“It’s been a busy schedule but we’re used to that,” said Stars coach Marc Crawford. “Travel is always a part of our schedule. After this stretch we have some big home games around the holidays.”
Goaltender Kari Lehtonen
had a good couple of days working out on his own this week. He practiced with the team and said he feels fine.
“(Practice) was good. The last couple of days were pretty much normal, so it was good...I feel ready and excited and hopefully can keep myself together.''
Lehtonen has missed the last four games with tightness in his back. Crawford said that he might be back in action for the Stars soon.
“Kari looks like he is getting more and more ready to play,'' Crawford said. “There is a strong possibility for tomorrow and if he's ready, he'll go. He was very positive today on his outing.”
The Stars assigned Richard Bachman
to the Texas Stars on Wednesday afternoon, paving the way for Lehtonen to at least be the back-up on Thursday when the Stars host the Sharks.
“(The tightness) was there and I needed a couple of days to recoup, but I feel good,” Lehtonen said. “I have a pretty good program of what I do every day before I go on the ice or when I come off the ice. Everything felt good today, so I'm excited about tomorrow.''
Aaron Gagnon was also assigned to Texas on Wednesday. Toby Petersen
and Krys Barch are both getting closer to playing. Both will participate in Thursday’s morning skate and are possibilities to be activated from the Injured Reserve list soon.
WHO’S HOT:Mike Ribeiro
has scored three of his five goals this season against the Sharks and has collected a total of four points (3 goals, 1 assist). Ribeiro recorded the game-winning goal in the first meeting of the season and tied the game in the third period on Monday night against San Jose that led to overtime.
James Neal has recorded points in seven of his last eight games (5 goals and 4 assists) and has recorded two goals and one assist against San Jose this season.
Brad Richards has netted one goal and two assists this season vs. the Sharks and has points in 12 of his last 16 games (six goals and 10 assists). Richards has been unstoppable at home this season – scoring 22 of his 34 points at American Airlines Center and ranks fifth in the NHL in points accumulated on home ice.ABOUT THURSDAY’S GAME:
The Stars lead the season series 2-0-0, winning both past regulation (one in OT, one in a shootout)… Last season, the Stars took the season series from the Sharks (4-2-0) and won two games at home (2-1-0) and two games on the road (2-1-0)… Dallas has taken the season series from San Jose in six of the last seven years… This season, Dallas has killed every San Jose power play opportunity (6 of 6 on penalty kill, 100%). RED-HOT AT HOME:
The Stars are 9-0-1 over the last 10 home games. Dallas is 11-3-1 this season at American Airlines Center – the second best home record in the Western Conference… The last time Dallas recorded a point in 11-straight home games was during the 2003-04 season, when the team collected points in 17-straight home games. CRAWFORD REACHES 1,100 GAMES COACHED:
Stars coach Marc Crawford will coach his 1,100th NHL game on Thursday night against the Sharks. He is one of three active coaches in the NHL to reach the 1,100 games mark and one of just 11 others in NHL history. Ron Wilson (1,284 games) and Jacques Martin (1,210 games) are the only two active coaches with more games than Crawford. Over his coaching career, Crawford has a record of 525-402-172 (.555).