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Stars-Predators Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Saturday, April 9

7:00 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Southwest Plus

Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

The Stars (49-23-9) won 4-2 over Colorado Thursday at American Airlines Center. It was the fifth win in the past six games for the Stars, who are tied atop the Central Division with St. Louis at 107 points. The Stars, who own the regulation/overtime wins (ROW) tiebreaker, can clinch the division and the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs a few different ways Saturday, including with a win over the Predators.

“We would have like to clinched it earlier, but I think it is a good thing that this last game means something,” Stars captain Jamie Benn said. “It will keep us sharp, and we’ll see what we can do [Saturday] night.”

The Stars could get some of their injured players back for the regular season finale. Center Jason Spezza (illness), right wing Patrick Eaves (mid-body) and defenseman Jason Demers (shoulder) all practiced Friday and Stars coach Lindy Ruff said all three should be available. A decision on if they play will be made Saturday morning.

The Stars assigned C Jason Dickinson to the Texas Stars (AHL) Friday.

The Stars will play either Minnesota or Chicago in the first round of the playoffs.

Injuries: C Jason Spezza (illness), RW Patrick Eaves (mid-body) and D Jason Demers (shoulder) are questionable. C Tyler Seguin (Achilles), C Mattias Janmark (upper body) and RW Brett Ritchie (lower body) are out.

The Predators (41-26-14) rallied from a 2-0 deficit for a 3-2 overtime win over Arizona in Nashville Thursday. Filip Forsberg tied the game with 19 seconds remaining in regulation and Roman Josi won it 20 seconds into overtime.

“You want to feel good about the way you played, and I thought we played well through the first 40 minutes,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette told the team’s official site. “The fact that the guys kept with it and didn’t get frustrated and continued to push in the third period and we were able to get one, get one late and then the overtime goal, it was a really good comeback. I thought it was a strong 60 minutes.”

The Predators have won two straight games. Nashville is locked into the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference and will play either Los Angeles or Anaheim in the first round of the playoffs.

Injuries: F Gabriel Bourque (upper body) and F Miikka Salomaki (undisclosed) are out.

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

*The Stars are 3-1-0 in the season series.

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

*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

*Mar. 29, at Dallas: Stars 5, Predators 2

*The Stars are 18-7-3 vs. the Central Division.

*The Predators are 12-13-3 vs. the Central Division.

*The Stars are 8-2-0 in their past ten games.

*The Predators are 5-4-1 in their past ten games.

*The Stars rank fifth in the league on the power play (22.1 percent).

*Nashville ranks tenth in the league on the power play (19.6 percent).

*The Stars are 46-48 (95.8 percent) on the penalty kill over their past 16 games and now rank tenth in the league at 82.4 percent.

*The Predators are 16-18 (88.9 percent) on the penalty kill over their past seven games.

*Nashville’s Roman Josi ranks fourth among NHL defensemen in scoring with 61 points (14 goals, 47 assists) in 81 games.

*Dallas’ John Klingberg ranks fifth among NHL defenseman in scoring with 57 points (10 goals, 47 assists) in 75 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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