A massive home-and-home set between the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars begins tonight at Bridgestone Arena. This evening's contest is the first meeting between the two division rivals since the 2020 NHL Winter Classic on New Year's Day at the Cotton Bowl. Dallas has won the first two meetings of the season, and the final two come over the next three days.
Currently on a three-game skid, the Predators will be looking to get back into the win column as they fight for Wild Card positioning in the Western Conference. Nashville is also searching for their first victory over Dallas since Game 3 of their Round 1 meeting during last spring's Stanley Cup Playoffs, a span of five games.
After suffering an 8-3 loss in Nashville on Monday night to the Oilers, the Predators fell to the Wild by a 3-1 final on Tuesday in Minnesota. The group was pleased with their push to try and tie things on Tuesday against the Wild, but a slow start didn't help their cause, and the Preds know they can't afford to let more points in the standings slip away.
"The way the race is going, this is going to be something that's going to go right down to the wire," Preds Head Coach John Hynes said following Tuesday's loss to Minnesota. "We need to take a day [Wednesday], and we need to regroup. We've got a big two-game series against Dallas, and that's something that's going to be important. We've got to take the lessons out of this one, and then we've got to make sure we come back Thursday with the right mindset. We've got to move on and be ready for Dallas and play better hockey than we have the last two games."
Ryan Johansen missed Tuesday's game in St. Paul due to illness, and defenseman Dan Hamhuis was also absent due to a lower-body injury. The Predators recalled forward Yakov Trenin prior to Tuesday's game against the Wild, and the forward skated on a line with Colton Sissons and Austin Watson in the loss.
The Predators had a scheduled day off on Wednesday after completing a back-to-back set of games.
Video: NSH Recap: Smith scores in loss to Wild
Last Time Out:
Craig Smith scored the lone goal for the Predators in their 3-1 loss to Minnesota on Tuesday, while Juuse Saros made 30 saves.
Captain Roman Josi is tops on the team with 62 points, followed by Filip Forsberg with 42 and Matt Duchene with 40 points. Forsberg, Smith and Nick Bonino are all tied for the team lead with 18 goals apiece; Mikael Granlund has 17 and Josi has 16.
The Stars have gained a single point in both of their previous two outings, but they've lost three straight, including a 2-1 overtime defeat to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. Tyler Seguin leads the Stars with 50 points, followed by Jamie Benn with 39 points and Alexander Radulov with 34. Denis Gurianov paces the team with 20 goals; Benn has 19 tallies and Roope Hintz has 18 goals on the season. Ben Bishop is 21-14-4 in net for the Stars; Anton Khudobin is 16-7-4.
The Predators are 38-42-(1)-5 all-time against the Stars, including a 25-16-(1)-2 record at Bridgestone Arena. The Preds have earned at least a point in nine of their last 13 games versus Dallas (8-4-1), and Nashville has scored at least four goals in eight of its last 10 victories over the Stars.
Notables Versus Dallas:
Roman Josi has recorded 27 points (10g-17a) in 34 career contests versus Dallas, including a two-assist performance at the Winter Classic and a four-point game (2g-2a) on Feb. 25, 2013. Ryan Johansen has recorded three multi-point games in his last eight appearances versus Dallas. He's posted 20 points (7g-13a) in 30 career games against the Stars.
Calle Jarnkrok has five points (3g-2a) in his last nine games against Dallas and 12 points (7g-5a) in 27 career meetings with the Stars, and Viktor Arvidsson has tallied 12 points (5g-7a) in his last 15 contests versus Dallas.
When You Go:
Bridgestone Arena doors open at 5:30 p.m. CT ahead of tonight's 7 p.m. puck drop. The Preds Foundation will be selling Nashville Strong T-shirts, posters and stickers at the auction table outside Section 106 tonight. Proceeds will benefit Middle Tennessee tornado relief efforts.
In the immediate aftermath of the storm, here are some ways you can help:
To volunteer, sign up with Hands On Nashville at hon.org
To donate, visit the Community Foundation of Middle TN at cfmt.org
Watch and Listen:
Coverage for tonight's contest begins with Smashville Live on Fox Sports Tennessee at 6:30 p.m. with Lyndsay Rowley and Terry Crisp. Willy Daunic, Chris Mason and Kara Hammer have the call on the television side, while Pete Weber and Hal Gill will broadcast on 102.5 The Game and the Predators Radio Network. Pregame coverage on the radio side begins at 6 p.m. CT with Darren McFarland. For broadcast information and channel locations throughout the country, click here.
If the Predators are playing hockey, you can count on the game being on at Preds Approved Bars & Restaurants. Locations throughout Tennessee may be seen by clicking here.
Listen to a Live Radio Feed (only active during the game broadcast window).
Watch a Live Stream of the game on the Fox Sports Go App or Watch on NHL.TV