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Stars-Predators Preview

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Nashville Predators at Dallas Stars
Thursday, April 6
7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (33-36-11) won 3-2 in overtime over Arizona Tuesday at American Airlines Center. Stars defenseman Julius Honka scored the OT winner, and it was his first NHL goal as well.

"It feels good," Honka said. "This time I've been up here I've had lots of chances, I'm happy it ended up like this. First goal. Overtime."

Jason Dickinson and Brett Ritchie also scored, and Antti Niemi stopped 24 shots for the Stars who won their third straight home game.

Ritchie did not practice Wednesday. Stars coach Lindy Ruff said it was a maintenance day and that he expects Ritchie to play Thursday.

Thursday's game is the second of a season-ending three-game homestand for the Stars.

Injuries: LW Antoine Roussel (hand), LW Curtis McKenzie (eye), RW Ales Hemsky (hip), RW Patrick Sharp (hip), RW Jiri Hudler (groin) and C/LW Mattias Janmark are out.

About the Predators

The Predators (40-28-12) lost 2-1 to the New York Islanders Tuesday. It was the fourth loss in the past five games (1-3-1) for the Predators, who clinched a playoff spot earlier this week and currently sit in the second wild-card spot in the West.

"I said it this morning and I said it going into the St. Louis game (Sunday): I want our guys to be doing the right things, to be playing the right way. Tonight, I thought we could have been better," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said.

Tuesday's game was the home finale for the Predators who close out the regular season with road games at Dallas and Winnipeg.

Injuries: LW James Neal (upper body and D Yannick Weber (upper body) are day to day. RW Miikka Salomaki (lower body) is out.

Season Series

*This is the fifth and final meeting of the season between the Stars and Predators.

*The Stars are 2-2-0 in the season series.

*Oct. 18, at Nashville: Stars 2, Predators 1
*Nov. 23, at Nashville: Predators 5, Stars 2
*Dec. 8, at Dallas; Stars 5, Predators 2
*Feb. 12, at Nashville: Predators 5, Stars 3

Statistical Tidbits

*The Stars are 21-12-6 at home including three straight wins.

*The Predators are 16-19-4 on the road including three losses in their past four.

*The Stars are 8-14-5 vs. the Central Division.

*The Predators are 15-11-1 vs. the Central Division.

*The Stars have allowed two goals or fewer in seven of their past nine games.

*The Predators have scored seven goals in their past five games, scoring one goal in four of those games.

*Nashville's Roman Josi ranks tenth in defenseman scoring with 48 points (11 goals, 37 assists).

*Dallas' John Klingberg ranks eleventh in defenseman scoring with 47 points (13 goals, 34 assists).

*Filip Forsberg leads the Predators with 31 goals.

*Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin co-lead Dallas with 25 goals.

This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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