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Sharks host Stars, trying again to clinch

Russell game-time decision for Dallas; Donskoi questionable for San Jose

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor

STARS (44-22-9) at SHARKS (41-27-6)

TV: 4 p.m. ET; FS-SW, CSN-CA, NHL.TV

Season series: The Dallas Stars and San Jose Sharks have split two games, with the home team winning each. Antoine Roussel had the game-winning goal and two assists in the Stars' 5-3 victory at American Airlines Center on Oct. 31. Tomas Hertl's overtime goal gave the Sharks a 4-3 win at SAP Center on Jan. 16.

Stars team scope: Defenseman Kris Russell, acquired by Dallas from the Calgary Flames before the NHL Trade Deadline, is questionable because of a lower-body injury that has kept him out of the lineup for the first two games of a three-game road trip. "He is a possibility, but again it will come down to my decision whether I want to play him or not," coach Lindy Ruff told the Stars website Friday. "We'll see where he is after practice, and he hasn't practiced for a few days." Dallas lost 3-1 to the Arizona Coyotes and is 6-2-2 in its past 10 games. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen has started the past five games, but Ruff has used former Sharks goalie Antti Niemi in the first two games against his former team.

Sharks team scope: San Jose will try for the third time to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Sharks missed opportunities earlier this week by losing at home to the St. Louis Blues and Edmonton Oilers. Goaltender Martin Jones will start after James Reimer played Thursday in a 6-3 loss to the Oilers, when the Sharks were unable to hold a 2-0 lead. San Jose could be without forward Joonas Donskoi, who's listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury after leaving during the second period Thursday. Donskoi, who's been skating as the right wing on the second line with Logan Couture and Melker Karlsson, has 11 goals and 34 points in 69 games. "He's made himself a tough to replace guy, to his credit," coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area on Friday. "The energy, the battle level, the possession he has, the way he hounds the puck. He's made himself a tough guy to replace, which is a good thing." If Donskoi can't play, Dainius Zubrus would likely take his spot. Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic (lower body) didn't practice Friday and won't play.

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