Dallas Stars at Nashville Predators
Thursday, December 12
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM
About the Stars
The Stars (14-10-5) had a six-game points streak snapped with a 6-2 loss to Chicago at American Airlines Center Tuesday night. The Stars were down 5-0 by the midway point of the game.
“I think it’s by far the worst game we've played all year,” said Stars center Shawn Horcoff. “We’re just going to have to put that behind us. I think we’re a team that prides ourselves on our work ethic and our skating. We’re a tough team to beat and we can play with any team in the League but tonight was just not the case.”
Thursday’s game opens a three-game road trip for the Stars and a stretch of four games in six days, all against teams from the Central Division.
“It’s a big four games,” said Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon. “We’ve been playing well on the road, we want to keep that streak going and we’ve got to understand the meaning of these games.”
Stars center Vernon Fiddler, who missed Tuesday’s game with an upper body injury, skated prior to practice Wednesday. He is not expected to play Thursday, but could be ready by the end of the road trip, according to Stars coach Lindy Ruff.
Injuries: C Vernon Fiddler (upper body), D Trevor Daley (ankle) and D Stephane Robidas (leg) are out.
About the Predators
The Predators (14-14-3) snapped a five-game winless streak with a 4-1 win over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden Tuesday. The line of Paul Gaustad, Matt Hendricks and Rich Clune scored three of Nashville’s goals.
“I've been happy with the way our line has played. We have tons of O-zone time,” Clune said. “We get so much time on the forecheck and cycling pucks, you want something to drop sooner or later, especially when you're not winning."
Thursday’s game opens a three-game homestand for the Predators, who have dropped four straight (0-3-1) at Bridgestone Arena.
Goaltender Pekka Rinne, who had hip surgery on Oct. 24 due to a bacterial infection, remains out. There is no definite date for his return. Marek Mazanec, 22, has played the majority of the games for the Predators with Rinne out and has posted a 5-7-1 record, 2.51 goals against average and .915 save percentage.
Injuries: G Pekka Rinne (hip) and C Filip Forsberg (upper body) are out.
*This is the first of five meetings between the Stars and Predators.
*The Stars were 1-1-1 against the Predators last season.
*The Predators were 2-1-0 against the Stars last season.
*The Stars are 31-21-3 all-time against Nashville.
*The Stars are 7-1-1 in their last nine road games.
*The Predators are 1-4-1 in their last six home games.
*The Stars are 2-5-3 vs. the Central Division.
*The Predators are 5-5-0 vs. the Central Division.
*The Stars, who are ranked 30th in the league on the power play, are 2-27 (7.4) percent over the last eight games.
*The Predators are 1-21 (4.8 percent) on the power play over the last nine games.
*Forward Valeri Nichushkin, Dallas’ first round pick (10th overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft, has 15 points (4 goals, 11 assists) in 28 games. He is tied for seventh among NHL rookies in scoring and is tied for second among rookies in assists.
*Defenseman Seth Jones, Nashville’s first round pick (4th overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft, has 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists) in 31 games. He is fourth in scoring among rookie defenseman and leads all NHL rookies in average ice time per game (23:07).
This story was not subject to the 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.