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Stars at Sharks Preview and Projected Lines: Third time's the charm?

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After failing to clinch on Tuesday, the San Jose Sharks have a much tougher opportunity to clinch as they host the Dallas Stars.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

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

@

San Jose Sharks
44-22-9 Record 41-27-6
1st in Central Rank 3rd in Pacific
52.7% Score-Adj. Fenwick 53.0%
100.1 PDO 100.3
22.0
PP% 22.6
81.3
PK% 80.1

1 PM PDT | SAP Center | San Jose, CA
TV: CSNCA | Radio: SJSharks.com, 98.5 KFOX
Know Your Enemy: Defending Big D

Last Meeting

The Sharks spoiled Antti Niemi's return to the Tank, winning a 4-3 overtime thriller thanks Tomas Hertl's game-winner.

Storylines

  • 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.

Projected Lines

Sharks

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

Martin Jones

James Reimer

Stars

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

Antti Niemi

Kari Lehtonen