The Stars (40-31-8, 6th Central) and Sharks (44-25-10, 2nd Pacific) enter tonight's game fresh off of receiving very different news. Dallas was officially eliminated from playoff contention Sunday night with an Anaheim Ducks overtime win over the Colorado Avalanche, and San Jose clinched their playoff berth last night when those same Avalanche were beaten by the Los Angeles Kings. Dallas is now a mathematically insurmountable five points out of the West's second wild card spot, and the Sharks are two points ahead of the Kings for home ice in the first round.
Dallas' collapse this season has been historic. The Stars' 9 February win over the Pittsburgh Penguins was their fifth in a row, and the last time they would win even two in a row for two months. They went on to lose 15 of their next 20 games, including an eight game sadness streak, to absolutely crater out of the playoff picture, taking all of the wind out of the sails of Tyler Seguin's 40 goal season. Their 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday provides little consolation, as Stars fans find themselves in the worst possible position: outside of the playoffs with one of the smallest possible probabilities to take home a Rasmus Dahlin, I mean, lottery pick in this year's entry draft.
With a playoff spot clinched, you, dear fan, may be finding it hard to get up for a weeknight game against a non-contender like Dallas. Enter Dylan Gambrell. Fresh off of contributing 43 points in 41 games for the University of Denver this season, the kid will get a chance to show the coaching staff that he's ready for NHL action. Whether he actually is, well, wait and see. Add in that a loss tonight would match the Sharks' longest streak of the season at four, and that their hold on home ice for the first round is pretty tenuous, and there's still plenty to fight for.
Timo Meier -- Joe Pavelski -- Joonas Donskoi
Marcus Sorensen -- Dylan Gambrell -- Joel Ward
Brenden Dillon -- Dylan DeMelo
Scratched: Tim Heed, Jannik Hansen, Joakim Ryan
Mattias Janmark -- Jason Spezza -- Gemel Smith
Remi Elie -- Devin Shore -- Brett Ritchie
Esa Lindell -- Julius Honka
Scratched: Dillon Heatherington
Where to watch
Broadcast: NBCSCA, FS-W, SN1
Stream: NHL.tv / NHL App
Radio: 98.5 KFOX / NHL App / Sharks App