By Amanda DiPaolo
Dallas Stars 38-25-10
Nashville Predators 40-25-10
The Nashville Predators host the Dallas Stars on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators are winners of five straight games, and are looking for number six.
Dallas is two spots behind the Predators in the standings, but only four points back with two games in hand. If Nashville wins, the Predators move up to 92 points while the Stars remain at 86.
The most overs-used catch phrase in the Western Conference during the stretch is saying a game is a must-win game or a do or die situation. For Dallas, the time is now to make a move in the standings or they will miss their shot.
Saturday night’s game is the first of a five-game road trip for the Stars. The four games after the Predators will all be played against each Pacific Division team–teams that are in front of the Stars in the top 8 of the Western Conference.
Dallas has struggled as of late losing their last two games after regulation and having gone 4-2-4 in their last 10 games. The Predators are one of the hottest teams in the League right now, winners of six out of the last seven games.
The last game for both Dallas and Nashville was the Anaheim Ducks. Dallas played Anaheim on Wednesday and were unable to hang on to a late third period lead. Teemu Selanne tied the game with only 5 seconds left on the clock and the Ducks went on to win the game in overtime.
Thursday night, the Predators hosted the Ducks and barely hung on to win the game 5-4 after having a 5-1 lead in the middle of the third period.
Both Dallas and Nashville are fighting off injuries, though Steve Sullivan and Cal O’Reilly have both started skating.
While Sullivan (groin) and O’Reilly (leg) remain out of the lineup, so do Marcel Goc (shoulder), Matt Lombardi and Francis Bouillon (concussions).
For Dallas, Adam Burish is out (leg), as is Nicklas Grossman (sprained MCL). Brian Sutherby is questionable (back) and Karlis Skrastins will not be in the lineup (lacerated thigh).
While the Predators 90 points are only four points out of 9th spot, it is also only five points out of first in the Central Division. Detroit is 4-4-2 in their last 10 games and have struggled without Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen in the lineup. Detroit has a game in hand on Nashville. Though the odds are against it, it is possible for the Predators to catch the Red Wings in the standings if Detroit continues to slide. It is also worth noting that the schedule for the Red Wings is not kind. Detroit plays Chiacgo three times and will visit Nashville one more time before the season concludes.
It appears that Saturday night’s game will be the 15th sell out in Smashville this season. There are just under 500 tickets remaining. Game time is 7pm at Bridgestone Arena.
Photo credit: Getty Images
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