Preview: Dallas Stars Seek Division Title vs Nashville Predators (7:00pm CDT)

It's the season finale- 7:00pm CDT on Fox Sports Southwest PLUS.

The Minnesota Wild or the Chicago Blackhawks. A division title for the first time in a decade, or a sea of red at the American Airlines Center in the form of the Chicago Blackhawk faithful.

81 games were not enough to separate the St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars, and it's all on the line this evening as each takes on a team with little to play for in terms of the outcome.

For the Blues it's the Washington Capitals, who have long known their fate as hockey's best team by a wide margin. For the Stars it's the Nashville Predators tonight- The more challenging of the two.

Nashville cannot be caught by the Minnesota Wild and fall to the second wild card, nor can they catch the Blackhawks who are locked into the third division seed. They could potentially finish with more points as a wild card than the Sharks will as a top-three division seed, but that would only be spit in the Pacific's eye.

They've nothing to play for with playof implications. Except for the bad blood that exists between division rivals, and the possibility of sewing doubt in a possible second-round matchup.

The Blues are somewhat injured. The Stars, doubly so.

Dallas played without Jason Spezza, Tyler Seguin, Patrick Eaves, Mattias Janmark, Jason Demers, Jamie Oleksiak, Brett Ritchie and Patrik Nemeth Thursday night. They're hoping to get some back before the playoffs start. Tomorrow's situation is unclear.

Jason Spezza (illness) could return and Jason Demers (shoulder) is actually practicing with the team. Jason Dickinson, a day after scoring his first NHL goal on his first NHL shot in his first NHL game, has been returned to the Texas Stars. Curtis McKenzie remains.

These two teams have played each other dead even this season. Dallas needed overtime to defeat the Preds in February, lost to them on March first after giving up five goals, then defeated them 5-2 recently as you'll recall, despite being out-shot 30-25.

Whenever Nashville starts their post-season campaign, they'll be on the road in California facing either the Ducks or Los Angeles Kings for intrasigent late-night affairs full of goaltending on NBC Sports Network.

Little reporting has been done on Nashville's end on what approach they'll tonight, who will play in net, if anyone will sit, or really anything else. We'll see if local Stars media digs up any interesting tidbits after morning skate.

For now we'll simply say their lineup has been-



Pekka Rinne
Carter Hutton

Unlike the Stars, who are missing half an NHL roster on the injury front, the Predators are missing only Gabriel Bourque.

From Stars PR:

The Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators face off for the fifth and final time during the 2015-16 regular season. The Stars have won five of the last six games (5-1-0) against their Central Division rival, including notching three-straight wins at American Airlines Center. In the most recent meeting of the season series on March 29 in Dallas, the Stars defeated the Predators, 5-2. Captain Jamie Benn potted two goals (2-0=2) and defenseman Alex Goligoski added two helpers (0-2=2) and matched a career-best with a +5 plus/minus rating. This season, Benn leads all Stars skaters with six points (3-3=6) in four games against Nashville, with three other players notching four points including forward Jason Spezza (2-2=4), defenseman John Klingberg (0-4=4) and Goligoski (0-4=4).

Stars forward Ales Hemsky registered two assists (0-2=2) on Thursday night against the Colorado Avalanche and now has 15 points (4-11=15) over his last 15 games. Last month, Hemsky recorded a six-game point streak (2-5=7) from March 19 - 31, his longest since he recorded points in a career-best eight consecutive games from Nov. 18 - Dec. 6, 2008 as a member of the Edmonton Oilers (4-7=11). In 37 games since returning from injury on Jan. 15, Hemsky has tallied 26 (10-16=26) of his 39 (13-26=39) points this season. The native of Pardubice, Czech Republic has points in two of his last three games against Nashville (1-1=2) and has 29 points (11-18=29) in 38 career games against them.

Stars forward Patrick Sharp registered an assist (0-1=1) against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night and now has points in five of his last six games (3-3=6). Sharp has 54 points (20-34=54) this season and ranks fifth on the club in points (54) and fourth in assists (34). The forward has reached the 50-point plateau for the seventh time in his NHL career and for the first time since the 2013-14 campaign, when he recorded 78 points (34-44=78) with the Chicago Blackhawks. Sharp's six game-winning goals this season are tied for 20th in the NHL and share first on the club. The native of Thunder Bay, Ont. has points in three of his last five games against the Predators (1-2=3) and has skated in 58 career games against Nashville, recording 29 points (14-15=29).

Stars forward Radek Faksa matched a career-high in points and assists with two helpers (0-2=2) in his most recent game against Colorado. He has points in two-straight games (1-2=3) along with points in four of his last five games (3-2=5). Faksa has registered three two-game point streaks this season along with his first NHL goal streak from March 29 - 31, which included the first game-winning goal of his NHL career on March 31 against Arizona. In 44 games this season with Dallas, the forward has notched five goals and seven assists for 12 points (5-7=12). Selected by Dallas in the first round (13th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft, Faksa made his NHL debut this season on Oct. 17 at Florida, recording one hit, one block and one shot in the contest.