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Sharks look to end homestand with 8-game win streak

by Corey Masisak

STARS (17-17-3) at SHARKS (20-11-6)


Last 10: Dallas 5-5-0; San Jose 8-2-0

Season series: The Dallas Stars won the first meeting of the season in February. The teams see each other three times in a 17-day span before the end of the season.

Big story: While the Stars are trying to stay on the fringe of the Stanley Cup Playoff race, the San Jose Sharks have surged and are looking for an eighth straight victory.

Team Scope:

Stars: Dallas entered Saturday five points out of eighth place with 11 games to play. Winning eight of the final 11 is probably the minimum requirement to steal a spot in the playoffs, and even that could leave the Stars a point or two shy.

The Stars were clearly sellers at the NHL Trade Deadline, moving three critical forwards -- Jaromir Jagr, Derek Roy and Brendan Morrow -- for futures. If Dallas is going to make a playoff push, goaltender Kari Lehtonen and top forwards Jamie Benn and Ray Whitney need to produce superstar efforts.

Sharks: What a roller-coaster short season it has been in San Jose. After starting 7-0-0, the Sharks lost 17 of the next 23. When the Minnesota Wild defeated them 2-0 on March 23, the Sharks were 13-11-6 and sitting outside the top eight in the Western Conference.

General manager Doug Wilson made a pair of trades, unloading veteran forward Ryane Clowe and defenseman Douglas Murray for draft picks, while the team has rallied with seven straight victories.

The Sharks entered Saturday in fourth place in the West, but this is the final game before a four-game road trip. They are seven points clear of ninth place and appear safe to earn a playoff berth, but are four up on eighth with six of the final 10 games away from home.

Who's hot: The Stars have five goals in the past three games, and forward Vernon Fiddler has an assist on three of them. ... Sharks forward Joe Pavelski has five goals, and he, Joe Thornton and Brent Burns have seven points each during the seven-game win streak.

Injury report: Stars acquisition Lane MacDermid (upper body) left the 3-1 win against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday. .. Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan (upper body) is out. Forward Tim Kennedy and defenseman Jason Demers missed the 2-1 win Friday against the Calgary Flames.

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