Saturday, October 31, 2009

Preds Look for .500 Versus Stars

The Nashville Predators (5-6-1) continue to try to battle out of the hole they created by losing six in a row earlier this month when they take on the Dallas Stars (6-2-5) at the Sommet Center tonight at 7 p.m.

Getting to the .500 mark at this point would be a considerable turnaround from their low point at 2-5-1 just ten days ago. Since that time, their play has improved, winning three of four, capped by their best game of the season on Thursday when the beat the Division leading Chicago Blackhawks 2-0.

The Predators will go with Pekka Rinne in net tonight as has been customary after a goalie gets a shutout in the previous game. Rinne has not allowed a goal in his last two appearances which covers 99:06 minutes and 34 shots faced.

The Stars lost in a shoot-out 6-5 last night at home against the Florida Panthers. Alex Auld was in goal for Dallas and will get the call again tonight as Marty Turco continue to be out with "flu like symptoms." The highlight of the game for Dallas was a first period hat trick by Stephen Reinprecht.

The Predators called up Peter Olvecky this morning to take the roster spot of Cal O'Reilly who was sent to Milwaukee yesterday. Marty Erat continue to be "day to day" with a lower body injury and will not play. Jason Arnott (upper body) and Jordin Tootoo (hip flexor) may be able to return next Thursday when the Preds play at Anaheim.

Admiral's Short Shifts is also reporting that Andreas Thuresson was sent to Nashville but there has been no announcement about any further roster moves for the Predators.

This will be the third meeting of the month for the Preds and Stars. Nashville won the season opener in Dallas 3-2 in a shoot-out with Mike Santorelli getting the game winner. The Stars decimated the Preds on October 14 in Dallas when they won 6-0 in a game where the Preds were down 4-0 in the first nine minutes of the game. It was clearly the worst outing of the year for the Preds.

The Preds are last in the league on the power play (11.1%) but have made strides over the last few games going 4 of 14 after a streak of going 30 man advantages without a goal. Dallas is 22nd in the league with ten goals on the power play for the season.

Jerred Smithson has had short-handed goals in the last two games including the game winner against Minnesota on Wednesday and an empty netter at the end of Thursday's contest. His two shorties has him tied with several for the league lead.

The Predators penalty kill has been vastly improved in the last few games as they have moved up to 23rd in the league at 76.2%. Dallas is 25th at 75.0%.

After tonight's game, the Predators will be off until Thursday when they begin a four game West coast swing in Anaheim. They do not play at home again until November 14 when they play the Montreal Canadians in a game that begins a streak of 12 of 15 home games in a 29 day period.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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