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Stars-Sharks Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Dallas Stars at San Jose Sharks

Saturday, December 21
9:30 p.m.
TV: TXA-21
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (17-12-5) are coming off a 4-1 victory over Vancouver at American Airlines Center on Thursday night. The Stars scored two goals in a 15-second span five minutes into the game to take a lead they would never relinquish.

“We got off to a great start in the game,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We hit a few mistakes, but I thought after some tough stretches we rebounded and played a pretty solid game and we got some big timely saves when we needed them.”

Kari Lehtonen stopped 27 of 28 shots for the Stars, who won consecutive games for the first time since Nov. 13-17 when they won three in a row.

“It’s big, especially playing against two of the top teams in the league (San Jose and Los Angeles) this weekend,” said Stars forward Rich Peverley, who had two assists in the game. “Hopefully it will give us a little confidence booster. We know we’ve got to try to keep winning to climb a little bit more.”

Stars center Vernon Fiddler, who has missed the last six games due to an upper body injury, practiced Friday. He could play Saturday. Forward Ryan Garbutt missed Friday’s practice and is questionable.

The Stars placed D Aaron Rome on injured reserve Friday.

Injuries: C Vernon Fiddler (upper body) and LW/RW Ryan Garbutt (foot/ankle) are questionable. D Aaron Rome (lower body), D Trevor Daley (ankle) and D Stephane Robidas (leg) are out.

About the Sharks

The Sharks (21-8-6) are coming off a 4-1 loss in Los Angeles on Thursday. It was the sixth loss in the last eight games for the Sharks (2-5-1). San Jose, which ranks fourth in the league in goal scoring at 3.14 goals per game, scored two goals or fewere for the fifth time in the last eight games.

The Sharks lost forward Tomas Hertl, who leads NHL rookies in goals and points, in the game. Hertl was injured in a knee-on-knee collision with Kings forward Dustin Brown. Hertl won’t play Saturday against the Stars and could be out for a while.

"He's not playing tomorrow and he's probably not playing before Christmas, and right now I don't expect him back for a little while,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan told reporters on Friday.

The Sharks recalled forward Matt Nieto from San Francisco of the ECHL on Friday.

Injuries: F Tomas Hertl (knee), F Adam Burish (back) and F Raffi Torres (knee) are out.

Series Notes

*This is the second of three meetings between the Stars and Sharks.

*The Stars are 1-0-0 in the season series and the Sharks are 0-0-1.

*October 17, San Jose at Dallas: Stars 4, Sharks 3 (SO).

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars are 5-3-2 in their last ten games.

*The Sharks are 4-5-1 in their last ten games.

*The Stars are 7-2-1 vs. the Pacific Division.

*The Sharks are 4-3-2 vs. the Central Division.

*The Sharks are 6-0-1 in their last seven home games.

*The Stars have lost four of their last six on the road (2-3-1).

*The Sharks are 12-13 (92.3 percent) on the penalty kill over the last seven games.

*The Sharks have outscored their opponents 44-15 in first periods this season.

*The Stars have outscored their opponents 30-29 in first periods.

*Tyler Seguin leads the Stars in goals (18) and points (35).

*Patrick Marleau leads San Jose in goals with 16. Joe Thornton leads the Sharks in points with 36.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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