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Stars can move into playoff berth by beating Sharks

by Brian Compton

STARS (26-21-9) at SHARKS (35-16-6)


Last 10: Dallas 5-3-2; San Jose 6-4-0

Season series: This is the third and final game between the Dallas Stars and San Jose Sharks. Each team has won once in a shootout, with the Sharks winning the most-recent game on Dec. 21 at SAP Center.

Big story: The Stars' chances of earning a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs didn't look good a few weeks ago, but a win against the Sharks would move them into the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

Team Scope:

Stars: Not only did Dallas improve to 2-0-0 on its three-game road trip with a 3-1 win against the Phoenix Coyotes at Arena on Tuesday, but it was able to do so with the players' fathers in attendance. The Stars spent three days in Arizona and many of the dads made the trip, spending a day at a dude ranch before capping the mini-vacation by watching the team's fifth win in seven games.

"I think the dads really enjoyed it, and to have their sons win a game is great," coach Lindy Ruff said. "I think the ones whose sons scored were probably especially proud and they got to see it live."

Sharks: Adam Burish has yet to play in a game this season due to a back injury, but the gritty forward is inching closer toward his 2013-14 debut. Burish sustained a herniated disc during a preseason game against the Vancouver Canucks on Sept. 16. Burish visited doctors Tuesday, and it's likely he'll be cleared to return for the game Wednesday.

"I think he gives us a right-handed faceoff guy, another penalty-killer, an element of grit and tenacity when he's playing well," Sharks coach Todd McLellan told "There's a lot of things that Burr can bring."

San Jose reassigned forward Eriah Hayes to the Worcester Sharks of the American Hockey League on Tuesday. Hayes, 25, has one goal and two penalty minutes in 15 NHL games this season.

Who's hot: Stars center Tyler Seguin had an assist Tuesday, extending his point streak to six games (three goals, seven assists). … San Jose forward Matt Nieto scored two goals on Monday against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Injury report: Dallas defenseman Stephane Robidas (leg) is out indefinitely. … The Sharks remain without forward Tyler Kennedy (lower body) and defenseman Jason Demers (groin). Left wing Raffi Torres (knee) is day-to-day, while center Logan Couture (hand) is not expected back until after the Olympic break. Center Tomas Hertl (knee) is also out.

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