The Dallas Stars haven't played the San Jose Sharks once this season, but they will be seeing them a lot over the next two weeks. The Stars and Sharks play three times in 13 days, starting tonight at SAP Center in San Jose. The two teams will meet again two times next week with both games in Dallas.
"It will have a little mini-series feel, so we will look at it that way," said Stars center Jason Spezza. "It's probably going to be weird for them coming to play us twice on the same road trip. But that is the nature of the schedule this year. There have been some weird things."
Kari Lehtonen is the expected starter in goal tonight for the Stars. This will be the fourth straight start for Lehtonen, who was pulled in Wednesday's 5-2 loss to Ottawa at American Airlines Center after the Senators scored three goals on 18 shots.
One lineup change is expected tonight for the Stars. Greg Pateryn will be in on defense after sitting out the past three games as a healthy scratch.
Video: Ruff analyzes Sharks matchup
"It will be another good look at him," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "We are going to use all seven [defensemen]. He needs an opportunity to play, and it gives us a look at pairs that all have lefties and righties."
Tonight's game will be Pateryn's second with the Stars since being acquired from Montreal in a trade. Pateryn said watching some games will help as he gets another shot to play with the Stars, and he added that battling to get into the lineup is nothing new.
"That's just something I have had to battle with my entire career, and that's just how it is," Pateryn said. "That lights a little flame under you and gives you a little extra motivation."
With Pateryn coming into the lineup tonight, it appears that Patrik Nemeth will sit out as the healthy scratch on defense. Jiri Hudler is the expected scratch at forward.
Tonight's game opens a four-game road trip for the Stars (27-30-10). They also play at Edmonton, Vancouver and Calgary.
Aaron Dell will get the start in goal tonight for the Sharks. The 27-year-old is 9-3-1 this season with a 1.88 goals-against average and .935 save percentage. His last game was Monday when he stopped 31 of 33 shots in a 3-2 win at Winnipeg. Sharks forward Melker Karlsson is out tonight with a lower-body injury. Defenseman David Schlemko will miss a fifth straight game with a lower-body issue. The Sharks, who lead the Pacific Division with a 40-20-7 record, played Saturday afternoon, losing 3-1 to Nashville at SAP Center.
Who: Dallas Stars at San Jose Sharks
Where: SAP Center
When: 9:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM
Stars Projected Lineup
Jamie Benn - Jason Spezza - Tyler Seguin
Devin Shore - Radek Faksa - Patrick Sharp
Remi Elie - Cody Eakin - Ales Hemsky
Curtis McKenzie - Adam Cracknell - Brett Ritchie
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis - Stephen Johns
Jamie Oleksiak - Greg Pateryn
Scratched: Jiri Hudler, Patrik Nemeth
Injured: Antoine Roussel (hand), Mattias Janmark (knee)
Sharks Projected Lineup
Jannik Hansen - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Mikkel Boedker
Joonas Donskoi - Tomas Hertl - Joel Ward
Micheal Haley - Chris Tierney - Marcus Sorensen
Paul Martin - Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon - Dylan DeMelo
Scratched: Tim Heed, Ryan Carpenter
Injured: David Schlemko (lower body), Melker Karlsson (lower body)
This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.