Preds cap homestand against Hurricanes

The Nashville Predators will try to close a three-game homestand on a positive note tonight, as they welcome the lowly Carolina Hurricanes for a battle at Bridgestone Arena.

The Predators opened this residency last Sunday by beating Calgary to push their winning streak to three games. Nashville was unable to extend that streak to four, however, as the Dallas Stars left the Music City on Thursday with a 4-1 victory.

Mike Ribeiro scored two first-period goals for Dallas, including the game- winner with just 39 seconds left in the opening stanza. Gabriel Bourque supplied the lone Nashville tally, while Pekka Rinne surrendered four goals on 30 shots in defeat. The setback dropped the Predators to 11-7-3 as the host this season.

"We weren't sharp," said Predators coach Barry Trotz. "It was a self-inflicted four goals, that's how I see it."

However, the Predators did welcome back captain Shea Weber into the lineup on Thursday. Weber suffered a concussion in the last matchup with the Stars on December 23, absorbing a hit from defenseman Mark Fistric, and sat out four games.

"My conditioning was pretty good," said Weber. "I felt pretty good skating. My hands just weren't quite where I want them to be."

Nashville forward Colin Wilson has missed the last three games with an upper body injury and is questionable for tonight.

The Hurricanes ended a two-game slide on Friday night, as they posted a 4-2 home win over the Buffalo Sabres. Cam Ward had 31 saves and Eric Staal led the way for Carolina's offense with three points.

"It's always good to beat [the Sabres], especially because sometimes it feels like the building's got a lot of Buffalo fans out there," said Staal. "Our fans are loud too, I'll give them a lot of credit. But there was a lot of Buffalo fans, too. It's a good rivalry."

Chad LaRose scored the go-ahead goal 8:10 into the third period after Jason Pominville had tied it for Buffalo less than two minutes earlier. Staal, Justin Faulk and Brandon Sutter scored the other goals for Carolina, which is one point ahead of the New York Islanders for 14th place in the Eastern Conference.

Carolina has lost its last five road games and enters Nashville with a dismal 4-11-4 record as the visiting club this season.

The Predators have won five straight against Carolina, which last beat Nashville on Jan. 13, 2006. The 'Canes have also dropped three straight in the Music City since last winning there on Dec. 3, 2002.