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Morning Skate: Stars Look To Continue Strong Play Versus Predators Tonight

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The Stars have a losing record against Central Division opponents, and haven’t beat the Predators yet this season.

NHL: Nashville Predators at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Slowly but surely, the Dallas Stars are starting to improve some of their records.

Their road record is looking much better than it did earlier this season, now sitting at 8-10-2. They’re 5-8-0 versus the Central Division, buoyed by three wins against the Chicago Blackhawks. If they want to keep the wild card spot they have today, they will need to start beating some other Central teams down the stretch.

That could start today.

The Predators have had a stellar December, posting a 6-2-1 record. However, they enter tonight’s game having lost their last two games straight (losing at home to the Winnipeg Jets 6-4 and the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1).

Stars Lines

With the Stars playing well of late, and coming off of a shutout of the Chicago Blackhawks in their last game, they’ll roll the same lines as last game:

Remi Elie - Jamie Benn - Alexander Radulov
Mattias Janmark - Tyler Seguin - Devin Shore
Antoine Roussel - Radek Faksa - Tyler Pitlick
Gemel Smith - Martin Hanzal - Jason Spezza

Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis - Greg Pateryn
Stephen Johns - Julius Honka

Ben Bishop will start tonight according to captain Jamie Benn.

Predators Lines

The Predators had an optional skate this morning, but there are a few things we know from it even if they didn’t do line rushes. Craig Smith, who had a minor lower body injury, appears to be drawing back in as well as Cody McLeod. Aberg and Salomaki will be scratched from the forwards and Irwin will be out on defense.

Juuse Saros is expected to start tonight in net for Nashville. Saros backstopped the Predators to a 5-2 win on American Airlines Center ice earlier this month, posting a .956 save percentage and cleansheeting the Stars power play.