February 14, 2015

The Nashville Predators are enjoying their longest win streak of the season, one to which their top defenseman has finally contributed.

They'll vie for a sixth straight victory Thursday night as they host a New Jersey Devils team that's lost six of seven and is struggling to score.

Nashville (32-21-11) won 5-3 over Dallas on Tuesday, as Shea Weber returned with a goal and two assists after missing three games with a lower-body injury. Weber, who had gone pointless in four straight, scored his team-best 12th power-play goal.

''The way the guys were playing while I was out, I was a little nervous to come back,'' Weber said. ''I didn't want to be the reason we lost the game, so it was a big win. I thought the guys did a good job."

Filip Forsberg was held without a point after posting two hat tricks in his previous three games. He'll try to score for the first time in four games against the Devils.

That didn't mean he failed to make an impact on a line with Craig Smith and Mike Ribeiro. Smith had a goal and an assist to give him five points in two games and Ribeiro's assist gave him four in two games and 13 in his last 13.

"The Ribeiro line for me was just flying," coach Peter Laviolette said. "A lot of confidence, a lot of speed and they're making things happen when they're out there on the ice."

New Jersey (30-27-7) is searching for answers in the opener of a two-game trip after another listless performance in Tuesday's 3-1 defeat to Carolina. The Devils have scored twice in their three-game slide.

Coach John Hynes doesn't have a solution at the moment.

"I think that's a good question, what's missing," Hynes said. "What's missing is we haven't been good enough to get the end results as of late. It's something that we'll continue to work at."

The Devils average a league-worst 2.2 goals along with the fewest shots per game at 24.6.

"I think one of the things we gotta do a better job of is shoot the puck more," Hynes said.

Kyle Palmieri, with a team-high 23 goals, has none in the last three games. Adam Henrique ended a seven-game goal drought with his 20th Tuesday.

New Jersey could receive an offensive boost Thursday with Devante Smith-Pelly expected to make his club debut after being acquired from Montreal on Monday. Smith-Pelly has six goals and six assists in 46 games this season.

Defenseman David Warsofsky, claimed off waivers from Pittsburgh on Monday, might also make his New Jersey debut.

Cory Schneider has started the Devils' last seven games with a 3.35 goals-against average. He and Keith Kinkaid will likely split the starts on this trip that includes Friday's matchup with the Stars.

"We gotta get on the road trip and see if we can find a way to be better against Nashville," Hynes said.

Pekka Rinne has won his last four starts for Nashville and made 22 saves in a 3-1 victory at New Jersey on Oct. 13, with defenseman Roman Josi scoring twice.

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