The Nashville Predators (31-22-8) are in Dallas today for an early afternoon game with the Stars (32-23-6). Both have 70 points and are in ninth and tenth place in the Western Conference.
Neither team is playing well with Dallas going 2-7-1 in their last ten and the Preds going 4-5-1 which includes the current three game losing streak.
The Preds and Stars have met twice this season. On October 23, the Preds won 1-0 in Dallas when the team was still undefeated. On December 28 the Preds stunk up the Bridgestone Arena in a 4-2 loss.
With all the roster changes that the Preds made in the last couple of days, it will be a new look team on the ice for the Preds which couldn't hurt at this point. Gone are Marek Svatos, Wade Belak, Alexander Sulzer, and Steve Sullivan.
Blake Geoffrion will become the first Tennessean in the NHL and the first fourth generation NHLer to play when his skate touches the ice in Dallas. Matt Halischuk will return to the Preds also after playing eleven games earlier this season.
Kari Lehtonen (24-18-6, 2.62, .918) will be in net for the stars while Pekka Rinne (21-17-6, 2.14, .928) will go again for Nashville.
Just who are the Predators? Are they the team that played a flawless game against Vancouver nine days ago or the no show squad that played in Columbus on Tuesday. Maybe we will get some answers today as to which Predator team we will see for the final 21 games of the season.
The Preds head home after the game for a 2 p.m. game against Columbus tomorrow at Bridgestone Arena.
A pair of losses this weekend and the Preds could go from desperate buyers needing to overpay for marginal talent to possible sellers to other more desperate teams. The next fifty hours should be interesting.
Other previews come from Predlines, Chris Burton, The Tennessean and Predators.com.
The other side of the Star-Preds game previews can be found at The Dallas Morning News, ESPN Dallas, the Star-Telegram, The Dallas Stars Blog, and Defending Big D.
In Pred Nation...
Josh Cooper spoke with Blake Geoffrion and also has notes from the crazy day in Predland yesterday.
Bryan Mullen discusses the Predators feeling the playoff pressure.
NHL.com confirms that Blake Geoffrion is the first fourth generation NHLer.
David Singleton asks "What the Hell?" in his Friday Face-off.
Mark Willoughby has a scary picture from a gas station in his weekly "My View."
The Milwaukee Admirals struggled for offense with out Blake Geoffrion and Matt Halischuk in losing 2-1 to Chicago.
Rachel from What the Puck has a hockey themed scene from The Office.
Around the NHL...
Adrian Dater's expose on Eklund at Sports Illustrated raised a ton of venom on Twitter yesterday afternoon. I thought that it was well done and fairly balanced whether you like Eklund or not.
Ryan Porth has five things to watch over trade deadline weekend as well as his trophy tracker. We hashed over the trophies Thursday waiting out the rain and it is a solid list.
Matt Calvert had a natural hat trick in route to a 5-3 Columbus win over Phoenix.
Nick Cotsonika looks at the reasons for all the early trade frenzy this year.
The Wall Street Journal looks at NHL millionaires stashed in the minors.
Our friend (and editor at Inside Hockey) Tim Rosenthal, celebrates his 25th birthday with 25 items. Happy Birthday Tim.
It never seems to end in Phoenix as the Goldwater group appears to be holding up the bond sale with a threat of a lawsuit. Scott Burnside has more on the looming ramifications of the slow sale.
Mike Modano is expected to return in the Wings game at Buffalo tonight.
The power of Twitter strikes again as James Mirtle tells the story of Joffrey Lupol's quest to retrieve a lost cell phone.
Odds and Ends...
For Motorola Android geeks, here is a new little widget that is free and give battery life in a true percentage figure and not just in blocks of 10%.
Chris Brogan has his latest version of Social Media Etiquette.
Here is a piece on how journalist use metrics to track who is reading what.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass