Things have not been great this week last week for the Dallas Stars. After starting 11-3 and beginning their four game roadtrip 2-0 last week, the Stars lost the last two games last weekend and have now lost four straight after last night’s 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche. Dallas jumps right back onto the ice tonight against the San Jose Sharks down at the American Airlines Center, and will have to immediately get over their recent woes if they hope to have any chance tonight. The Sharks will come in to the game on fire as they are 9-2-1 in their last 12 games and have been climbing up the standings in the Western Conference. The two rivals will meet for the first time this season and tonight the Stars need to come out with a lot more energy and fight after their last two efforts have been extremely disappointing.
The Stars though will be without their best player tonight. Kari Lehtonen will have the night off as Andrew Raycroft will get his fourth start of the year. Out of his three starts, Raycroft has one great performance in LA and then twice that he and the team have not played well. Hopefully he evens it out tonight and the Stars can find a way to get him his first win of the season. At the other end San Jose will start Antti Niemi in the crease as usual. The Finnish netminder is 7-2-1 this season and can nightly be one of the best in the league. Dallas will have to take more than they have recently and get traffic around the Sharks crease.
Steve Ott jumped back into the lineup last night, but the Stars will still be without Alex Goligoski (broken thumb) and Adam Burish (broken hand) for a few weeks. For San Jose, the injury report is that James Sheppard (knee) and backup netminder Antero Niittymaki (hip) are both still out and recovering from serious injuries.
The puck drops tonight at the AAC at 7:00 PM (CST) for the first matchup of the season between these two divisional rivals. Tune in to TXA-21 for the game on TV and 1310AM The Ticket on the radio. The Stars have been outscored 17-3 in their last four games and just about everything seems to be going wrong. A big key tonight could be special teams. The Stars have still maintained a solid penalty kill through their losing streak and will need it to night. The Sharks are offensively one of the best teams in hockey and always have one of the leagues top powerplays. But on the other hand, the Sharks currently have the worst PK in the NHL and the Stars are 10th in the league despite only getting two or three chances a night. If the Stars can get a few calls tonight on home ice and cash in when they get the chance, they could have a chance to finally get some points again.
You can follow myself (Austin) at Twitter.com/BlackoutDallas online for updates and chatter, or follow BlackoutDallas contributors Melissa at Twitter.com/DalStarsWriter and Andrew Monrreal at Twitter.com/_Ammon. And for the Sharks perspective, head on over to BladesOfTeal.com.