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San Jose seeks fifth consecutive win in Dallas

by Eric Goodman
SHARKS (43-15-10) at STARS (29-26-13)

Last 10 -- San Jose 5-4-1; Dallas 3-5-2

Season series --
This is the fourth of six regular-season meetings between these Pacific Division clubs. Both teams have been successful against each other on the road this season with the Sharks winning 4-2 at Dallas on Dec. 21 and the Stars taking two 3-2 shootout wins at San Jose on Dec. 11 and Nov. 12. The clubs will finish up their season series with two more games this month: Mar. 25 at San Jose and Mar. 31 at Dallas.

Big story --
The Sharks have won four straight at American Airlines Center dating back to the 2008-09 season. San Jose also holds a two-point advantage over the Chicago Blackhawks for most points in the Western Conference. The Stars, meanwhile, have quite a hill to climb as their 71 points has them nine points away from the eighth and final playoff spot in the West with only 14 games remaining on their schedule.

Team Scope:

Sharks --
San Jose will play the second of a six-game road trip on Tuesday after a 4-2 loss at the rival Ducks on Sunday. The Sharks were down by three goals after the first period at Anaheim and appeared to lack the overall intensity that has kept them atop the West for most of this season.

"Even though we're sitting in a good position, we were in the same position last year," defenseman Dan Boyle said after the game. "If we're going to coast, we're going to coast downhill. Our effort wasn't there tonight. Everybody needs to show up and make a difference. When only half the team shows up, that's a problem."

Stars --
Dallas is 1-5-1 since the Olympic break in mid February and its playoff hopes appear to be fading fast. A 5-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche at home on Sunday certainly did nothing to improve the Stars' outlook. Goalie Marty Turco surrendered four goals on 18 shots in that game and was pulled in the middle of the second period by head coach Marc Crawford.

"It's really frustrating," forward Brandon Segal said after tallying two goals in the losing effort. "It's definitely bittersweet to get two goals and lose. We need wins right now, that's the most important thing. It's a do-or-die situation for us right now."

Who's hot --
Sharks captain Patrick Marleau had eight points (3-5-8) over a four-game scoring streak prior to being held without a point on Sunday. Segal (4-2-6) has six points over six games since coming over to Dallas from Los Angeles on Feb. 13.

Injury report --
Defenseman Douglas Murray returned to the Sharks’ lineup on Sunday after missing one game with an upper-body injury, while D-man Marc-Edouard Vlasic remains on injured reserve with an injured knee. Stars defenseman Nicklas Grossman has missed the last four games due to injury.

Stat pack --
Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov is 8-0-0 with a 1.43 goals-against average in his last nine starts in Dallas.

Puck drop --
"We have to realize one thing -- that teams are going to be desperate. We are facing only desperate teams, so we have to be prepared and play almost as desperate as they are -- because if we don't match their work ethic, we are not going to win." -- Nabokov on the challenges facing the Sharks as they prepare to play Dallas.

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