The Predators try for a season-high third straight victory when they face the Stars for the third time Saturday night at the Sommet Center.
Nashville (5-6-1) beat Central Division-leading Chicago 2-0 on Thursday for its third win in four games since an 0-5-1 stretch.
“We’re making some strides,” coach Barry Trotz told the Predators’ official Web site. “I’m really happy with this effort.”
One reason for the Predators’ improvement is they’ve scored 12 goals in the last four games after totaling 11 in regulation of their previous eight contests.
“Every coach says that he wants his team to go hard to the net,” Ward said. “It is important for us because of our lack of goals. We’re missing Jason Arnott(notes) (arm) and Martin Erat(notes) (lower-body injury) in the lineup. We’ve just to keep it simple and make things happen.”
Dan Ellis(notes) is 2-3-1 with 3.03 goals-against average this season, but 5-4-0 with a 2.43 GAA against the team that drafted him in 2000. Still, Pekka Rinne(notes) could get the start after making 22 saves in his first shutout of the season.
“I’ve been feeling a little better and it’s a really good feeling,” said Rinne, who’s 3-3-0 with a 2.74 GAA and won the last three games he’s played.
Rinne made 20 saves after Ellis was pulled for allowing three goals on three shots in a 6-0 loss at Dallas on Oct. 14.
Nashville was a 3-2 shootout winner on the road over the Stars to open the season on Oct. 3, but now faces a Dallas club that’s coming off a 6-5 shootout loss to Florida on Friday. The Stars are 3-0-2 since last losing in regulation on Oct. 19.
“We showed a lot of character and persistence the way we fought back,” said Dallas coach Marc Crawford, who coached his 1,000th NHL game. “To be a good team, we’ve got to be a lot tighter.”
Neal has five goals in four games and two with three assists versus the Predators this season.
Auld, 2-0-2 with a 3.66 GAA this season, is 3-1-1 with a 2.42 GAA against Nashville, but will likely give way to Turco if he’s healthy.
Turco is 4-2-3 with a 2.26 GAA, and has an 0.96 GAA in two starts versus the Predators this season. He’s 12-6-1 with a 1.90 GAA all-time against Nashville.
After playing three times in the first month, these teams conclude their season series in Nashville on March 23.