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Sharks-Stars Preview

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GAME: San Jose Sharks (36-26-11) at Dallas Stars (49-21-4).

TIME: Monday, 8:30 p.m. EDT.

Time is running out for the San Jose Sharks.

The Sharks look to end a three-game skid and keep their playoff hopes alive when they meet the Pacific Division-leading Dallas Stars in the start of a crucial three-game road trip.

The Sharks have 83 points and are tied with the Kings for ninth place in the Western Conference, three points behind the Oilers for the eighth and final playoff spot.

San Jose will meet Los Angeles twice more, including the regular-season finale on April 17.

The Sharks squandered a chance to move into the top eight spots in the West after dropping consecutive games to Phoenix, including a 4-3 overtime loss on Saturday.

Matt Carle, Jonathan Cheechoo and Scott Hannan scored third-period goals to erase a three-goal deficit. But Vesa Toskala gave up Steve Reinprecht's goal with 1:05 to play in overtime.

"We've got to be happy with our third period and how we came together down the stretch," Hannan said. "But we've got to be embarrassed about the first two periods."

The Sharks were outshot 29-9 in the first two periods before outshooting the Coyotes 18-3 in the third.

"I'm wondering why it took us so long to get started, especially in the battle we're in," Sharks defenseman Kyle McLaren said. "It's inexcusable. We've got to get better."

Dallas returns home trying to avoid their third straight loss, which would tie a season high.

After a 5-4 shootout loss Friday to Anaheim, the Stars dropped a 1-0 decision Saturday to Los Angeles.

The Stars rested starting goaltender Marty Turco, playing Johan Hedberg instead, and sat leading-scorer Mike Modano on Saturday. Defenseman Sergei Zubov missed his second straight with a lower-body injury.

"We had some of our key players out of the lineup (Saturday), but we still wanted to come out with a good effort," Stars forward Brenden Morrow said. "We had a lot of fight in us, but couldn't come up with the goals we needed."

Turco, who needs one win to reach 40 for the season, is 11-2-1 with a 1.95 goals-against average in his career against the Sharks.

Dallas trails league-leading Detroit by eight points with eight games remaining. The Stars will meet the Red Wings for the final time in the regular season on April 17.

The Stars also are looking for just their second 50-win season all-time. They recorded 51 wins in 1998-99 - the year they won the Stanley Cup.

STANDINGS: Sharks - 83 points, 3rd place (tied), 19 PB, Pacific Division. Stars - 102 points, 1st place, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Sharks - Cheechoo, 46 goals; Joe Thornton, 81 assists and 106 points; Mark Smith, 89 PIM. Stars - Jere Lehtinen, 31 goals; Zubov, 52 assists; Modano, 72 points; Brenden Morrow, 173 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Sharks - Power play: 17.5 percent (76 for 434), 18th in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.2 percent (290 for 357), 22nd. Stars - Power play: 17.3 percent (79 for 457), 20th. Penalty killing: 84.2 percent (379 for 450), 6th.

GOALTENDERS: Sharks - Toskala (16-7-4, 1, 2.75); Evgeni Nabokov (15-18-7, 1 SO, 3.08 GAA). Stars - Turco (39-17-4, 3, 2.51); Hedberg (10-4-0, 0, 2.56).

SEASON SERIES: Stars, 4-1-1.

LAST MEETING: March 18; Stars, 4-3 (SO). At San Jose, Calif., Modano had a goal, two assists and the first shootout goal for the Stars. Ville Niemenen, Pat Rissmiller and Milan Michalek scored 79 seconds apart in the second period for San Jose.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Sharks - 14-18-4 on the road; Stars - 26-11-1 at home.

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