Thanks to a prequel-sized letdown on Star Wars night, the San Jose Sharks have still not clinched the third and final playoff spot in the Pacific Division. Perhaps the third time's the charm this afternoon, as the Sharks host the Western Conference-leading Dallas Stars.
That lead over the conference and the division, however, is tenuous at best for Dallas. The Stars are tied with the surging St. Louis Blues on points, but hold a tiebreaker to maintain the top spot. Life without Tyler Seguin, aside from a loss in Phoenix on Thursday, has been business as usual for Dallas, who've gone 2-1 since the Hart Trophy contender suffered an Achilles injury.
San Jose is also banged up, with Finnish rookie Joonas Donskoi listed as day-to-day after he collided with Logan Couture Thursday against Edmonton. According to friend of the blog Kevin Kurz, Dainius Zubrus is expected to replace Donskoi, while Micheal Haley is expected to remain in the lineup.
Tale Of The Tape
|1st in Central||Rank||3rd in Pacific
The Sharks spoiled Antti Niemi's return to the Tank, winning a 4-3 overtime thriller thanks Tomas Hertl's game-winner.
- Despite spending over $10 million in cap space on the position, goaltending remains an issue for the Stars. Former Shark Antti Niemi has a 3.53 GAA and a .874 SV% since the start of the new year.
- Speaking of former Sharks, Jason "Daddy" Demers is out with a shoulder injury. Kris Russell is also questionable on the Dallas blueline.
- More than any games on the homestand, the Sharks' next two games (today, Monday against Los Angeles) will give us a better indication of what we can expect come playoff time. Even as both teams are missing key players (Seguin, Vlasic), I'd expect a playoff-like atmosphere in this one.
Tomas Hertl-Joe Thornton-Joe Pavelski
Melker Karlsson-Logan Couture-Tommy Wingels
Patrick Marleau-Chris Tierney-Joel Ward
Micheal Haley-Nick Spaling-Dainius Zubrus
Paul Martin-Brent Burns
Dylan Demelo-Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon-Roman Polak
Jamie Benn-Cody Eakin-Patrick Sharp
Valeri Nichushkin-Jason Spezza-Patrick Eaves
Antoine Roussel-Radek Faksa-Ales Hemsky
Colton Sceviour-Vernon Fiddler-Brett Ritchie
Alex Goligoski-John Klingberg
Johnny Oduya-Stephen Johns
Patrik Nemeth-Jordie Benn