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Sharks-Stars Preview @NHLdotcom

Losses at the American Airlines Center ended the San Jose Sharks' championship hopes last spring, but the Sharks have won there consistently during the regular season.

The Sharks seek to improve to 2-0 in Dallas this season and win for the sixth time in their last seven visits there when they face off against the Stars on Monday night.

San Jose won three of four games in Dallas (15-14-5) last regular season, but dropped a pair of contests there in the Western Conference semifinals en route to a six-game series defeat.

In 2008-09, though, the league-best Sharks (27-4-4) have resumed their success in this Pacific Division rivalry, winning their first two meetings with Dallas - 2-1 at home on Nov. 8 and 6-2 on the road Nov. 28.

However, San Jose is playing arguably its worst hockey of the season, losing three of five (2-1-2) for the first time in 2008-09, and totaling five goals in those three defeats. The Sharks suffered their first loss in four shootouts this season Saturday, falling 3-2 in St. Louis.

"We weren't prepared to play and to be quite honest with you, you could almost see it coming," San Jose coach Todd McClellan said.

A bright spot for the Sharks was Joe Thornton, who had two assists for his third consecutive two-point game and extended his team-high point total to 41. Thornton was limited to three assists in last spring's six playoff meetings with Dallas, but also has three assists in the two matchups this season.

While San Jose is suddenly struggling to put the puck in the net, the Stars have won four of their past five (4-0-1) thanks to their offense, totaling 24 goals during the hot streak. The surge continued Saturday at home with a 4-3 overtime win over Anaheim. Mike Ribeiro's goal tied the game with 1:04 remaining in regulation, setting the stage for Mike Modano's game-winner 3:34 into overtime.

Ribeiro also assisted on Modano's goal and had one other assist, giving him two goals and seven assists during a five-game point streak.

"We have to keep a playoff mentality and we just need to keep pushing," Ribeiro said. "We've been showing some good worth ethic. So we'll try to keep this run going."

Brad Richards, riding a five-game point streak of his own, scored a goal for the fourth consecutive contest and added an assist against the Ducks.

Richards, Ribeiro and the resurgent Dallas offense have allowed Marty Turco to go 5-0-1 in his past six starts despite allowing five goals twice in that span. Turco's 3.27 goals-against average this season is 0.72 higher than in any of his previous seven seasons.

Turco has a 4-5-2 record in his last 11 regular-season starts against San Jose, but compiled a 1.51 GAA in last season's playoff series.

EA SPORTS NHL09 Game Predictions
San Jose 3
Dallas 0
Three Stars
G: 2 | A: 0

S: 20 | SV: 20

G: 0 | A: 2


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