Mar 31, 2012; San Jose, CA, USA; Dallas Stars center Ryan Garbutt (40) fights San Jose Sharks left wing Torrey Mitchell (17) during the third period at HP Pavilion. San Jose defeated Dallas 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

Game Preview: Stars Have No Choice But To Win Against The Sharks

The Dallas Stars put their back against the wall over the weekend with two bad games against the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks on the road. Now the Stars have a chance to take back control of their destiny tonight at home. The Sharks in town for the final meeting of the season between the two Pacific division rivals, and the winner of tonight’s contest will greatly increase their chances of making the playoffs. With the two losses over the weekend, the Stars lost the Pacific lead to the Los Angeles Kings and they would likely have to win out to have a chance at the division. But the Stars do hold the tiebreaker over the Kings, Sharks, and Phoenix Coyotes. Only three of the four teams will make the postseason, and if the Stars want to finally see the playoffs again they will need a huge home win tonight.

Word earlier today is that Mark Fistric and Eric Nystrom will play tonight for the Stars. Fistric returned in their loss in San Jose and played pretty well after missing a few games, while Nystrom is returning after missing time after his leg was cut against Calgary. Philip Larsen is questionable after missing practice yesterday due to illness. He did skate this morning but the Stars are not sure if he can play tonight. Radek Dvorak is a game-time decision as well after missing the last four games because of an ankle injury he has been dealing with for a few weeks now. Douglas Murray is the only Sharks player that is questionable, as he looks like a game-time decision as well.

The puck drops for this pivotal game at 7:30pm central time in downtown Dallas for the final meeting between the rivals. Overall the Stars were outplayed Saturday in California, and they can not afford to come out flat again tonight. Joe Pavelski scored in the first minute of the game and the Stars never really recovered. Now the Stars, 1-4 against the Sharks this season, will need to return the favor tonight. With a sold-out crowd at the American Airlines Center tonight, the Stars will need to come out strong and get the home crowd involved in the game. With three games remaining the Stars trail the Sharks by only one point for the final playoff spot, and tonight’s winner at least controls their own destiny for making the playoffs with only two games left.

  • Dallas is 6-2-1 in their last 9 homes games, and 21-14-3 overall.
  • The Stars have the league’s worst PP and are 1-for-19 over their last six games.
  • San Jose is 15-17-7 on the road this season.
  • The Stars only win over the Sharks this season was a 4-3 shootout win in their last game in Dallas on March 8th.

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Tags: Dallas Stars Douglas Murray Eric Nystrom Joe Pavelski Los Angeles Kings Mark Fistric Philip Larsen Phoenix Coyotes San Jose Sharks

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