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StarPoints For 3/25 vs San Jose

by Travis Betts / Dallas Stars

Dallas Stars (32-27-14) @ San Jose Sharks (44-19-10)
7:00PM CT - HP Pavilion
Television - FOX Sports Southwest
Radio - Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket

1.)  Thursday’s game is the fifth matchup of the season between the Stars and the Sharks, and the third at San Jose’s HP Pavilion. Dallas won the two previous games this season at San Jose in the shootout, and including last Tuesday’s 8-2 win over the Sharks, the Stars are 3-1-0 overall against the Pacific Division leaders. The two teams will play one more time at American Airlines Center on March 31.

2.)  Brad Richards has points in 16 of his last 18 games (six goals, 17 assists). Richards has been a key contributor for the Stars on the power play and penalty kill with his ability to win faceoffs (61.3% in his last six games), and he is second in the NHL with 35 power-play points. His 82 points (21 goals, 61 assists) are already good enough for sixth place in Dallas Stars history, just 11 away from Mike Modano’s 93 points in 1993-94.

3.)  Both games in San Jose this year involved third period comebacks for the Stars, meaning it’s never a good idea to turn the TV off early when these two teams square off. On Nov. 12, Dallas came back from a 2-0 deficit in the final period before Stephane Robidas ended it in the shootout. On Dec. 12, the Stars rallied from the losing side of a 2-1 score to force a shootout, where they won thanks to Matt Niskanen’s 11th round heroics. Marty Turco turned aside eight straight San Jose attempts from players including Dany Heatley, Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton.
4.)  Dallas is still chasing the eighth and final playoff spot in the West, and while the Stars are nine points out with nine games to play, they did move up from 13th place to 10th place with Tuesday’s win over Nashville. Dallas is 3-1-1 in its last five, and will need to continue to play at a high level in order to maintain its playoff hopes.
5.)  One to watch for:  San Jose’s Joe Thornton has a lot of pressure to lead his team through a tough stretch right now. Thornton’s biggest critique in his career has been his play late in the season and in the playoffs. With the Sharks coming off a 1-5 roadtrip, and in danger of losing their lead in the Pacific Division, the weight is on Thornton’s shoulders to step up and deliver. The 30-year-old center has not missed a game since being traded to San Jose in 2005, scoring 472 points (115-357-472) in 377 games with the Sharks.

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