Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series tied 2-2

Game 1: Saturday, October 23rd
Game 2: Tuesday, December 28th
Game 3: Saturday, February 26th
Game 4: Saturday, March 26th

Stars 4

(22-11-4, 48 pts)

Predators 2

(17-13-6, 40 pts)

8:00 PM ET, December 28, 2010

Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee

1 2 3 T
DAL 0 1 34
NSH 0 1 12

L. Eriksson (Stars - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

C. Wilson (Predators - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

A. Raycroft (Stars - G): Saves: 44, Save Pct.: .957

Stars-Predators Preview


The Nashville Predators have struggled to score since their 10-game point streak.

Facing the Dallas Stars wouldn't seem like the best way for the Predators to end those woes, but they didn't need much offense in the previous matchup.

Nashville will try to repeat that defensive effort Tuesday night when it hosts Dallas in a matchup of teams trying to avoid equaling their longest losing streaks of the season.

Since outscoring opponents 31-14 during their 8-0-2 run, the Predators (17-12-6) have been on the wrong end of a 14-3 margin while losing four straight.

They were shut out for the first time in more than a month in a 2-0 defeat at St. Louis on Sunday night, but coach Barry Trotz saw his Predators outshoot the Blues 32-26.

"I thought our pace and competitive level were better," said Trotz, whose team had been outshot in each of its three previous games. "We just didn't find the back of the net."

The loss spoiled another strong effort from Pekka Rinne, who has allowed a total of three goals in two starts since returning from a knee injury.

One of Rinne's best performances of the season came Oct. 23 in Dallas, stopping 30 shots in a 1-0 victory. The Predators have been held to nine goals while splitting their last six matchups with the Stars (21-11-4).

Dallas has limited opponents to an average of 2.2 goals over its last 17 games, going 11-3-3, but has lost its last two while scoring just twice. A 1-0 loss to Phoenix on Sunday night was the Stars' first shutout since Nov. 6 and third this season.

"You want to dictate the game. You don't want to go with the flow and play how the other team plays," defenseman Stephane Robidas said. "We're a much better team when we take charge. When we don't, we're in trouble and that's what happened."

Like Rinne, Kari Lehtonen has given up three goals over his past two starts but has little to show for it. He also was on the wrong end of the duel earlier this season with the Predators' top goalie while having a three-game win streak against Nashville snapped.

Lehtonen, though, outperformed Rinne in a 3-1 win at Bridgestone Arena on March 23, stopping 34 shots while helping the Stars snap a three-game skid in Nashville. Loui Eriksson had a goal and an assist in that victory, though he missed a key penalty shot Sunday and had a five-game point streak snapped.

The teams might be in for another low-scoring affair if Lehtonen and Rinne are back in net for this one.

Lehtonen is 3-1-0 with a 1.72 goals-against average in his career versus Nashville, while Rinne is 2-1-0 with a 1.68 GAA in three starts against Dallas.

The Predators dropped a season-high five straight from Oct. 28-Nov. 7, while the Stars have endured a pair of three-game skids -- the most recent one Nov. 6-12.

Nashville will be missing forward Jordin Tootoo, who voluntarily has entered into in-patient care through the NHL-NHLPA substance abuse and behavioral health program. It's unclear when Tootoo, who has a team-high 47 penalty minutes, will return to action.