Predators-Stars Preview


The struggling Nashville Predators were having enough trouble finding the back of the net before hearing their leading scorer is slated to miss some time.

Colin Wilson begins a stint on injured reserve as Nashville kicks off a five-game road trip Tuesday night while seeking a fourth straight win over the Dallas Stars, who might be without forward Jamie Benn.

The Predators' 52 non-shootout goals are tied with San Jose for the fewest in the NHL, and they've scored one goal or none six times during a 2-5-1 stretch following a 2-1 shootout loss to Minnesota on Saturday.

In addition to those scoring woes continuing, Nashville (10-9-6) lost Wilson to an upper-body injury after he went hard into the boards. Wilson, who has team highs of seven goals and 12 assists, was coming off a two-goal, two-assist performance in Friday's 6-0 win over Edmonton.

Forward Patric Hornqvist, though, suffered an upper-body injury in that win, and he also was placed on IR with Wilson on Monday.

Coach Barry Trotz, whose team is 0-5-1 over its last six away from home, said Nashville will need others to step up. Forward Brandon Yip was activated from injured reserve and could see his first action since March 2.

"We've just got to go on the road now and do it as a group," Trotz said. "We're getting some bodies that are nicked up. Now we're going to be tested even more."

Captain Shea Weber, who has five assists over his last three games, said there still won't be any excuses on the trip despite the injuries.

"We were trying to get something going here before we get going on the road, but now we're forced to do something on the road when we go away,'' Weber said.

One-third of Nashville's 15 goals over its last eight contests came in a 5-4 overtime win over Dallas on Feb. 25, as Roman Josi's second goal - he also had a pair of assists - gave the Predators their third straight victory in the series.

Benn had an assist in that contest, but he may not be around for this matchup after suffering a wrist injury in Saturday's 2-1 loss at Phoenix. An X-ray didn't reveal a break, though he may need to sit out at least a game for it to feel 100 percent.

"The wrist is a little sore," Benn told the team's official website after Monday's practice. "I'll skate tomorrow and see how it feels."

Captain Brenden Morrow practiced sporadically Monday after sitting out Saturday with a groin injury, and coach Glen Gulutzan said he's also a game-time decision.

The Stars (12-10-2), though, may get winger Ray Whitney back Tuesday after he took part in a full practice. He hasn't played since Feb. 1 due to a broken foot and will have to see how he feels prior to the game.

"It will be up to Whits and the doctor if it is the right thing to do to put him in," Gulutzan said.

Pekka Rinne stopped 52 of 53 shots while starting both Friday and Saturday, but he's 2-4-1 with a 3.19 goals-against average in his last seven starts overall. He's also been shaky at times against the Stars, going 4-3-0 with a 3.07 GAA over his last eight outings in this series.

Kari Lehtonen, who is 4-2-0 with a 1.93 GAA over his last seven starts, could be in net for Dallas. Lehtonen is 5-4-0 with a 2.00 GAA in his career versus Nashville.