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Preview: Sharks at Stars

Jamie Benn back in Dallas lineup; David Schlemko returns for San Jose

by Sean Shapiro / NHL.com Correspondent

SHARKS (42-22-7) AT STARS (28-33-10)

8:30 p.m. ET; CSN-CA, FS-SW, NHL.TV

 

Sharks team scope

Defenseman David Schlemko will return to the San Jose Sharks lineup after missing eight games because of a lower-body injury. "It's always frustrating when you are watching the hockey," Schlemko said. "But we've got the last 10, 11 games coming here and then the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs. So you don't want to rush it to the point where it becomes a nagging thing." The Sharks have a four-point lead on the Anaheim Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division and eight points behind the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the Western Conference. "We're trying to catch the teams ahead of us and we're trying to keep the teams behind us at bay," coach Peter Deboer said. "In this League you fight right until the last game of the season to give yourself the easiest path to the playoffs." Goalie Aaron Dell will start Monday and Martin Jones is expected to start against the Wild on Tuesday. Dell made 29 saves in a 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars on March 12.

 

Stars team scope

Forward Jamie Benn will return to the Dallas Stars lineup after missing one game because of an eye injury sustained against the Vancouver Canucks on March 16. "No problems," said Benn, who doesn't wear a visor. "I'm just looking forward to tonight and see if we can get a better effort here tonight." Benn was on a line with Cody Eakin and Ales Hemsky at the morning skate. Forward Jason Spezza is doubtful because of back spasms. He left practice early Sunday and didn't skate Monday. If Spezza is out, Jiri Hudler will remain in the lineup and play back-to-back games after being a healthy scratch for five games. The injury also will push Tyler Seguin, who has played most of this season at right wing, back to center. "It's really your responsibility inside your own end," coach Lindy Ruff said. "We had a couple tough reads by our centers the last game … it's making sure you're staying inside your guy and have your coverage." Goalie Kari Lehtonen, who has appeared in seven consecutive games, will make his third straight start.

 

Sharks projected lineup

Jannik Hansen -- Joe Thornton -- Joe Pavelski

Patrick Marleau -- Logan Couture -- Joel Ward

Joonas Donskoi -- Tomas Hertl -- Mikkel Boedker

Micheal Haley -- Chris Tierney -- Marcus Sorensen

Paul Martin -- Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon -- David Schlemko

Aaron Dell

Martin Jones

Scratched: Timo Meier, Daniel O'Regan, Dylan DeMelo

Injured: Melker Karlsson (lower body)


 
Stars projected lineup

Jamie Benn -- Cody Eakin -- Ales Hemsky

Remi Elie -- Tyler Seguin -- Brett Ritchie

Devin Shore -- Radek Faksa -- Patrick Sharp

Curtis McKenzie -- Adam Cracknell -- Jiri Hudler

Esa Lindell -- John Klingberg

Dan Hamhuis -- Greg Pateryn

Patrik Nemeth -- Stephen Johns

Kari Lehtonen

Antti Niemi

Scratched: Jamie Oleksiak

Injured: Mattias Janmark (knee), Antoine Roussel (hand), Jason Spezza (back spasms)

 
Status report

Roussel skated on his own after practice. He injured his hand blocking a shot March 2 and Ruff confirmed that he still expects him to miss the remainder of the season. … DeBoer said Meier and O'Regan could be lineup options but he would make that decision before the game.

 

Who's hot

Couture has 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in his past 11 games. Pavelski (seven goals, one assist) and Thornton (one goal, seven assists) each has eight points in their past seven games. Dell is 4-1-0 in his past five starts, allowing a total of five goals. … Klingberg has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in his past 11 games. Seguin has 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in his past 12 games.

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