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National Hockey League

NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, December 27th (All times Eastern)

Nashville Predators (16-17-4) at Dallas Stars (18-12-6), 8:30 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Dallas Stars have been able to keep their momentum going despite a number of injuries to their defensive group.

The Stars look to secure a point for a fifth straight game and avenge an earlier loss to the Nashville Predators as the two clubs do battle on Friday night in Dallas.

After having a two-game win streak snapped with a shootout loss in San Jose last Saturday, the Stars rebounded with a solid 5-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday. Jamie Benn had a goal and two assists while also adding a fight for a Gordie Howe hat trick.

Kari Lehtonen made 30 saves, Tyler Seguin had a goal and an assist and Shawn Horcoff, Cody Eakin and Valeri Nichushkin all scored in the win.

Dallas has not allowed more than two goals in a game in four straight despite missing blueliners Stephane Robidas (broken leg), Trevor Daley (sprained left ankle), Aaron Rome (lower body) and Sergei Gonchar (concussion-like symptoms).

"We played hard as a group. Our back end played really well," Benn said. "We don't have too much experience back there, but they handled themselves well against one of the best teams in the league, and once again, Kari was great."

Dallas kicks off a five-game homestand tonight and is 4-1-1 since a loss in Nashville on Dec. 12. That setback was the Stars' sixth in their last nine meetings with the Predators.

Lehtonen made 27 saves and fell below .500 in his career against the Predators. He is 5-6-0 with a 2.28 goals against average in 11 all-time encounters.

Carter Hutton made 33 saves for Nashville, while Patric Hornqvist, David Legwand and Paul Gaustad all scored.

That victory by the Predators came in the middle of a three-game win streak, but the club has since lost four straight. That includes a 6-2 loss to Boston on Monday as the Preds allowed the Bruins to score three power-play goals.

Craig Smith scored twice, with his second tally and fourth in his past three games pulling Nashville to within a goal 3:25 into the third period. However, the Predators took a penalties 23 seconds apart and the Bruins scored twice in a 49-second span.

"We had all the momentum," said Nashville coach Barry Trotz. "But our (penalties) cost us big time. It's absolutely unacceptable."

Hutton was given the quick hook after giving up two goals on the first four shots he faced, while Marek Mazanec yielded four goals on 29 shots against.

Mazanec has never faced the Stars, while Hutton's win earlier this month was his first appearance against them.

12/27 10:42:56 ET