Sharks Gameday: Sharks look for third win in a row and third win over Stars



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Coming off their 6-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at HP Pavilion Tuesday night, the San Jose Sharks will look to defeat the visiting Dallas Stars for the third time this season and extend their winning streak to three games.

With 14 games scheduled in the month of February, including a nine game road trip from Feb. 12 - Feb. 26, tonight's game will be one of four home games the Sharks get to enjoy in February.

Back on Dec. 9, 2011, the Sharks defeated the Stars 5-2 at HP Pavilion thanks to second period goals by Ryane Clowe, Brad Winchester and Torrey Mitchell in a six-minute span. In the two meetings this season, the Sharks have outscored the Stars 9-3.

Antti Niemi, who has been in net for both games against the Stars this season, had 18 saves on 20 shots in the last meeting. For his career against the Stars, Niemi is 6-2 with a 2.24 goals against average and .923 save percentage.

Surprisingly, Thomas Greiss has never started against the Stars. In his career, Greiss has played 52 minutes against the Stars in two relief appearances, stopping 18-of-22 shots for a 4.60 goals against average and .818 save percentage.

Scoring wise, All-Star Logan Couture, who scored a goal last meeting, has seven goals in 10 career games against the Stars while Sharks captain Joe Thornton has 51 points {14-37-51} in 51 career games against the Stars.

David Pollak {@PollakonSharks} confirmed Wednesday afternoon on twitter that defenseman Jason Demers will not play against the Stars as the result of his lower body injury while Clowe will be a game-time decision.

Coming off a 6-2 road victory over the Anaheim Ducks Wednesday night, the Stars are currently one point out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference and eight points behind the Sharks for first place in the Pacific Division.

The Stars come into tonight's game confident they can make a strong push for their first playoff birth in four seasons due to having Brenden Morrow, Mike Ribeiro and Jamie Benn back together on the ice as the trio has combined for 32 goals this season.

Kari Lehtonen was in net for the Stars Wednesday night, stopping 33-of-35 shots. Should Lehtonen get the start Thursday night, Lehtonen is 3-4-1 in eight career games against the Sharks with a 3.69 goals against average and .905 save percentage.

Backup goalie Richard Bachman has never started against the Sharks but did play the entire third period in relief of Lehtonen last meeting, stopping all 11 shots he faced.

Prediction: Sharks win a 6-4 shootout with goals from Couture, Thornton, Winchester, Dan Boyle, Justin Braun and Jamie McGinn.