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Stars-Predators Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Nashville Predators at Dallas Stars

Friday, March 28
7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (34-27-11) are coming off a 4-2 loss in Chicago on Tuesday. It snapped a two-game winning streak for the Stars and extended their road losing streak to four games. The Stars, playing their fourth game in six nights and on the second night of a back-to-back, were outshot 42-27 by the Blackhawks.

“You have to play a full 60 minutes consistently, the right way,” Stars captain Jamie Benn said. “We have three or four more of these back-to-backs. They’re not easy games to play. The last 10 [games] we have aren’t going to be easy. We’re going to have to find a way to stick together and try to get as many points as we can.”

The Stars enter Friday’s game five points behind Phoenix in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Stars have two games in hand on the Coyotes, who won 3-2 in a shootout at New Jersey Thursday.

Forward Erik Cole (upper body) is expected to miss at least the next two games. Forward Ray Whitney missed Thursday’s practice due to illness and is questionable for Friday.

The Stars recalled forward Chris Mueller from the Texas Stars of the AHL Thursday.

Injuries: F Ray Whitney (illness) is questionable. F Erik Cole (upper body) and F Rich Peverley (irregular heartbeat) are out.

About the Predators

The Predators (32-31-11) ran their points streak to four games (3-0-1) with a 6-1 win over Buffalo in Nashville Thursday night. Five different players scored for the Predators, who snapped a six-game winless streak at home.

“We’ve played well at home but we haven’t got the victories for our fans,” said Predators coach Barry Trotz. “We talked about this game. We need the points. We need the home victory. It’s hard to put our finger on it. We’ve played well, we’ve played some really good teams and we haven’t got on the positive side enough the last little bit at home. I wish I could explain it.”

The Predators, who improved to 6-3-1 over their last 10 games, are still mathematically alive in the playoff race, but they are nine points out with just eight games left on their schedule and their chances are extremely remote.

Injuries: D Seth Jones (concussion-like symptoms), F Paul Gaustad (upper body) and F Patrick Eaves (upper body) are out

Series Notes

*This is the fourth of five meetings between the Stars and Predators this season.

*The Stars are 1-2-0 in the season series.

*The Predators are 2-1-0 in the series.

*Dec. 12, Dallas at Nashville: Predators 3, Stars 1

*Dec. 27, Nashville at Dallas: Stars 4, Predators 1

*Jan. 20, Dallas at Nashville, Predators 4, Stars 1

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars have points in six straight games at home (5-0-1) and are 7-1-1 in their last nine at American Airlines Center.

*The Predators are 6-2-2 in their last ten games on the road.

*The Stars are 7-6-1 since the Olympic break.

*The Predators are 7-7-1 since the break.

*The Stars have scored 12 goals over the last six games overall (2.0 per game), but 21 over their last six home games (3.5 per game).

*The Predators have scored 18 goals over their last four games (3.6 per game).

*The Stars have allowed a power play goal in eight of the last 11 games, and are 28-36 (77.8 percent) on the penalty kill during that stretch.

*Nashville has scored on the power play in two of their last seven games, and is 2-22 (9.1 percent) on the power play during that stretch.

*The Stars are 9-11-5 vs. the Central Division.

*The Predators are 10-12-3 vs. the Central.

*Stars center Tyler Seguin has points in 10 straight games (7 goals, 10 assists, 17 points).

*Stars captain Jamie Benn has 19 points (8 goals, 11 assists) in his last 15 games.

*Nashville defenseman Shea Weber scored two goals Thursday, giving him 20 for the season. Weber and Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson are tied for the lead in goal scoring among NHL defensemen.

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 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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