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Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 2:26 PM

By Louie Korac - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Ducks still riding wave of positive momentum

ST. LOUIS -- With a plethora of in-season coaching changes around the NHL this season, the St. Louis Blues (42-18-7) have certainly reaped the benefits of bringing in the veteran Ken Hitchcock after a rough 6-7-0 start this season.

The Anaheim Ducks (29-28-10) were in a similar position when they made the change on Jan. 30 to Bruce Boudreau, who replaced Randy Carlyle (who's since taken over the resigns in Toronto).

The Ducks were 7-13-4 when the coaching change was made following a home win over Montreal. Things didn't start as well under Boudreau, who was 3-9-2 in his first 14 games.

"The new coaching staff came in and we were still losing games and we were pretty down on ourselves," Ducks defenseman Luca Sbisa said. "I wouldn't say we stopped believing in ourselves, but we got pretty close to that. (The coaching staff) kept telling us to stay positive and it's going to turn around eventually and that's what we did. Games got closer and closer and we started winning games and just started building. It added up. It gives us confidence."

That confidence boost has turned into a 19-6-4 run since Jan. 6 and has the Ducks, who were laboring near the bottom of the Western Conference standings, just six points behind eighth-place San Jose going into tonight's clash with the Blues.

"They really are playing good," Hitchcock said of the Ducks. "They're playing about as well as anybody in the West right now. You can see what Bruce has done systems-wise. There's a change from when Randy was there. There's a different style, but I think it's like anything else ... when your best players are your best players, you're going to win a lot of hockey games. (Jonas) Hiller's been great in goal, they got (Ryan) Getzlaf and (Corey) Perry engaged, they're obviously good players.

"I just think sometimes as a team, you kick yourself for not starting the engine a little quicker. ... They look like they could win every game the way they're playing right now."

Boudreau, who was fired earlier this season in Washington and within a week hired in Anaheim, has taken a positive approach and turned it into a winning formula in Orange County.

"He approaches things positive," Sbisa said of Boudreau. "I was thinking he was more of an offensive-minded guy when he came in. In Washington, they were scoring a bunch of goals and stuff, but the defensive side of our game got way better since he came in. We used to be a team that got outshot every night. Now we keep teams to around 20 shots, which is great and we have to do that if you want a chance to win. If Hiller plays every night, you can't give up 40 shots a night."

With 15 games remaining on the schedule, the Ducks, even at the tough grind they've been on just to get themselves back in contention, believe they have their fate in their own hands.

"It's been a grind, but it's way more fun when you win," Sbisa said. "When we were on that losing streak early in the season on that long road trip, guys just got tired early, especially mentally just couldn't stay up. But on the one we had just this past month, the trip was even longer, but I felt I had more energy and most of the guys felt the same way because of the fact that we were winning. It makes everything better going to the rink, going to practice, wanting to practice and all that stuff. It's been a change in attitude."
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Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 2:20 PM

By Louie Korac - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Simplifying game got Shattenkirk out of rut

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk has by his own admission been a streaky player. So when the 23-year-old recently went through a stretch without a point in 14 of 15 games, the tendencies were to try and press the issue, force something that may not be there.

"When things kind of take a downward spiral for me, I start thinking too much," Shattenkirk said. "You can see it out there just in some stagnant play. That's something that we talk about day in and day out, is just go out there and play, skate and let everything kind of come naturally to you. (The coaches) know as well as anyone that I like to play off my instincts and I react to plays more to kind of set (the teammates) up ahead of time. It's nice to have coaches who understand how I play and who understand how to get players out of those ruts."

Shattenkirk is out of that "rut." With 8 points in five games and 12 in the last 11, he is setting a standard along with fellow defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (29 points in 29 games) that the Blues have some special blueliners.

"He was forcing it," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of Shattenkirk. "He was looking at stats, he was looking at points and he wasn't doing enough, so then he started forcing it and then it just snowballed and got worse and worse. Now he's just back simplifying it. He's not forcing it.

"To me, when he stopped forcing it defensively, then he started getting better offensively. I think he went through a stretch where he was gambling too much defensively and we were giving up odd-man rushes and pucks were in our net. I think he's just calmed down a lot and letting the game come to him. He's been way more effective."

Having a defensive partner like Barret Jackman seems to be a calming influence on the younger Shattenkirk, a go-getter who likes to join in the rush and attack the offensive zone as opposed to the more stay-at-home Jackman.

"He's getting some points on our power play and that's where he gets a lot of his points," Jackman said of his d-partner. "But it's simple hockey, he hasn't changed all year. He's been playing solid all year, moving the puck well and just moving his feet. He's such a great skater, sees the ice so well ... they're going to come. Speaking from a guy that went 150 games, eventually they come.

"He's got the skills, he's got all the tools. Sometimes the simpler you make it, the easier things come. You're not over-thinking the game. You just go out there and play and things fall into place. Once in a while, it just takes a bounce that goes your way. All of the sudden, you go into a stretch that both him and Petro are on right now. They're picking up points every night. We don't need them to do that every other night, but it definitely helps out our offense and gets our defense involved."

Shattenkirk, who is tied for fourth in the NHL at plus-26, is feeling it right now. And the feeling is pretty good.

"I always seem to have spurts when things kind of start falling into place," Shattenkirk said. "For a while there, it seemed like I was pressing and things weren't going my way or bounces weren't going my way. Now things are kind of just happening for me. When I feel these times coming along, you feel confident and you just stick with it because you have a feeling that maybe something might fall for you."
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Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 2:05 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Good sign for Toews, who skates prior to practice

CHICAGO -- He'll miss another game when the New York Rangers come to town on Friday, but Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews took a signifcant step on Thursday toward returning to the ice.

Toews, who's been out for eight games with an upper-body injury believed to be concussion-related, skated on his own for the first time on Thursday since his injury was revealed after a Feb. 19 game against the St. Louis Blues.

"He had a good skate today," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "It was very exciting for us to see him back out here. He's encouraged as well, so it was a really good day."

Toews took the ice before the Hawks' practice, working out with strength and conditioning coach Paul Goodman, and felt OK afterward.

"He felt good," Quenneville said. "That's part of it, as well. It was a big first step seeing him out here."

The Hawks aren't ready to put a more definitive timetable on Toews' return other than "day-to-day," but just seeing him back on the ice was encouraging.

"After that, we'll certainly get a [better] idea to when he's closer," Quenneville said. "He's progressing. It was nice to see him."

Toews' teammates also felt encouraged.

"He looked pretty good," Hawks defenseman Duncan Keith said. "It was good to see his face all red and sweating coming off the ice, like he'd just been working hard. Hadn't seen that in a while, so it was nice to see."

Fellow defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson also liked what he saw from the team's top-line center and emotional leader.

"It's a step in the right direction, for sure," he said. "I think he likes being out there, too, instead of just being in the gym doing whatever he's doing. It's probably nice just to go out on the ice again."

If anybody knows the feeling, it's Hjalmarsson -- who's "hopeful" to return against the Rangers from his own upper-body injury believed to stem from a concussion. Hjalmarsson has missed 13 of the past 14 games, including the last six in a row after returning for just one game from a seven-game absence and then leaving the lineup again.

Hjalmarsson said conditioning becomes a big part of the equation toward the tail end of the recovery process. Thus, he knows what kind of skating work Toews has ahead of him before he's cleared to return for games.

"It's pretty amazing how long it takes to get back in shape and how fast it goes away," Hjalmarsson said. "It usually takes awhile to get back into good shape."

In other Hawks-related injury news, fourth-line center Jamal Mayers didn't skate because of what Quenneville called a "maintenance day," while defensemen Sami Lepisto and Steve Montador also didn't participate.

According to Quenneville, Lepisto will be out "indefinitely" with a lower-body injury that occurred in the second period of Chicago's last game. St. Louis forward David Perron fell on his left leg and he had trouble putting weight on the leg as he left the ice gingerly.

Montador is also out with an upper-body injury believed to be concussion-related, but has been skating on his own recently.
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Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 1:46 PM

By Louie Korac - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Blues, Ducks

ST. LOUIS -- Here are the probable lineups for Thursday's matchup between the St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks:

Vladimir Sobotka - David Backes - T.J. Oshie
Andy McDonald - Patrik Berglund - David Perron
Chris Porter - Jason Arnott - Chris Stewart
B.J. Crombeen - Scott Nichol - Ryan Reaves

Carlo Colaiacovo - Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk
Ian Cole - Roman Polak

Jaroslav Halak
Brian Elliott

Halak is 6-0-0 with a 1.46 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in his last six starts. Elliott will get the start Saturday against Columbus.

On injured reserve are Alex Steen (concussion), Matt D'Agostini (concussion), Jamie Langenbrunner (broken foot) and Kris Russell (concussion symptoms). Defenseman Kent Huskins (bruised hand) will miss his second straight game. Huskins, Russell (in red no-contact jersey) and Langenbrunner all took part in the morning skate.

Niklas Hagman - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Bobby Ryan - Saku Koivu - Teemu Selanne
Andrew Cogliano - Nick Bonino - Devante Smith-Pelly
Jason Blake - Rod Pelley - Matt Beleskey

Francois Beauchemin - Cam Fowler
Lubomir Visnovsky - Luca Sbisa
Toni Lydman - Sheldon Brookbank

Jonas Hiller
Jeff Deslauriers

Hiller, who leads the NHL in appearances and starts this season, will make his 62nd appearance this season. Hiller will be making his club-record 27th straight start tonight.

Healthy scratches for the Ducks will include winger George Parros and defenseman Nate Guenin. Goaltender Dan Ellis (groin strain) is on injured reserve.
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Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 1:42 PM

By Steve Hunt - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

First-place Stars try again to solve Sharks

DALLAS -- As good as the Dallas Stars (36-26-5, 77 points) have been during their current eight-game point streak, a run where they have gone 7-0-1 and taken 15 of a possible 16 points, on Thursday night at American Airlines Center they face a team they have yet to defeat this season in the San Jose Sharks (33-24-8, 74 points).

Dallas heads into tonight's Pacific Division battle just two days removed from an impressive 5-2 win at Vancouver on Tuesday, a victory that snapped a six-game losing streak on the Canucks' home ice.

That triumph gave the Stars a perfect 3-0-0 record in their road swing through Western Canada last week as they also won at Edmonton and Calgary earlier in the trip.

First-year coach Glen Gulutzan knows the reason for his club's recent upswing is actually a pretty simple one.

"Our guys are competing and it's probably well-documented they're a real tight group and they're playing for each other," Gulutzan said. "That's an important thing this time of year."

In their first three meetings with the Sharks this season, Dallas has been outscored 14-5 by San Jose, a trend Gulutzan obviously wants to see end tonight.

"We haven't really focused on San Jose other than our pre-scout and what they're doing. We've really isolated ourselves to what we need to do and the way we need to approach games. But certainly facts are facts and we know that we haven't beat them," Gulutzan said. "Today we're certainly focused on what our job is, what our game plan is and what it has been the last month. All that is just a distraction, we're focused on the way we need to play tonight."

Stars captain Brenden Morrow did go through his first morning skate since early February but he will miss a 17th straight game with an upper-body injury. He looks like a strong possibility to return to the ice on Saturday against Anaheim.

"Morrow's close, but not yet -- but I would say Brendan is a 60/40 for to play against Anaheim. If not, he'll play against Minnesota [next week]," Gulutzan said.

Second-line winger Steve Ott did not skate this morning due to an illness that continues to linger from the trip to Western Canada, but his coach isn't worried about the gritty forward being ready to go tonight.

"Otter's been sick the whole Western Canada trip and so we'll see how he is tonight, but he'll play," Gulutzan said. "He's getting better."

The Sharks are currently on a three-game losing streak, having lost 3-2 to Edmonton in overtime on Tuesday. But despite their current struggles, they aren't a team the Stars players are about to take lightly.

"They've been playing really well against us this year. We have to see if we can beat these guys," Dallas winger Loui Eriksson said. "It's going to be a hard-working game tonight again. We know they're right behind us in the standings. These two points are really huge for us to get, and we're going to do everything we can to get those."

And for 2012 All-Star center Jamie Benn, the key to getting both points tonight could be in how they approach their first game back after such a successful three-game road trip.

"Yeah, I think we've got to approach tonight like it's a road game. These first home games coming back after a road trip are pretty tough. I think we've got to play it as a road game -- play it the right way and go after them right away," Benn said.

Antti Niemi figures to start in goal for San Jose tonight, while it appears Dallas will go with Kari Lehtonen.

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Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 1:34 PM

By Ben Raby - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Caps, Lightning could have different look in net

WASHINGTON -- Both the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning will have a different look in goal Thursday when the Southeast Division rivals meet at Verizon Center.

Tomas Vokoun will start for the Capitals for the first time in more than two weeks, while the Lightning will look to continue their late-season surge without recent No. 1 Mathieu Garon, who left a game Tuesday against Ottawa and is out indefinitely.

Garon had started 19 of Tampa Bay's last 23 games (going 12-4-2 in 18 decisions), but Lightning coach Guy Boucher would not say this morning who will start against the Capitals.

Boucher's options are 42-year-old Dwayne Roloson (8-13-2, 3.82 goals-against average, .878 save percentage), or 22-year-old Dustin Tokarski, who has two career NHL relief appearances and was recalled from AHL Norfolk on Wednesday.

"I haven't talked to the goalies yet," Boucher said this morning. "I talked to [Roloson] yesterday and we talked about our plan for the next days. I haven't talked to Tokarski; he just got in. I'll talk to him around lunchtime and I'll talk to Roli and I'll explain the plan for them."

Tokarski has won a team-record eight straight games with Norfolk, with a 1.75 GAA and .927 save percentage during that stretch. His two NHL appearances came in Jan. 2010 when he allowed three goals on 16 shots spread across 44 minutes.

Boucher acknowledged there is much to consider when planning the goaltending rotation.

"Who we're playing, circumstances, experiences and just having some time to get accustomed to things for the young guy and for the older guy to make sure he understands the situation and what's going on," Boucher said. "There are quite a few things that I need to discuss with them."

For the Capitals, Vokoun returns after he was pulled in each of his last two starts, Feb.20 in Carolina and Feb.22 in Ottawa, when he allowed a combined six goals on 18 shots. Michal Neuvirth had started the six games since (3-2-1).

"I thought Neuvy played well, but he's played a lot of games and Tomas is feeling great so we'll go with him," Capitals coach Dale Hunter explained. "You can't let them sit too long so Tomas is good to go."

Vokoun is 23-16-2 with a 2.52 goals-against-average and a .917 save percentage, and has not started at home in nearly a month -- a Feb. 9 shootout loss to Winnipeg.

The first draft pick in Tampa Bay Lightning history, Roman Hamrlik, will be a healthy scratch for the Capitals tonight for the eighth straight game. He'll be joined in the press box by Mike Knuble and John Erskine.

Vincent Lecavalier remains on injured-reserve for the Lightning and will miss his ninth straight game with an upper-body injury.

Below are the projected lineups for the Capitals and Lightning:

Alex Ovechkin - Brooks Laich - Marcus Johansson
Jason Chimera - Mathieu Perreault - Alexander Semin
Matt Hendricks - Jay Beagle - Troy Brouwer
Keith Aucoin - Jeff Halpern - Joel Ward

Karl Alzner - John Carlson
Jeff Schultz - Mike Green
Dmitry Orlov - Dennis Wideman

Tomas Vokoun
Michal Neuvirth

Martin St. Louis - Steven Stamkos - Teddy Purcell
Ryan Malone - Nate Thompson - Adam Hall
JT Wyman - Tom Pyatt - Brett Connolly
Ryan Shannon - Tim Wallace - Brandon Segal

Victor Hedman - Eric Brewer
Brett Clark - Brian Lee
Mike Commodore - Brendan Mikkelson

Dwayne Roloson
Dustin Tokarski
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Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 1:19 PM

By Craig Button -  Special to / - On the Playoff Button blog

Updated playoff projections: March 8th

NHL Network's Craig Button has been tracking playoff positioning -- using a variety of statistical categories -- for several years now. His formula, while not a true probability exercise, has proven to be very effective at predicting the cutoff number to secure a Stanley Cup Playoffs berth.

In its simplest terms, Button's formula uses a team's current winning percentage, factoring in games remaining, to arrive at the number of wins -- and points -- each team will finish the season with. From that exercise, the formula can extrapolate the magic number for qualification and which teams currently in the race will reach that number. This equation will also determine tiebreakers should they become necessary.

Still not convinced? Check out the full explanation of Button's formula

Wins to
earn 8th
8th 67 72 15 86 9

9th 66 70 16 86 10
10th 67 70 15 84 10
11th 66 68 16 83 11
12th 67 67 15 80 11
Wins to
earn 8th
8th 65 74 17 91 9

9th 66 74 16 89 9
10th 68 74 14 88 9
11th 67 72 15 85 10
12th 67 68 15 81 12

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Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 1:05 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Julien likes MacDermid's toughness, hockey sense

BOSTON -- When a rookie scores his first NHL goal, a teammate usually retrieves the puck and at some point it's presented by that scorer's organization as a memento.

So what does one get for his first NHL fight?

"Nothing. Keep the gloves, maybe, I don't know," Lane MacDermid said today after the Bruins' optional morning skate in preparation for an evening matchup with divisional rival Buffalo at the TD Garden.

MacDermid should make his NHL home debut against the Sabres after skating on Boston's fourth line in both games on the Bruins' recent road trip to New York and Toronto. At Madison Square Garden, MacDermid -- a 150-plus-PIM guy in his first two pro seasons with Providence of the AHL -- needed little time to show what he could bring to the Bruins. On his first shift, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound MacDermid met the challenge of 6-5, 243-pound Mike Rupp in a spirited bout.

"He's a pretty big guy, so I just tried to hold my own and do my best," MacDermid said.

An injury to usual Boston fourth-line left winger Daniel Paille opened up the opportunity for MacDermid to be recalled during the regular season for the first time. He's averaged just 7:03 of ice time during his two games and hasn't recorded a point, but he hasn't been on the ice for a goal against either.

"Well, I think what I like about those kinds of guys is that they're pretty tough individuals, but they can play. I think that's always important," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "I think obviously he has some good genes [MacDermid's father, Paul, played in the NHL], and he obviously has some hockey sense. You watch him play -- he finishes his checks well, he plays a big, tough, grinding-type game. But he also plays a smart game. When it's time to back check or be the third man, he reads the play well. Certainly not a liability out there, and right now what I've appreciated of him as that he's come in and not played on his heels, he's just gone out there and plays hard and seems to have a lot of confidence."

MacDermid says that linemates Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton are so solid positionally that it makes it easy to play with them. He's also sticking to the basics in an effort to show the Bruins he belongs with the parent club.

"Down there [at Providence], I tried to maybe expand my game a little bit more and try to work on some things. But up here you don't want to make any mistakes, so you try to keep it simple and play your game," he said.

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Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 12:54 PM

By John Manasso - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Predators to give Yip a look against former team

NASHVILLE -- From the time that the Colorado Avalanche put forward Brandon Yip on waivers and he landed with the Nashville Predators on Jan. 19, Thursday's game with his former team has been on his mind.

"Yeah, for sure, I think any time you get traded, a team lets you go, or even if you're just playing your old teammates, you definitely look at the calendar and you're excited definitely for that game," Yip said. "I'm fired up for tonight."

Although it might have been unnecessary to say so, Yip mentioned several times how excited he was. He said he went out with six or seven former teammates on Wednesday night after the Avs arrived in town.

Yip played only 10 games in Colorado this season, often being made a healthy scratch, and had no goals. He has 1 goal and 2 assists in 13 games with Nashville.

Last season, Yip had a promising 10 goals and 12 assists in 71 games, and Nashville likes his size at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds. Since Nashville picked up forwards Andrei Kostitsyn and Paul Gaustad at the trade deadline, Yip has had a harder time getting in the lineup.

He was a scratch for the last three games, but coach Barry Trotz gave him the heads-up that he would play against his former team a few days ago. Nonetheless, as Nashville tries to settle on its expected playoff lineup, Trotz said he likes Yip's chances to earn a regular spot.

"I think he's really worked hard, him and (Matt Halischuk), and those guys are setting themselves up to unseat some guys, if guys' play doesn't pick up here, so I know Brandon will be a good fit," Trotz said.

Following Tuesday's 5-4 loss to Los Angeles, Trotz was unhappy with what he called some players' commitment level. Asked if Craig Smith and Colin Wilson could be scratched on Thursday, Trotz said, "possibly."

"The guys that are bringing it every night are the guys I'm going to start putting in, and I'm not going to be concerned about 'Do I have enough power-play guys?'" Trotz said. "I'm just going to put the guys that are deserving in terms of accountability. If you're not detailed in your game, if you're not willing to play a 200-foot game, then maybe I'll change you out.

"Whoever comes out tonight, it doesn't mean that they're not going to get back in, but I'm going to increase the urgency level -- a) to get in and, b) to stay in."

Both Wilson and Smith earn power-play time for Nashville.

Yip is looking forward to the opportunity that Thursday is providing him.

"Absolutely, that's the biggest thing on my mind right now, to prove I can be in this lineup and be a contributing factor in every game," Yip said. "Like you said, there's not much regular season left and we're getting geared up for the playoffs and kind of getting in that playoff mode right now. It's exciting for everyone and it's good healthy competition."
Projected lineup:
Sergei Kostitsyn - Mike Fisher - Martin Erat
Andrei Kostitsyn - David Legwand - Patric Hornqvist
Gabriel Bourque - Nick Spaling - Jordin Tootoo
Matt Halischuk - Paul Gaustad - Brandon Yip
Ryan Suter - Shea Weber
Hal Gill - Roman Josi
Francis Bouillon - Ryan Ellis
Out: Brian McGrattan, Colin Wilson, Craig Smith, Jack Hillen
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Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 12:45 PM

By Steve Hunt - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Sharks, Stars

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for today’s game between the San Jose Sharks and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center:

Patrick Marleau - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski
Ryane Clowe - Logan Couture - Tommy Wingels
Daniel Winnik - Dominic Moore - Torrey Mitchell
TJ Galiardi - Michal Handzus - Jim Vandermeer

Dan Boyle - Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Douglas Murray - Brent Burns
Justin Braun - Colin White

Antti Niemi
Thomas Greiss

Injuries: Martin Havlat (hamstring)

Scratches: Jason Demers, Andrew Desjardins, Benn Ferriero

Notes: The Sharks head into Thursday's game in Dallas on a three-game losing streak and are just 2-7-1 in their last 10 games. San Jose last played on Tuesday, losing 3-2 in overtime to Edmonton at HP Pavilion. For the season, the Sharks are 14-13-5 away from home. Tonight's contest marks the start of a four-game road trip that will also see them play in Phoenix, Edmonton and Calgary before hosting Nashville next Thursday in San Jose. However, the Sharks have had the Stars' number so far this season, taking all three previous meetings and outscoring Dallas by a combined 14-5.

Loui Eriksson - Mike Ribeiro - Michael Ryder
Steve Ott - Jamie Benn - Adam Burish
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Ryan Garbutt - Tom Wandell - Tomas Vincour

Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Trevor Daley - Mark Fistric
Alex Goligoski - Philip Larsen

Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman

Injuries: Jake Dowell (finger), Brenden Morrow (upper body)

Scratches: Adam Pardy, Toby Petersen

Notes: Dallas is currently on a three-game winning streak after sweeping a trip through Western Canada, a run which culminated in an impressive 5-2 win at Vancouver on Tuesday, the Stars' first win on the Canucks' home ice since Jan. 2009. Glen Gulutzan's club is currently on an eight-game point streak, having won seven of their last eight contests. Dallas is 0-3-0 against the Sharks so far this season, dropping two meetings at American Airlines Center and another at HP Pavilion. Ryder is currently on a seven-game point streak while Ribeiro has at least a point in 10 of the last 11 games for the Stars. Tonight's game begins a short, two-game homestand for Dallas, who will also host Anaheim on Saturday.

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Quote of the Day

I didn't even know how to celebrate. I threw my hands up, they gave me a hug, so I guess that's all I needed.

— Sabres forward Tim Schaller on scoring his first NHL goal Sunday against the Bruins