Preview #40: Weber returns to lineup when Nashville hosts Dallas
Dallas Stars 21-16-1
Nashville Predators 21-14-4
The Nashville Predators put their three-game winning streak on the line Thursday night when they host the Dallas Stars at Bridgestone Arena. They will have some extra help as Josh Cooper from The Tennessean reports that Captain Shea Weber has been taken off of the injured reserve list and will make his return to the lineup.
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.
The Predators went 3-1-0 without their captain in the lineup. However, Nashville was unable to score a single tally on the man advantage without Weber’s services. The power play fell from second best in the League to being ranked fourth, going 0 for 13 with Weber on the sidelines.
On Tuesday, Weber returned to practice with the team.
Another story unfolded from the NHL website about Fistric. During the first period between Dallas and the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night, 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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