Dallas Stars vs. San Jose Sharks: Preview


The Dallas Stars will host the San Jose Sharks on Thursday evening at American Airlines Center. This will be the second of three match-ups this season between the former divisional foes, as the Sharks won by a score of 5-3 in Dallas on November 8. Tonight’s tilt is particularly important for both teams, as the Stars are only four points behind the Sharks, who are tied with the Kings for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. Former Dallas Star Brenden Dillon will return to Dallas for the first time with his new club. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. CST, and the game can be seen locally on Fox Sports SouthWest.

Records and Scores

The Dallas Stars (27-22-8) have won four of their last five, with the only blemish being a 4-1 loss at Colorado last Saturday. Their last outing was a 4-1 win over the St. Louis Blues on Tuseday, a game in which Kari Lehtonen’s 28 saves and Jamie Benn’s hat trick led the way in a big divisional win. The Stars need points to stay competitive in the Wild Card race; a win would bring Dallas within two points of San Jose while preserving the two games-in-hand advantage.

The San Jose Sharks (29-22-8), who little more than a week ago were perched in second place in the Pacific Division, are losers of seven of their last nine and are currently out of the playoffs. That’s not to say they’re out, as the Pacific is the weakest division in hockey and a win would pull them back into second (in a tie with the Flames at 68 points).


Can Jamie Benn Answer the Bell Once More?

Captain of the Dallas Stars, Jamie Benn has made a career out of being underestimated and proving critics wrong. From being picked 127th overall in the 2007 NHL Draft, to being uninvited to Team Canada’s orientation camp for the 2014 Sochi Games, he has constantly turned a chip on the shoulder into dominance on the ice. After proving his worth in the fall of 2013 and being a late call-up for the Sochi Games, he scored the lone goal in a 1-0 victory over Team U.S.A. and, along with stellar defense, earned the trust of his coaches en route to Olympic Gold.

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  • The Stars are currently missing three of their top six forwards, although Ales Hemsky could return to action against San Jose. With the offensive vacuum created by the long-term injuries to Patrick Eaves and especially All-Star Tyler Seguin, somebody had to step up, as such circumstances normally spell elimination for teams on the playoff bubble. During Tuesday’s win in St. Louis, to the surprise of perhaps nobody in Texas, Benn filled the void by registering a hat trick before the halfway mark. It was the first hatty of his career, and the first of Dallas’ season by someone not wearing a #91 jersey (one of Seguin’s hat tricks represented all three Stars goals in the November loss to San Jose). Along with Lehtonen’s and Jason Spezza’s improved play of late, it seems as though Benn and the Stars may stand a chance at keeping pace while awaiting Seguin’s return.

    San Jose Sharks: Experience or Youth?

    The San Jose Sharks find themselves in something of a transition phase in 2015. The clock is ticking for the old guard (Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Antti Niemi), while a youth movement (Matt Nieto, Tomas Hertl, Mirco Mueller) is finding it’s footing. That’s not to say the grizzled vets aren’t still the dominant force on the ice (ninth year vet Joe Pavelski leads the team with 53 points, and 35 year-old Thornton is right behind with 51), but it’s clear that the Sharks’ top brass is looking for the next generation of leaders. The transition has been rocky, as the team who has seemingly coasted through the regular season for the past decade has been inconsistent since the new year and is currently on the outside of the playoffs. Youngsters like Hertl (22 points) have slightly underperformed this year, but the team still has the potent mix of raw talent and veteran experience that can lead to playoff success.

     Injury Report

    The Stars will go without Val Nichushkin (hip), Patrik Nemeth (arm), Travis Moen (upper body), Tyler Seguin (knee), and Patrick Eaves (concussion). Ales Hemsky (lower body) is a game-time decision. Recently recalled Brendan Ranford could see his first NHL action if Hemsky cannot go.

    The Sharks will be without Daniil Tarasov (undisclosed), Tye McGinn (upper body), Mike Brown (leg), and Raffi Torres (knee).

    Projected Line Combinations

    Dallas Stars

    Jamie Benn – Jason Spezza – Erik Cole

    Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Ryan Garbutt

    Curtis McKenzie – Vernon Fiddler – Brett Ritchie

    Colton Sceviour – Shawn Horcoff – Ales Hemsky

    Alex Goligoski – John Klingberg

    Jyrki Jokipakka – Trevor Daley

    Jordie Benn – Jason Demers

    Kari Lehtonen

    Jhonas Enroth

    San Jose Sharks 

    Patrick Marleau – Joe Thronton – Melker Karlsson

    Joe Pavelski – Logan Couture – Tommy Wingels

    Matt Nieto – Tyler Sheppard – James Kennedy

    Tomas Hertl – Chris Tierney – Andrew Desjardins

    Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Brent Burns

    Brenden Dillon – Justin Braun

    Matt Irwin – Scott Hannan

    Antti Niemi

    Alex Stalock


    The Stars find a way to break through without Seguin, but it’s not easy. Lehtonen keeps up his stellar play and Dallas takes it 3-2 in overtime.

    Check back to Blackout Dallas for postgame news and analysis!