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Stars-Sharks Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

San Jose Sharks at Dallas Stars

Thursday February 19, 2015
7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (27-22-8) won 4-1 at St. Louis Tuesday. Jamie Benn notched his first career hat trick and Kari Lehtonen stopped 27 shots for the Stars, who won for the fourth time in five games and pulled to within four points of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

“I thought we played a real good game, jumped on them early,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “The structure of our game was great. I really thought that was probably one of our better all-around games of the year.”

RW Ales Hemsky (lower body) practiced Wednesday, but is questionable for Thursday. The Stars placed LW Travis Moen (upper body) on injured reserve and recalled F Brendan Ranford from Texas (AHL).

Thursday’s game marks the first time Jason Demers will play against San Jose since the Sharks traded him to Dallas for Brenden Dillon on Nov. 21.

Thursday’s game is the first of a two-game homestand for the Stars.

Injuries: RW Ales Hemsky (lower body) is questionable. C Tyler Seguin (knee), RW Patrick Eaves (concussion), LW Travis Moen (upper body), RW Valeri Nichushkin (hip) and D Patrik Nemeth (arm) are out.

About the Sharks

The Sharks (29-22-8) lost 5-1 at Nashville Tuesday. It was the second straight loss for the Sharks, who are 1-4-1 in their last six games and have allowed 26 goals during that stretch.

“The overriding theme is the play around our net,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan told the San Jose Mercury News, “and it still has to get better.”

Tuesday’s loss was seventh in the last nine games (2-5-2) for the Sharks.

San Jose has gotten healthier on the blue line recently. Justin Braun returned Tuesday after missing 11 games with a hand injury. Marc-Edouard Vlasic returned Sunday after missing four games with an upper body injury.

Thursday’s game concludes a two-game road trip for San Jose.

Injuries: LW Raffi Torres (knee), LW Mike Brown (right leg), LW Tye McGinn (upper body) and RW Daniil Tarasov (undisclosed) are out.

Series Notes

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

*San Jose won the first meeting, 5-3, in Dallas on Nov. 8.

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars are 6-4-1 since the All-Star break.

*The Sharks are 4-5-2 since the break.

*The Stars are 10-2-1 vs. the Pacific Division.

*The Sharks are 9-4-1 vs. the Central Division.

*The Stars are 9-9 on the penalty kill over the past four games.

*The Sharks are 3-10 on the power play over the past four games.

*The Stars lead the NHL with 73 second-period goals.

*The Sharks are tied for second in the league with 63 second-period goals.

*Stars captain Jamie Benn has scored eight goals in his last 11 games.

*Stars center Jason Spezza has points in six straight games (three goals, seven assists).

*Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen is 4-0-0 in his last four starts with a 1.49 goals against average and. 959 save percentage.

*Sharks defenseman Brent Burns has four goals in the past five games.

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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