Stars Look to Keep Rolling in San Jose

Wednesday, 02.05.2014 / 4:20 PM
Mark Stepneski

The Dallas Stars will look to make it three for three on their road trip when they take on the Sharks in San Jose tonight.

The Stars enter tonight’s game two points out of the final wild card playoff spot in the Western Conference. A win over the Sharks would push them into that spot based on the points percentage tiebreaker.

The Stars have won the first two games of their trip, defeating Anaheim 2-0 Saturday night and then knocking off Phoenix 3-1 last night. Overall, the Stars are 5-1-1 over their last seven games, and they’ve allowed just nine goals during that stretch.

“It starts with defending. We’ve been defending well,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We made some bigger mistakes in last night’s game than we’ve been typically making, but overall the defending, it starts there. When you make it tough to play against and the opposition finds it hard to get chances, it’s a good step to turn things around.”

The Sharks enter tonight’s game with four losses in their last five games and putting the puck in the net has been an issue. They’ve scored just four goals over those five games and they’ve been shut out twice.

“The first decision we have to make is whether or not we want to work. Until that decision is made and we decide we all want to compete together for a full 60, it doesn’t really matter what we have as far as a game plan goes,” said Sharks coach Todd McLellan. “Right now the jump we have in our game is minimal. The tenacity level Dallas has it at a maximum right now. There is an offset right there. We’re going to have to get to loose pucks. We’re going to have to be strong and have our noses over those pucks to have possession to begin with. After that we’ve got to be in motion, we’ve got to be moving, we’ve got to have our shoot and get it back game, which we haven’t had. There are number of adjustments we can make, but the biggest one is deciding.”

Both teams held optional skates this morning. It appears Kari Lehtonen will make a second straight start for the Stars. Kevin Connauton could be back in defense for the Stars with Aaron Rome being the healthy scratch.

Alex Stalock was the first goaltender off the ice for the Sharks, so it looks like he’ll be in net for San Jose. Stalock stopped 44 of 46 shots in the Sharks 3-2 shootout win over the Stars in San Jose on Dec. 21.

Sharks forward Adam Burish, who has yet to play this season due to back surgery, is expected to be in the lineup tonight.

Wednesday’s game

Who: Dallas Stars at San Jose Sharks

Where: SAP Center, San Jose

When: 9:30 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Southwest

Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

Stars projected lineup

Jamie BennTyler SeguinValeri Nichushkin

Erik ColeCody EakinRich Peverley

Antoine RousselVernon FiddlerRyan Garbutt

Ray WhitneyShawn HorcoffAlex Chiasson

Alex GoligoskiTrevor Daley

Jordie BennBrenden Dillon

Kevin ConnautonSergei Gonchar

Kari Lehtonen

Dan Ellis

Sharks projected lineup

Matt Nieto - Joe Thornton - Brent Burns

Patrick Marleau - Joe Pavelski - Tommy Wingels

James Sheppard - Bracken Kearns - Martin Havlat

Adam Burish - Andrew Desjardins - Mike Brown

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun

Matt Irwin - Dan Boyle

Scott Hannan - Brad Stuart

Alex Stalock

Antti Niemi

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