Dallas Stars 21-16-1
Nashville Predators 21-14-4
With captain Shea Weber back at practice, how much longer will Ryan Ellis be up in Nashville?
The Nashville Predators put their three-game winning streak on the line Thursday night when they host the Dallas Stars at Bridgestone Arena.
On New Year’s Day, the Predators beat the Calgary Flames 5-3 on the strength of a Sergei Kostitsyn hat trick, the first of his NHL career. Nashville’s two previous wins before the Calgary game were both 2-1 shootout victories against Minnesota and St. Louis.
Last time the Predators and Stars met was on December 23rd when Dallas doubled Nashville 6-3. The Predators lost Captain Shea Weber late in the game when Nashville’s defenseman took a hit to the head from Stars defenseman Mark Fistric.
On Tuesday, Weber returned to practice with the team but there is still no timetable for his return to the game.
Wednesday night another story unfolded from the NHL website about Fistric. During the first period between Dallas and the Detroit Red Wings, linesman Steve Miller hit his head when he accidentally collided with Fistric. Miller left the ice with concussion-like symptoms and did not return.
The Red Wings won the game 5-4. Dallas is now 5-5-0 in its last 10 games. Nashville is 7-3-0. Only three points separate the two clubs.
Jordie Benn, the brother of 22-year old Stars forward Jamie Benn, made his NHL debut for Dallas on Wednesday night after being recalled from the AHL. The 24-year old had an assist in his first game. However, the Dallas News is reporting that Stephane Robidas skated Wednesday and may be set to return to the Stars lineup on Thursday against Nashville, likely pushing the older Benn brother to the sidelines. Robidas has been out of the lineup since just before Christmas with a bone bruise on his foot.
Sheldon Souray also remains out of the Stars lineup with a sprained ankle. This season in 34 games, Souray has 4 goals and 12 assists for 16 points.
Pekka Rinne has struggled against the Stars, posting a 3-3-0 record with a 2.84 goals against average and just a .891 save percentage. Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen has fared better against the Predators with a 4-2 record and a 1.98 goals against average with a .932 save percentage.
Nashville will be looking for its 7th consecutive sellout, which would be a franchise record. If the Bridgestone Arena sells out, it will be the 9th sellout in 11 games, and 12th of the campaign in 20 home games this season.
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