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Stars, Sharks meet with struggling power plays

by Steve Hunt

DALLAS -- When the San Jose Sharks and Dallas Stars hit the ice Saturday night at American Airlines Center, the Pacific Division foes will square off with power-play units that are a combined 0-for-their-past-30.

Dallas is 0-for-12 with the man advantage over its past three games and heads into Saturday on a two-game losing streak. For Stars coach Glen Gulutzan, the way to remedy his club's is pretty simple.

"We need a shooter's mindset," Gulutzan said. "Shots cause confusion, and if you look at San Jose, they like to put a lot of shots on net and they have success in their power play. We need a lot of that mentality. We've got sometimes the pass-first mentality. We're going to put more pucks towards the net. We're going to work a lot harder."

The Sharks also have had their share of issues on the power play. San Jose is 0-for-18 over its past four games. In Feburary, San Jose is 2-for-39 with the extra attacker, a definite cause of concern for Sharks coach Todd McLellan, whose club has lost seven of its past eight.

"We can sit there and bang our heads against the wall night in and night out. We've got to keep trying different units, different pairs," McLellan told the San Jose Mercury-News after Friday's 2-1 loss at the Chicago Blackhawks. "We'll continue to work on it."

Stars rookie goalie Cristopher Nilstorp, who stopped 18 of the 22 shots he faced in a 4-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday, will get a second consecutive start. Nilstorp is 0-3-0 with a 3.16 goals-against-average in his three starts.

"Mental toughness is a big thing at this level. He [Nilstorp] has proven that he can play and we want to give him the opportunity tonight," Gulutzan said. "We know he's going to respond because he's a real good goaltender."

Dallas will be without defenseman Trevor Daley (neck) for a second straight game. But the news is favorable for the veteran to return in time for Monday's game at the Nashville Predators.

"Doing good, a little sore but I feel OK. I will be better Monday than I am today," Daley said. "I feel like I could go today, so it will be nice to go [on Monday]."

San Jose didn't skate on Saturday being on the end of a back-to-back, so it's unclear whom McLellan will go with between the nets against Dallas. Antti Niemi started and played well in Friday's loss to Chicago but McLellan could opt to start backup Thomas Greiss.

Saturday will mark the end of a six-game road swing for San Jose; the Sharks have gone 1-3-1 thus far. Dallas will be ending a three-game homestand; the Stars have dropped the first two games on home ice, losing by one goal to the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames.

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