Programming note – Sharks-Stars coverage starts today at 5:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California
WHERE THEY STAND
Sharks: 42-22-7, 91 points, 1st Pacific Division
Stars: 28-33-10, 66 points, 6th Central Division
PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES
***After a so-so homestand in which they went 3-3-0, the Sharks kick off a four-game-in-six-day road trip tonight in Dallas. In an odd quirk to the schedule, San Jose will visit Minnesota on Tuesday before going right back to Dallas for a game on Friday, and closes out the trip on Saturday in Nashville.
“It’s never easy going on the road,” Joe Pavelski said after Saturday’s loss, “but we’ve had a nice little homestand here. We’ll be excited to get in a few cities and bring our game there, and just get together and keep playing.”
San Jose has lost its last two games in regulation to St. Louis and Anaheim. While the 4-1 loss to the Blues on Thursday was a poor performance, the team was much more pleased with its effort in a 2-1 defeat to the Ducks on Saturday.
The Sharks have 11 games remaining, including seven away from home, as they try to lock down first place in the Pacific Division.
“We’ve never shied away from tough rinks or tough trips,” Pete DeBoer said. “We’ve just got to make sure we build on [Saturday]. If we play like we did, most nights we’re going to win.”
***Dallas has lost four of its last five games in regulation, including a 5-1 defeat at SAP Center just eight days ago. The Stars have been outscored 22-9 over that span, in what has been a hugely disappointing season for a club that made it to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season.
Still, at home, the Stars are a respectable 18-12-6. The Sharks have a 19-12-3 mark on the road, including 4-1-0 in their last five.
***Jannik Hansen is reportedly doubtful for the game with an upper body injury, as he took an apparent stick to the head in the third period of Saturday’s loss. Danny O’Regan and Timo Meier were recalled on Sunday, so one or both will play.
Tomas Hertl skated with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski after Hansen was forced to leave.
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Sharks: Logan Couture. The Sharks’ lone goal scorer on Saturday with a power play marker in what was his 500th career game, Couture has 25 points in his last 25 games (11g, 14a) after accumulating just 27 points in his first 44. He leads the team in scoring since his hot streak began on Jan. 19, and is third on the team in goals (25) and points (52).
Stars: Kari Lehtonen/Antti Niemi. Despite spending more money on goaltending than any other club, the Stars have the worst combined save percentage in the league (.892). On 13 occasions the Stars have pulled their starter, including against the Sharks on March 12. Lehtonen was removed for Niemi after allowing three goals on eight shots, although Niemi’s entrance was delayed when he was nowhere to be found.
Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Joel Ward
Joonas Donskoi – Chris Tierney – Mikkel Boedker
Micheal Haley – Danny O’Regan – Marcus Sorensen
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – Dylan DeMelo
Aaron Dell (starter)
Jamie Benn – Cody Eakin – Ales Hemsky
Remi Elie – Tyler Seguin – Brett Ritchie
Devin Shore – Radek Faksa – Patrick Sharp
Curtis McKenzie – Adam Cracknell – Jiri Hudler
Esa Lindell – John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis – Greg Pateryn
Patrik Nemeth – Stephen Johns
Kari Lehtonen (starter)
Sharks: Jannik Hansen (upper body) is doubtful. David Schlemko (right knee) is questionable. Melker Karlsson (lower body) is out.
Stars: Jason Spezza (back spasms) is doubtful. Mattias Janmark (knee) and Antoine Roussel (hand) are out.
“When you play well and come up [short] – those games are going to happen. But, excited to attack this last road trip.” – Joel Ward, after Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Anaheim