Programming note – Sharks-Stars coverage starts today at 6:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California
WHERE THEY STAND
Sharks: 40-20-7, 87 points, 1st Pacific Division
Stars: 27-30-10, 64 points, 6th Central Division
PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES
***The Sharks have had success in the second half of back-to-backs lately, with a 4-0-1 mark in their last five.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that speaks to a veteran team, a team that knows how to prepare and knows how to handle a little bit of fatigue, manage the puck, and do the right things,” Pete DeBoer said. “I think it also speaks to our goaltending. We’ve split most of the back to backs, and we’ve gotten some great performances from [Aaron Dell].”
Dell will be in net after it was Martin Jones who played in the 3-1 loss to Nashville on Saturday. The backup has allowed two or fewer goals in nine of his 12 starts.
***Saturday’s 3-1 home loss to the Predators wasn’t a stinker, but the Sharks have some things to correct. They didn’t match Nashville’s desperation level, and turned the puck over more than usual.
They’ll try to get back in the win column after Saturday’s defeat was just their second in regulation over the last 11 games (7-2-3).
“I think it gives you an opportunity to come right back to the rink and correct a couple things and have a quality game,” Paul Martin said after Saturday’s loss.
Joe Pavelski said: “We’ve got a desperate team in Dallas coming in, and we want to bounce back.”
***The Stars may be out of playoff contention but they should be well rested, having not played since Wednesday in a 5-2 home loss to Ottawa. They are 5-3-0 in their last eight games, including wins over Washington and Pittsburgh.
“They’re a talented team,” DeBoer said. “They’ve got some real game-breaking type players there up front and on defense. We’re going to have to be aware.”
Goaltending has been an issue with Dallas all season as their team save percentage of .895 is last in the NHL, and their 3.19 goals-against average is 28th.
The Stars have needed both of their goalies in 11 of 67 games, including Wednesday against Ottawa, when Kari Lehtonen was pulled for Antti Niemi early in the second period after giving up three goals on 18 shots.
***The Sharks will see Dallas three times over their final 15 games. They visit American Airlines Center twice on an upcoming road trip on March 20 and 24, sandwiched around a visit to Minnesota.
***Melker Karlsson will miss Sunday’s game with what DeBoer called a “minor” lower body injury, so rookie Marcus Sorensen will return to the lineup. Ryan Carpenter has been recalled from the Barracuda, as well.
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Sharks: Paul Martin. The defenseman scored his fourth goal of the season against the Predators on Saturday, and DeBoer said he was probably San Jose’s best blueliner in the loss. The 36-year-old veteran has missed just one game this season, and with 15 points and a plus-eight rating, his value to the team as Brent Burns’ partner probably doesn’t get enough recognition.
Stars: Tyler Seguin. The Stars’ forward scored on Wednesday against Ottawa, and brings a four-game point streak into tonight’s game (1g, 5a). Seguin has 23 points (7g, 16a) in his last 20 games overall. Against the Sharks he has points in five straight games, with a whopping 10 overall (5g, 5a).
Jannik Hansen – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Joonas Donskoi – Tomas Hertl – Joel Ward
Micheal Haley – Chris Tierney – Marcus Sorensen
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – Dylan DeMelo
Aaron Dell (starter)
Jamie Benn – Jason Spezza – Tyler Seguin
Devin Shore – Radek Faksa – Patrick Sharp
Remi Elie – Cody Eakin – Ales Hemsky
Curtis McKenzie – Adam Cracknell – Brett Ritchie
Esa Lindell – John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis – Stephen Johns
Patrik Nemeth – Jamie Oleksiak
Sharks: David Schlemko (lower body) and Melker Karlsson (lower body) are out.
Stars: Antoine Roussel (hand) is day-to-day.
“We want to play to our strengths, and that’s not turning pucks over, that’s not feeding team rush coming the other way, and we got away from that today for whatever reason.” – Brenden Dillon, after the Sharks’ 3-1 loss to Nashville on Saturday