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Dallas Stars Vs. Nashville Predators: Stars Look To Re-Enter Playoff Picture

(Sports Network) - The streaking Nashville Predators will aim for a sixth consecutive victory when they host the Dallas Stars tonight at Bridgestone Arena in a contest loaded with playoff implications.

The Predators are tied with Los Angeles for the fifth spot in the Western Conference, but the clubs are just four points ahead of the ninth-seeded Stars. Dallas, in turn, is just one point behind Anaheim for the West's eighth and final postseason berth.

Nashville, which has won the last two tests of its five-game win streak on home ice, is also two points ahead of Chicago in the crowded conference playoff race. The Blackhawks are hosting Anaheim tonight in another key Western Conference matchup, while LA is playing at home against Colorado.

While the Predators have aided their postseason chances recently, the Stars have lost two straight and four of their last five games. Dallas, however, has managed to gain a point in its last three outings, which includes a pair of setbacks after regulation in its last two trips to the ice.

Dallas has taken two of three from the Predators this season, winning two straight meetings after dropping a 1-0 decision to a visiting Nashville club in the series opener back on Oct. 23. The Stars have won five of eight overall against the Preds and have claimed their last two tests in the Music City.

The Predators picked up their most recent victory Thursday in a crucial tilt against the visiting Ducks. Sergei Kostitsyn scored two goals and Pekka Rinne made 34 saves to lead Nashville to the 5-4 regulation win.

However, Nashville did receive a scare from the Ducks before completing the regulation win. Anaheim trailed by a 5-1 count around the midway point of the third period before scoring three times, including a tally by Corey Perry to cut the deficit to one goal with just 27 seconds left in regulation.

"It's not the way we wanted to finish, but it happens and the two points are the biggest thing and they didn't get any," said Predators forward David Legwand.

Nick Spaling and Jordin Tootoo both registered a goal and one assist for the Predators, who have won four straight on home ice and are sporting a 21-8-7 record as the host this season.

The Stars last played on Wednesday against visiting Anaheim and Dallas was dealt a 4-3 overtime loss after blowing a pair of one-goal leads in the third period.

Teemu Selanne tied the game for the Ducks with seven seconds left in regulation and Cam Fowler added the game-winner 1:42 into OT to lift the Ducks to the important victory.

Trevor Daley, Loui Eriksson and Alex Goligoski each lit the lamp for the Stars, while Kari Lehtonen made 22 stops.

"We've talked about improving each and every game," said Dallas head coach Marc Crawford. "You know, we're in game 73 here and when we're in game 82 we'll still have things to improve on."

Dallas posted a 2-2-3 record during its recent seven-game homestand and the club is kicking off a five-game road trip tonight. The Stars are 18-14-2 as the guest this season.

Rinne is expected to get the start in net for Nashville tonight and is 2-3-0 with a 2.57 goals-against average in his career against the Stars. Lehtonen, meanwhile, is 4-1-0 with a 1.78 GAA in five lifetime starts versus the Predators.

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