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Predators-Stars Preview

By ALAN FERGUSON

STATS Writer

(AP) -- Time is running short for the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars to climb into playoff position, and the Predators have tried to help themselves with a four-game point streak.

The Stars have earned at least one point in six consecutive home games and will try to match their longest win streak in their own building this season Friday night.

Nashville (32-31-11) is 11th in the West and nine points behind Phoenix but has tried to cut that deficit by going 3-0-1 in its last four. After getting edged in a shootout with Colorado on Tuesday, the Predators blew out Buffalo 6-1 two nights later.

Shea Weber scored a pair of goals, and Carter Hutton made 32 saves to end a six-game home losing streak.

Top goaltender Pekka Rinne might be in net for Nashville's attempt to extend its point streak and earn a third win in four matchups with Dallas (34-27-11) this season. The Stars, though, won the only other home game 4-1 on Dec. 27 and will seek to cut a five-point deficit to Phoenix.

Dallas has two games in hand on both Phoenix and Nashville.

"It's a team that's going to be ready for us," Weber said. "They're right in the hunt. We're still alive so it's a big game. Both teams are going to be ready."

The Stars were denied a third straight win Tuesday with a 4-2 loss in Chicago. While it has lost four in a row on the road, Dallas is 5-0-1 in its last six home games.

The Stars play four of their final 10 games at home.

"It's the last sprint to the finish and every point is important and every game is important," defenseman Brenden Dillon told the team's website. "You'd like to get some help from certain teams, but you want to take care of yourself."

The Stars likely won't have forwards Erik Cole (upper body) and Ray Whitney (illness) for that game. Cole has six goals and four assists in his last 11 games against Nashville and scored twice in the home win in December.

Seth Jones (concussion), Paul Gaustad (upper body) and Patrick Eaves (lower body) are among the Predators that are on the injured list.

Rinne is 4-0-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average and two shutouts in his last four games against Dallas. In the first of back-to-back games, the Stars might start Kari Lehtonen or Tim Thomas.

Thomas might have the edge as he's 4-0-0 with a 2.40 GAA in four career starts versus the Predators, including a 5-4 shootout win for Florida on Jan. 4. Lehtonen is 1-5-0 with a 2.87 GAA in his last six starts against Nashville.

Colin Wilson has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in his last nine games against Dallas and one in each of the last six. Weber has totaled three goals and five assists in his last 11 matchups.

Updated March 28, 2014

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