NHL

Predators-Stars Preview

The Nashville Predators' extended losing streak has cost them playoff seeding, though they'll still enjoy home-ice advantage in the first round.

They'll try to head into the postseason on a positive note and avenge last weekend's loss to the Stars on Saturday night in Dallas.

Nashville (47-24-10) limps into its finale with five straight losses, allowing 20 goals in that span to fall from atop the Central Division to an assured second-place finish. The Predators, who have gone 6-11-3 since owning a nine-point division lead on Feb. 24, opened the scoring in each game during the losing streak.

They'll face either Chicago or Minnesota in the first round depending on Saturday's results. The Blackhawks will be their opponent if they earn at least one point at Colorado, while a Wild win in St. Louis and Chicago regulation loss would see Nashville play Minnesota. The Predators are 1-1-2 against Chicago and 2-2-1 against the Wild.

Nashville, which blew an early lead in a 4-3 overtime home loss to the Stars last Saturday, led 2-0 in the first period in Thursday's 4-2 home loss to Minnesota.

"It's not good enough," said captain Shea Weber, who has three points in his last 21 games. "We have to look at ourselves in the mirror and realize what it's going to take to win, especially going forward here. Maybe it's a good wakeup call so we can realize we're not playing good enough hockey going into the playoffs."

The Predators hope to rediscover their home success in the first round. They rank second with a .732 home winning percentage despite going 2-6-3 over their last 11 at Bridgestone Arena.

"That could be huge," Filip Forsberg said. "That was our goal coming into this game, we didn't get it done our way, but it still happened anyway. That could be a big factor going into the playoffs with our record here."

Forsberg's team-leading 62 points are tied with Ottawa's Mark Stone as the second-most among rookies, trailing only the 64 by Calgary's Johnny Gaudreau.

The Stars (40-31-10) will miss the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years but have won three in a row while totaling 13 goals, including four on 10 power plays.

They completed a 3-0-0 trip with a 4-0 victory over Pacific Division-leading Anaheim on Wednesday, outshooting the Ducks 32-19. Jamie Benn had three assists and has a chance to win his first Art Ross Trophy for the league scoring title. He has nine goals and 10 assists during Dallas' 8-3-0 stretch to give him 83 points.

Patrick Eaves has also been hot with six goals and four assists over his last 10 contests.

Dallas' 13-5-0 record since March 3 is third-best in the NHL.

"You look at the last month, we've played some pretty good hockey," Benn said. "That's what's frustrating, is we know we're a good team when we play the right way. We can beat most teams in the league."

Nashville won the first three meetings and Forsberg has two goals and two assists in the season series, while Benn has been limited to one point.

Predators center Mike Fisher, fifth on the club with 19 goals, is day to day with a lower-body injury.

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