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San Jose Sharks vs. Dallas Stars @NHLdotcom
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GAME: San Jose Sharks (35-19-11-6) at Dallas Stars (36-24-12-0).

TIME: Tuesday, 8:30 p.m. EST.

The teams fighting for the Pacific Division title will face off as the Dallas Stars, riding the longest home unbeaten streak in franchise history, host the San Jose Sharks.

San Jose leads second-place Dallas by three points. The Sharks, who have a game in hand, also host the Stars on March 28.

"We definitely think we can still catch San Jose if we do what we want to do on the ice," Dallas' Pierre Turgeon said. "We still have two games against them and those are four-point games."

Turgeon's team is playing its first home game since beating San Jose 4-0 on March 7, winning for the eighth time in the last nine meetings.

The victory also saw the Stars stretch their unbeaten streak at American Airlines Center to 14 games (11-0-3), setting a franchise record.

Dallas closed a four-game road trip Sunday with a 4-0 win at Chicago, as backup Ron Tugnutt notched his first shutout of the season. The Stars had gone 0-2-1 on the trip, including two shutouts, following a nine-game unbeaten streak.

"We played like we desperately needed the points," Tugnutt said. "If we wanted to catch San Jose, we had to win today. That was brought to our attention before the game. Now the game on Tuesday is crucial."

That's not the way San Jose's goaltender sees it.

"We still have 11 games to go so the lead is not important right now," Evgeni Nabokov said. "It is nice to have the room, but we saw how quickly that can go away with a couple of losses."

San Jose has bounced back from a three-game losing streak by winning two straight, including Saturday's 3-1 victory over Los Angeles.

The most important part of that win may have been getting Nabokov on track. He entered after the first period for an injured Vesa Toskala and stopped all 25 shots he faced.

In his previous five games, Nabokov was 2-3 while allowing 20 goals.

"I was concerned when we put Nabokov in because he's been struggling so much," San Jose coach Ron Wilson said. "But maybe the day off helped him.

"He made some unbelievable saves out there."

Marty Turco should be in net for Dallas after getting a rare game off Sunday. He has won all seven of his starts against San Jose, allowing just seven goals - only one in three meetings this season.

Turco is 6-0-1 with a 1.13 goals-against average in his last seven starts at home.

The status of Stars captain Mike Modano is uncertain for this contest after he bruised his right foot blocking a puck in Sunday's win. He has just three points in the last 10 games.

STANDINGS: Sharks - 87 points, 1st place, Pacific Division. Stars - 84 points, 2nd place, 3 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Sharks - Patrick Marleau, 27 goals and 50 points; Vincent Damphousse, 26 assists; Scott Parker, 96 PIM. Stars - Bill Guerin, 31 goals and 58 points; Jason Arnott and Sergei Zubov, 33 assists; Steve Ott, 146 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 14): Sharks - Power play: 16.3 percent (48 for 294), 13th in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.9 percent (243 for 283), 4th. Stars - Power play: 16.0 percent (47 for 293), 15th. Penalty killing: 84.9 percent (225 for 265), 7th.

GOALTENDERS: Sharks - Nabokov (24-18-7, 8 SO, 2.19 GAA); Toskala (11-7-4, 0, 2.11). Stars - Turco (32-21-12, 7, 2.03); Tugnutt (3-3-0, 1, 1.95).

SEASON SERIES: Stars, 3-1.

LAST MEETING: March 7; Stars, 4-0. At Dallas, Turco made 22 saves for his 19th career shutout. Jon Klemm and Turgeon scored in the first six minutes and Stu Barnes finished with three assists.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Sharks - 15-13-4-4 on the road; Stars - 23-6-7-0 at home.

Associated Press
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