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Game Day: Stars vs. Preds

by Thomas Willis & Brooks Bratten / Nashville Predators

(36-15-5) Dallas Stars vs. Nashville Predators (26-21-9)
  7 P.M. | Bridgestone Arena | #DALvsNSH
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game | Pregame: 6:30 P.M.
Tickets | Rivalry Night

The Nashville Predators return home tonight to host the Central Division-leading Dallas Stars at Bridgestone Arena for the first time this season. It's the second meeting in 2015-16 between the two clubs; including tonight, Nashville and Dallas will face each other four times in the final eight weeks of the regular season.

The Preds are a game removed from a 5-0 victory over the Florida Panthers on Saturday night, and picked up three out of a possible four points in back-to-back games in the Sunshine State. Dallas has won three straight, including a 4-3 result against Washington on Saturday.

With 181 career power-play points (77g-104a), Captain Shea Weber is one point away from tying Kimmo Timonen for the top spot on the all-time franchise list. Timonen registered 182 points on the power play (46g-136a) during his time with the Nashville Predators.

Weber is also two goals shy of tying Martin Erat for No. 2 on the all-time franchise goals list. Erat had 163 goals with the Nashville Predators, while David Legwand (210 goals) is the franchise leader in goals. Weber has 15 goals so far this season, the eighth time in his career he's reached the 15-goal plateau, and is tied for third among all NHL defensemen in goals (15). Only Brent Burns (18) and Oliver Ekman Larsson (16) have more goals than Weber this season.

On Friday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Preds forward and former Dallas Star James Neal became the first member of the team to notch 20 goals. Neal has reached the 20-goal plateau in each of his first eight seasons in the NHL and is a member of an elite group of NHLers to accomplish that feat, including Jaromir Jagr and Alex Ovechkin.

Nashville and Dallas own the League's two highest-scoring defensive units. Preds defensemen are first in the NHL in goals with 40 and the group has a combined 143 points overall. Dallas is tied for second with 128 points from the blue line this season.

Preds defenseman Roman Josi leads the club in points with 42, including 11 goals. Weber, along with forwards Filip Forsberg and Mike Ribeiro are tied for second with 36 points apiece, followed by Neal with 35 points. Neal's 21 goals are tops on the Preds, while Forsberg has tallied 18 times this season. Weber has 15 goals, while Craig Smith and Calle Jarnkrok each have 11. Goaltender Pekka Rinne is 20-18-8 this season; Carter Hutton, who shut out the Panthers on Saturday, is 6-2-1 between the pipes.

Forsberg has a point in four of his six career games versus the Stars (3g-2a); Jarnkrok and Ryan Johansen each have points in four of their last five games.

Jamie Benn leads the Stars with 63 points on the season; Tyler Seguin is just one behind with 62. Defenseman John Klingberg has 47 points, followed by Patrick Sharp and Jason Spezza with 41 and 40, respectively. Seguin leads the team in goals with 30, while Benn has 29. Antti Niemi is 20-10-5 in net for the Stars; Kari Lehtonen is 16-5-0.
Nashville has just one regulation loss in the last eight contests (6-1-1 record) against Dallas. The last time the Stars won in regulation at Bridgestone Arena was April 12, 2013. All-time, Nashville has a 28-34-4 record against Dallas.

Predators Game Day Video:

Preds Players: Roman Josi, Carter Hutton and Calle Jarnkrok

What to Watch for: Preds Web Team Breakdown

Coach Presser: Head Coach Peter Laviolette

Projected Lineups:

Nashville Predators:

Calle Jarnkrok Ryan Johansen James Neal
Colin Wilson Mike Fisher Viktor Arvidsson
Filip Forsberg Mike Ribeiro Craig Smith
Miikka Salomaki Paul Gaustad Austin Watson
Roman Josi Shea Weber
Mattias Ekholm Ryan Ellis
Barret Jackman Anthony Bitetto


Goaltenders: Carter Hutton is the announced starter in net with Pekka Rinne serving as the backup.

Extra: (D) Petter Granberg, (F) Cody Bass, (F) Gabriel Bourque (IR; upper-body), (F) Eric Nystrom (IR; lower-body)

Dallas Stars:

Jamie Benn Tyler Seguin Patrick Eaves
Antoine Roussel Cody Eakin Patrick Sharp
Valeri Nichushkin Mattias Janmark Ales Hemsky
Vernon Fiddler Radek Faksa Colton Sceviour
Alex Goligoski John Klingberg
Johnny Oduya Jason Demers
Patrik Nemeth Jordie Benn


Goaltenders: Antti Niemi is the expected starter in net with Kari Lehtonen serving as the backup.

Extra: (D) Jyrki Jokipakka, (D) Jamie Oleksiak, (F) Jason Spezza (IR), (F) Travis Moen (IR), (F) Curtis McKenzie

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