Nashville Predators: Physical play will be in order as Stars visit Nashville

(Photo by Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images) /

With playoff positioning on the line, the Nashville Predators battle Dallas Stars. Will it be a franchise record win streak or could the Stars shine bright?

The Central Division of the NHL is hotly contested. While the Nashville Predators enjoy a six-point cushion at the top, the rest of the division is taking aim, targeting playoff position. Winning eight games in a row certainly helped the Predators gain the position they currently enjoy. Having a healthy roster does as well.

Offense drives the current success of the Predators, who are averaging 4.62 goals a game in their win streak. Opponents are gaining only 2.25 goals in that time. Goaltending and defense help, but the aggressive play on offense spurred the Predators on to several comeback wins. Games were tightest on the road, but tonight’s game is on home ice.

The atmosphere is going to be electric from beginning to end. Tonight brings two celebrations. The first is welcoming Mike Fisher back home for the first time this season. The other cause of jubilee involves the numbers 1320. The number of David Poile’s record wins is painted behind the nets.

The Star align?

The Dallas Stars finished a rather unsuccessful five-game homestand, going 2-1-2. They were able to pull out wins over Calgary and St. Louis, but fell victim to Winnipeg, Tampa Bay, and Ottawa. However, they always provide a fight for the Predators. Do they have the bodies to keep up after playing last night? Injuries are affecting the roster for the Stars.

Ben Bishop is out with a lower-body injury, meaning Kari Lehtonen will likely be in net tonight. Centers Martin Hanzal and Radek Faksa are also out of the lineup. So is defensemen Esa Lindell. With the depth they will face in the Predators tonight, the Stars cannot afford to be too physical or get behind early.

Regardless, the Stars certainly have offensive weapons. Tyler Seguin leads the team with 36 goals and 62 points, followed by Alexander Radulov with 59 points and Jamie Been with 58. Defensemen John Klingberg provides the Stars with a fourth 50-point scorer with 56 on the season.

The Predators hold a 2-0-1 edge on the Starts this season and are 4-0-1 in their last five meetings.

Predators’ Lineup

It appears Roman Josi will miss his third straight game with an upper-body injury. There is no word on the severity or when the team expects Josi to return. Those receiving a night off include Kyle Turris, who is replaced by Mike Fisher on the Predators’ second line. Ryan Hartman takes over on the fourth line, meaning Miikka Salomaki will sit tonight.


Filip Forsberg – Ryan Johansen – Viktor Arvidsson

Kevin Fiala – Mike Fisher – Craig Smith

Scott Hartnell – Nick Bonino – Calle Jarnkrok

Ryan Hartman – Colton Sissons – Austin Watson


Mattias Ekholm – Ryan Ellis

Alexei Emelin – P.K. Subban

Matt Irwin – Yannick Weber


Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

Next: Predators take top spot on Power Rankings

Where to watch

As always, tune into Fox Sports Tennessee at 6:30 p.m. Central time for Predators Pregame, with the game starting at 7:00 p.m. You can watch the game on your mobile device with the Fox Sports Go app or listen on 102.5 the Game. Also, follow the actions on Twitter by following @PredlinesNSH!