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Stars-Predators Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Tuesday, March 29

7:30 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Southwest

Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

The Stars (45-22-9) are coming off a 4-2 win at San Jose Saturday to wrap up a three-game road trip. Mattias Janmark scored two goals in his first game back from injury, and Antti Niemi stopped 34 shots in his first start since Mar. 12. Saturday’s game was a fast-paced, physical game.

“It was a good game to get into because you are going to see emotions like that inside a playoff game with some physicality early,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “It’s a good test. The emotions were going both ways, the momentum in the game went both ways. We found a way to stabilize and ended up winning the game.”

The Stars improved to 7-2-2 over their past 11 games. They are tied with St. Louis atop the Central Division at 99 points, but hold first place based on the regulation/overtime wins (ROW) tiebreaker.

D Kris Russell, who did not play on the road trip due to a lower-body injury, practiced Monday and will be available to play Tuesday. RW Brett Ritchie missed Monday’s practice with a lower-body injury.

Tuesday’s game kicks off a two-game homestand for the Stars.

Injuries: RW Brett Ritchie (lower body) is questionable. C Tyler Seguin (Achilles) and D Jason Demers (shoulder) are out.

The Predators (39-24-13) had a three-game winning streak snapped with a 4-3 loss to Colorado in Nashville Monday. The Predators fell behind 3-0 early but made it interesting late, scoring two goals in 24 seconds in the third period to cut Colorado’s lead to one goal.

“Tough start. Good assessment. That’s exactly what it was,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette told media following the game. “You don’t always have an answer. I thought we were sharp this morning. It looked like we were dialed in. We had a turnover on the first goal and a couple of tough plays at the net, two bounces went their way. We could have done things better.”

Tuesday’s loss was just the third in regulation for Nashville in the past 22 games (14-3-5). The Predators hold the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference and remain four points behind Chicago for third place in the Central Division.

Thursday’s game kicks off a two-game road trip for the Predators.

Injuries: C Paul Gaustad (upper body) and D Anthony Bitetto (lower body) are questionable.

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

*The Stars are 2-1-0 (4 points) in the season series.

*The Predators are 1-1-1 (3 points).

*Dec. 31, at Dallas: Stars 5, Predators 1

Feb. 15, at Nashville: Stars 3, Predators 2 (OT)

Mar. 1, at Nashville: Predators 5, Stars 3

*The Stars are 16-7-3 vs. the Central Division.

*The Predators are 11-12-3 vs. the Central Division.

*The Stars are 14-8-4 since the All-Star break.

*The Predators are 15-6-5 since the break.

*The Stars are 4-1-1 in their past six home games and are tied for sixth in the NHL with 50 home points (24-11-2).

*The Predators are 11-2-2 in their past 15 road games.

*The Stars are 34-35 (97.1 percent) on the penalty kill over the past 11 games.

*The Predators are 29-30 (96.7 percent) on the penalty kill over the past 11 games.

*Stars forward Ales Hemsky has 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) in his past ten games.

*Predators forward Filip Forsberg has 6 points (3 goals, 3 assists) in his past five games.

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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