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Dallas Stars Vs. Nashville Predators: Stars Look For Consecutive Wins

(Sports Network) - The Dallas Stars will try to win consecutive games for the first time in over a month when they welcome the sliding Nashville Predators for today's battle at American Airlines Center.

The Stars had lost five straight games -- all in regulation -- before notching a victory Thursday evening in Detroit. Dallas still has a 3-10-1 mark since its last winning streak, a five-game stretch from Jan. 9-20.

Nashville, meanwhile, has lost three straight and has been shut out in each of its last two setbacks.

Tonight's contest is an important battle in the Western Conference playoff race. The Stars and Preds are currently locked with Chicago in a three-way tie for the eighth spot with 70 points each.

Dallas and the Predators have split a pair of meetings this season with each club winning a game on the road. The teams have split the last 10 encounters overall and Nashville has won two of its last three in Dallas.

The Stars picked up their first win since Feb. 11 with Thursday's 4-1 victory in Detroit. Kari Lehtonen made 38 saves to help Dallas snap a seven-game road losing streak.

Mike Ribeiro, Loui Eriksson, Krystofer Barch and Jamie Langenbrunner lit the lamp for the Stars, who killed off five of Detroit's six power-play opportunities.

"They had a lot of power plays that could have turned the game around, but we killed them," Ribeiro said. "Once again, our goalie was outstanding, and we scored on our chances."

Dallas has just one win in its last five home games and has a 17-9-5 record as the host this season. After today's game, the Stars will head out on a four- game road trip.

Stars forward Brad Richards has missed the last five games with a concussion and he will miss today's game as well. However, Dallas' leading scorer this season was able to skate on his own on Thursday, a fact that could make the coveted playmaker easier to deal before Monday's trade deadline. Richards, who has 24 goals and 63 points this season, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Nashville has been outscored by a combined 7-0 margin in its last two trips to the ice, getting blanked Tuesday in Columbus before losing Thursday's home tilt to Chicago. The Predators have never been held scoreless in three straight games.

Corey Crawford stopped all 31 shots he faced for his third shutout of the season in the Blackhawks' 3-0 victory at Nashville. Pekka Rinne allowed two goals on 24 shots for Nashville.

"Every time we've had a downturn this year it's been because we haven't been able to finish," said Predators head coach Barry Trotz.

Nashville's last goal came with 50 seconds left in regulation in last Saturday's 3-2 loss to Phoenix, leaving the Preds with a scoring drought of 120 minutes, 50 seconds.

The Predators have lost four of their last five road games and they are sporting a 17-15-1 record as the guest this year. Nashville is playing five of its next six games away from the Music City, but will host Columbus tomorrow afternoon.

Nashville received some bad news on injured forward Marcel Goc this week, as the team announced Thursday that he will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery. Goc had nine goals and 24 points in 51 games this season.

Goc joins Matthew Lombardi and Cal O'Reilly as the third Nashville centerman to suffer a season-ending injury this season.

Preds winger Steve Sullivan was also placed on injured reserve Friday with a groin injury that has bothered him for most of the season. Sullivan has 10 goals and 12 assists in 43 games this season.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.