Stars Confident as They Make Final Push for Playoff Spot

Tuesday, 04.8.2014 / 12:50 PM CT / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
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Stars Confident as They Make Final Push for Playoff Spot

The Dallas Stars begin their final push for a playoff spot when they take on the Nashville Predators tonight at American Airlines Center.

“We’ve been trying so hard from day one of training camp, and now it’s down to this last week,” said Stars forward Antoine Roussel. “We have to bear down, win tonight and go from there, win the next one and go from there. It’s one game at a time.”

The Stars have a one point lead over the Phoenix Coyotes for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference with four games remaining for both teams. The Stars are trying to secure a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

“There’ a positive mindset in this room,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “We’re a confident group that we can get the job done here. We’re taking it one game at a time, we can’t be looking forward and we’ve got a big one tonight starting with Nashville.”

Tonight’s game will kick off a stretch of three straight at home for the Stars, who are 6-0-1 in their last seven games at the AAC and 8-1-1 over the last ten.

“I think our fans, playing in front of our fans, the energy in our building, we’ve played well here of late and played some real good hockey,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “If you asked me if I wanted to play at home or on the road, I’d pick home.”

It appears the Stars will go with the same lineup as last game. Kari Lehtonen was the first goaltender off the ice this morning, so it appears he’ll be making his tenth straight start in net for the Stars. The forward line combinations and defense pairs are expected to be the same.

Ray Whitney, who has missed the last two games with a lower body injury, did not skate this morning and remains out. Ruff said Whitney is day to day. Aaron Rome is available to play after missing time with a lower body injury, but he is expected to be a healthy scratch on defense along with Kevin Connauton.

Pekka Rinne is expected to start in goal for the Predators, who have won three straight and are 6-1-1 over their last eight games. The Predators are still alive in the playoff race, but are hanging on by a thread.

“Obviously this one is probably do-or-die for us. If we don’t win tonight, we can’t make the playoffs,” said Predators forward Patric Hornqvist. “I know our chances are really, really small, but as long as you have a chance you have to work. This group, they never quit working. We have to still work and do the right things out there, and as long as there’s a chance, we’re going to do that.”

Tuesday’s game

Who: Nashville Predators at Dallas Stars
Where: American Airlines Center
When: 7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest Plus (Channel guide)
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

Stars projected lineup

Jamie BennTyler SeguinValeri Nichushkin
Antoine RousselCody EakinRyan Garbutt
Shawn HorcoffVernon FiddlerColton Sceviour
Erik ColeDustin JeffreyAlex Chiasson

Alex GoligoskiTrevor Daley
Jordie BennBrenden Dillon
Patrik NemethSergei Gonchar

Kari Lehtonen
Tim Thomas

Predators projected lineup

Matt Cullen – Mike Fisher – Patric Hornqvist
Gabriel Bourque – Calle Jarnkrok – Craig Smith
Nick Spaling – Colin Wilson – Viktor Stalberg
Rich Clune – Paul Gaustad – Eric Nystrom

Roman Josi – Shea Weber
Seth Jones – Victor Bartley
Mattias Ekholm – Ryan Ellis

Pekka Rinne
Carter Hutton

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.




1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70


2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
J. Benn 13 5 10 2 15
J. Spezza 13 5 8 0 13
C. Eakin 13 1 7 -4 8
A. Goligoski 13 4 3 -6 7
P. Sharp 13 4 2 -4 6
P. Eaves 9 3 3 3 6
R. Faksa 13 3 2 2 5
M. Janmark 12 2 3 -3 5
C. Sceviour 11 2 3 1 5
J. Klingberg 13 1 3 -5 4
K. Lehtonen 6 3 0 .899 2.81
A. Niemi 1 3 2 .865 3.29 is the official Web site of DSE Hockey Club, L.P.  The Stars name and logos are registered trademarks of the NHL and the Stars. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2016 DSE Hockey Club, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

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