Predators @ Dallas Stars (Game 26): Preview

While the SEC Basketball Tournament is being held at Bridgestone Arena, the Nashville Predators start a five game road trip. Their first opponent is the Dallas Stars. The Predators are ranked 11th in the Western Conference with a record of 10-9-6 and a total of 26 points. The Stars are 12-10-2 and ranked 10th in the Western Conference with 26 points. Puck drops at 7:37pm CT.

TV/Radio Coverage

Nashville: Fox Sports Tennessee and 102.5 The Game

Dallas: Fox Sports Soutwest+ and 1310AM

Season Series

Date Away Home Result
2/25 DAL NSH 4-5 NSH OT

Line Up News

Starting Goaltenders:

Name W L OT GAA SV%
#35 Pekka Rinne 9 8 5 2.09 .920
#32 Kari Lehtonen 9 4 1 2.23 .929

Projected Nashville Scratches: #24 W Matt Halischuk and #7 D Jonathon Blum; #27 W Patric Hornqvist (IR; upper-body), #33 W Colin Wilson (IR; upper body) and #75 D Hal Gill (IR; 

Projected Dallas Scratches: #10 C Brendan Morrow (strained groin), #14 W Jamie Benn (wrister) and #36 D Philip Larsen (upper body); #29 D Aaron Rome (IR; foot)

Projected Lines

Nashville

#57 Gabriel Bourque #11 David Legwand #15 Craig Smith
#23 Zach Boychuck #12 Mike Fisher #10 Martin Erat
#74 Sergei Kostitsyn #28 Paul Gaustad #16 Rich Clune
#19 Bobby Butler #13 Nick Spaling #18 Brandon Yip
#6 Shea Weber #59 Roman Josi
#8 Kevin Klein #4 Ryan Ellis
#22 Scott Hannan #64 Victor Bartley
#35 Pekka Rinne
#30 Chris Mason

Dallas

#10 Reilly Smith #20 Cody Eakin #68 Jaromir Jagr
#13 Ray Whitney #9 Derek  Roy #72 Erik Cole
#25 Matt Fraser #60 Antoine Roussel #21 Loui Eriksson
#24 Eric Nystrom #38 Vernon Fiddler #40 Ryan Garbutt
#3 Stephane Robidas #4 Brenden Dillon
#6 Trevor Daley #33 Alex Goligoski
#58 Jordie Benn #43 Jamie Oleksiak
#32 Kari Lehtonen
#31 Richard Bachman

Thoughts on Both Teams

Predators: Nashville is once again facing scoring problems and it is unlikely to improve due to injuries. Patric Hornqvist and leading scorer Colin Wilson were placed on injured reserve Monday, while Brandon Yip was activated. Zach Boychuck and Craig Smith will have to start producing in their absence, as well as the underprodcutive players like Sergei Kostitsyn, Mike Fisher and David Legwand need to pick up their slack as well.

The Predators are currently in a slump only winning one of their last five games. In a tough and tight Western Conference, there is no room for failure if the Preds want to make the playoffs.

The three keys to victory for the Preds are…1) Throw pucks on Lehtonen and crash the net; 2) Perform on special teams; and 3) Get the first goal to silence the crowd.

Stars: Dallas is finally getting healthy. Ray Whitney appears to be returning in the lineup, while Jamie Benn is questionable with a wrist injury. Whitney has been a missing piece in their offensive depth, which has led to the trade for Erik Cole.

Speaking of trades, it appears Brendan Morrow will be out of the lone star state soon. The Stars have been looking to trade the veteran and before the trade deadline could be their perfect opportunity to acquire a defenseman they desperately need.

The Stars would like to get a two point lead on Nashville and possibly be in playoff position by the end of the night. Both teams are hungry for wins and will do anything at all costs at this point of the season.

Dallas Stars Players to Watch:

Name GP G A
#68 Jaromir Jagr 23 10 8
#14 Jamie Benn 19 6 10
#13 Ray Whitney 8 2 4

Who scores the first goal of the game for Predators? Win a Preds player t-shirt, info here.

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