with 42 points to their name. Dallas is 7-2-1 in their last 10 outings and are 9-7-1 on the road this season.
The League's leading goal scorer, Tyler Seguin leads the offensive charge for the Stars, potting 26 goals and 47 points through just 39 games this season. Forwards Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza sit second and third on the club with 34 and 27 points, respectively. Kari Lehtonen is starter in Dallas, posting a 17-8-6 record on the season to go alongside a 2.87 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage.
The Preds are 27-32-(1)-2 all-time against the Stars and 18-12-(1)-0 on home ice. Since the start of the 2011-12 season, Nashville has earned points in nine of 14 match-ups against Dallas.
Salomaki Recalled, Neal and Nystrom on IR:
Prior to today's morning skate, the club announced the recall of forward Miikka Salomaki from Milwaukee of the AHL and placed forwards James Neal and Eric Nystrom on Injured Reserve. Salomaki is expected to make his NHL debut tonight for the Predators. Details on the moves can be read here
Predators Game Day Video:Preds Players: Olli Jokinen, Viktor Stalberg and Miikka Salomaki
What to Watch for: Stu and Willy's Breakdown
Coach Presser: Head Coach Peter Laviolette
Injured forwards Matt Cullen (IR) and Taylor Beck (IR) joined the team for the morning skate, but did not participate in forward line rushes. Pekka Rinne is expected to get the start for Nashville.
Nashville Morning Skate Lines:
Forsberg - Ribeiro - Smith
Wilson - Fisher - Arcobello
Salomaki - Jarnkrok - Jokinen
Bourque - Gaustad - Stalberg
(Beck - Cullen (Injured Reserve))
Josi - Weber
Ekholm - Ellis
Bartley - Jones
Dallas Morning Skate Lines:
Ja. Benn - Seguin - Ritchie
Cole - Spezza - Hemsky
Roussel - Eakin - Garbutt
Horcoff - Fiddler - Moen
Goligoski - Klingberg
Oleksiak - Daley
Schlemko - Demers