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Sharks go for fifth straight win vs. Stars at SAP Center

by Matthew Mankiewich

STARS (17-12-5) at SHARKS (21-8-6)


Last 10: Dallas 5-3-2, San Jose 4-5-1

Season series: The Dallas Stars took the first of three games with a 4-3 shootout win Oct. 17 at American Airlines Center, continuing a trend in which the home team won every game between the teams since the start of the 2012-13 season. The San Jose Sharks are looking for their fifth straight win against the Stars at SAP Center, but have lost four in a row in Dallas.

Big story: The Stars have won three of their past four games, but only one of those wins was on the road. The Sharks are one of the best home teams in the NHL (11-1-3) and have won six of seven at home, even managing a point in the loss, a 3-2 decision against the New York Islanders in a shootout last Tuesday. They are returning, however, from an arduous three-game road trip that included losses to the Nashville Predators and Los Angeles Kings.

Team Scope:

Stars: At practice Friday, coach Lindy Ruff was asked what the secret was behind the Stars' recent resurgence.

"Just the commitment to our play away from the puck, the commitment by our forwards to put the puck in the right place, to get back, to create back pressure, to not give the other team time and ice," he said. "I think as soon as you give the other team enough time to pull up, to stop up and look for one, your first read, your second read, that's when your coverage breaks down. There wasn't a lot of situations in the past couple of games. If we're going to win, we have to play that way."

Concerning his team's struggles against the Sharks in San Jose, Ruff said: "They're a good speed team. They have depth of scoring, they've been one of the better scoring teams all year long, and I think it's their depth, their size, some of the strength of their forwards up front."

Sharks: While Kings rookie goalie Martin Jones beat the Sharks 4-1 on Thursday to bring his record to 7-0-0, one win shy of Bob Froese's record to start an NHL career, the Sharks were concerned about their own phenom, forward Tomas Hertl. He left the game late in the first period following a knee-on-knee collision with Dustin Brown. Hertl could be out for a month and will undergo an MRI exam to determine the extent of the injury, according to a report citing a team source.

"It just means it's going to be an opportunity for someone to come in and play those minutes," forward Patrick Marleau said Friday. "We have guys who can move up and down the line, and it's a great opportunity."

Who's hot: Stars forward Tyler Seguin has eight points in his past four games. The Colorado Avalanche kept him off the scoresheet Tuesday after he had logged a goal and an assist against them the night before, but he bounced back with two assists in a 4-1 win against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday. … Marleau has a three-game point streak and points in six of seven.

Injury report: Stars defenseman Aaron Rome (lower body) is still on injured reserve along with forward Vernon Fiddler (upper body). … Sharks forward Raffi Torres (knee surgery) is still at least a month away from returning.

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