Sharks to face supremely confident Stars

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Sharks to face supremely confident Stars

DALLAS A lengthy flight halfway across the country always provides a good chance to get caught up with news from around the league.

KURZ: Sharks vs. Stars, what to watch for

While perusing the daily clips on Wednesday, I immediately flipped to the Dallas Stars, of course. Theres one thing thats abundantly clear and jumps off the page (screen?) after reading some of the material coming from here in the Lone Star State, and that is - when the Sharks take the ice at the American Airlines Center on Thursday night, they will be facing a supremely confident group.

RELATED: Momentum swings help, hurt Sharks

Dallas 7-0-1 surge has it atop the Pacific Division, when it appeared as recently as a couple weeks ago that the team would inevitably miss the Stanley Cup playoffs for the fourth straight season. Buyers at the trade deadline were scanning the Stars roster, looking to poach a player or two for the stretch run.

Instead, the Stars kept their team together, and their success since even has one writer wondering if the club can make the sort of run that some of its neighbors did the past two seasons namely, the 2010 Texas Rangers (who lost the World Series) and 2011 Dallas Mavericks (the defending NBA champions).

Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News writes:

Sure, blow the thing up, trade everyone who could be a UFA in the summer. Go with kids, stock up on draft picks, fall to the floor of the NHL and hope for as many losses as possible. Isnt that what a great many of us thought just two weeks ago?

And now what? Could this team really win the Pacific Division and get home ice in the first round of the playoffs? Could they possibly go a round or two deep? Could they join the Rangers and Mavericks as miraculous stories?

Who knows? Thats why we watch.

As for the players themselves, theyre riding high after a comfortable 5-2 road win over the powerful Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday, their third in a row.

Mike Ribeiro told the AP:

"We just stuck with our game plan and kept pushing forward. It's a team concept right now, and everyone's doing the right thing."

The Sharks, on the other hand, are at the other end of the spectrum. The team has won just four of its last 16 games after a 5-2 win over the Stars on Feb. 2, and dropped three of four games at home leading up to this pivotal four-game road trip.

San Jose, which had a 10-point lead on the Stars after beating them in early February, now trails Dallas by three points with two games in hand. A win over the streaking Stars would likely do a lot for their own confidence as they look to turn things around and secure a fifth straight division crown.

Will the confidence factor play a role in what may be San Joses biggest game of the season?

Well find out soon enough.

Sharks recall trio as bye week concludes

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Sharks recall trio as bye week concludes

VANCOUVER – Kevin Labanc, Barclay Goodrow and Tim Heed have accompanied the Sharks to Vancouver, and will presumably be available to play against the Canucks on Saturday in the first game after the bye week.

Forwards Timo Meier, Nikolay Goldobin and Marcus Sorensen, all of whom have played games with the NHL club this season, remain with the AHL Barracuda for the time being.

Labanc, 21, has 18 points (7g, 11a) in 45 games this season. Lately he has been skating as the left wing on the top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski, and is looking to snap a 21-game goal drought.

Goodrow, 23, has played one game with the Sharks this season, going scoreless on Jan. 24 at Winnipeg. Unless the Sharks recall someone else before their game with the Canucks, Goodrow will likely play his second game as the team is carrying just 12 healthy forwards as of Friday afternoon. Joonas Donskoi did not accompany the Sharks to Vancouver, and remains day-to-day with what the club is offically calling an upper body injury but appears to be a right shoulder.

Heed, likely the seventh defenseman in case of emergency, has also played one scoreless game on Jan. 11 at Calgary.

Dylan DeMelo made the trip, but is still not ready. The defenseman told CSN last week that he’s on schedule with an eight-week recovery from a broken right wrist that would put his return around early March.

Canucks battling mumps ahead of meeting with Sharks

Canucks battling mumps ahead of meeting with Sharks

Several Vancouver Canucks are battling an outbreak of the mumps ahead of a game on Saturday with the Sharks at Rogers Arena.

At least five players are expected to miss the game. Troy Stecher is the only player with a confirmed test result, general manager Jim Benning said in a statement, but Chris Tanev, Nikita Tryamkin, Mike Chaput and Markus Granlund “have each presented symptoms.”

Players with symptoms are “immediately being tested and quarantined in isolation for a five-day period from the onset of symptoms or until test results prove negative.”

Vancouver Coastal Health authorities were on hand at Rogers Arena on Friday to screen players and staff, and issue immunizations if necessary.

The Sharks and Canucks will both be coming off of their bye week when they play for the second of five times this season.