In the Crease: Sharks vs. Stars

In the Crease: Sharks vs. Stars
October 17, 2013, 7:45 am
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This is the first of three Sharks-Stars meetings, with the next two in San Jose on Dec. 21 and Feb. 5. (AP)

Programming note: Sharks-Stars coverage gets underway today at 5 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California

Where they stand
Sharks: 6-0-0, 12 points, 1st Pacific Division, 1st Western Conference
Stars: 2-3-0, 4 points, 7th Central Division, 13th Western Conference

Goals per game: 5.00 (1st)
Goals-against per game: 1.50 (2nd)
Power play: 26.7 percent (8th)
Penalty kill: 83.3 percent (11th)

Goals per game: 2.20 (T – 22nd)
Goals-against per game: 2.80 (19th)
Power play: 23.5 percent (10th)
Penalty kill: 79.0 percent (20th)

Probable lines
Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Brent Burns
Tyler Kennedy – Logan Couture – Patrick Marleau
Matt Nieto – Joe Pavelski – Tommy Wingels
James Sheppard – Andrew Desjardins – Bracken Kearns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Matt Irwin – Brad Stuart
Scott Hannan – Jason Demers

Antti Niemi
Alex Stalock

Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Rich Peverley
Ray Whitney – Cody Eakin – Alex Chiasson
Valeri Nichushkin – Shawn Horcoff – Erik Cole
Antoine Roussel – Vern Fiddler – Ryan Garbutt

Alex Goligoski – Sergei Gonchar
Brenden Dillon – Stephane Robidas
Trevor Daley – Jordie Benn

Dan Ellis
Jack Campbell

[RELATED: Sharks enjoy mental and physical off day]

Last game
Sharks: Joe Thornton had a goal and three assists and Patrick Marleau had a three-point night as the Sharks won in St. Louis on Tuesday, 6-2. San Jose improved to 6-0-0, and is the first team in NHL history to start consecutive seasons with at least six wins (per Elias). Antti Niemi made 25 saves, and Marleau, Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, Tommy Wingels and Scott Hannan also scored. Dan Boyle was injured in the first period after the Blues’ Maxim Lapierre checked him from behind into the boards, and had to leave the ice on a stretcher. The Sharks were 3-for-7 on the power play.

Stars: Despite a season-high 41 shots on goal, the Stars dropped a 3-2 decision in Colorado on Tuesday. Rich Peverley and Cody Eakin (power play) were the Dallas goal-scorers, and Dan Ellis allowed three goals on 26 shots. The Lindy Ruff-lead Stars have lost their last two games, including a 5-1 thumping in Minnesota last Saturday. Ruff, the long time head coach of the Buffalo Sabres, joined the Stars in the offseason.

Keep an eye on…
Sharks: Brad Stuart. The Sharks defenseman’s three-game ban for hitting Rick Nash is over, and he’ll be slotted in Dan Boyle’s spot with Matt Irwin tonight in Dallas. Stuart made his season debut on Oct. 8 in Vancouver after missing all of camp and the start of the season with a lower body injury, but was promptly suspended the next day.

Stars: Tyler Seguin. The young center came to Dallas in a blockbuster deal with the Bruins over the summer, and has seven points (2g, 5a) in his first five games. Four of those came in one game, as he factored in every score in a 4-1 win over Winnipeg on Oct. 11. Seguin has one goal in three career games against San Jose.

Sharks: Raffi Torres (right ACL surgery), Marty Havlat (offseason pelvic surgery), Adam Burish (back), and Dan Boyle (head into boards) are out.

Stars: Kari Lehtonen (lower body) is out.

[RELATED: Agent: Boyle 'feels great']

Season/All-Time series
This is the first of three Sharks-Stars meetings, with the next two in San Jose on Dec. 21 and Feb. 5.

Dallas won three of four games against the Sharks last season, including both at American Airlines Center. The Sharks are 48-46-5-12 all-time against the Minnesota/Dallas franchise.

“We thought it would be better that the players take advantage of their time here, have a quick workout, refresh, and we’ll have a pregame skate [Thursday morning], and get ready to go again.”Todd McLellan, on the Sharks canceling practice Wednesday

Burning question
How will the Sharks defense cope with the loss of Dan Boyle? Leave your answer in the comments section below.