NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, December 21st
(All times Eastern)
Dallas Stars (17-12-5) at San Jose Sharks (21-8-6), 10:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Dallas Stars hope to push their winning streak to
three straight games on Saturday night as they visit the San Jose Sharks.
The Stars were last in action on Thursday, when they notched a 4-1 victory
over the Vancouver Canucks. It gave Dallas a win in three of its last four
games, including back-to-back victories for the first time since a three-game
run from Nov. 13-17.
Erik Cole paced the offense with a goal and two assists, while Kari Lehtonen
made 27 saves to earn his 100th victory in a Dallas uniform.
Valeri Nichushkin, Jamie Benn and Colton Sceviour added goals for a Stars club
looking to find some winning consistency.
"We can't be a team that's going to win three and lose two or lose three and
win one," said Cole. "It's not going to gain any ground especially in the
west. We all know what a big stretch of games this is against the opponents
that we are playing. It's all teams we are chasing. It's nice we were able to
get another two (points) here, especially at home where we've struggled."
Sceviour has been a spark in four games since being recalled from the minors
on Dec. 9, netting the first three goals of his NHL career in that time. His
goal on Thursday came 15 seconds after Benn scored to put Dallas up 2-0 less
than five minutes into the game.
The Sharks, meanwhile, have lost six of their last eight and dropped a 4-1
decision to the hosting Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.
Patrick Marleau scored a goal in his 1,200th career game and Antti Niemi gave
up all four goals on 32 shots, though head coach Todd McLellan was putting the
blame squarely on his goaltender.
"I think (Niemi) is like some others on our team, some go-to guys that have to
step up. He knows that, we know it, his teammates know it. But we are talking
about one individual who wears the (goalie) pads. There are some others who
didn't have a very good night. The focus can't just go on him," said McLellan.
San Jose played most of the game without rookie Tomas Hertl, who exited with a
bruised right knee after taking a knee-on-knee hit from Los Angeles' Dustin
Brown late in the first period. Hertl has 15 goals and 25 points in 35 games
According to a report by CSNBayArea.com, Hertl could miss a month of action
due to the injury. Brown was ejected from the game but will not face further
discipline from the league.
San Jose may have some revenge on its mind after having its season-opening
seven-game winning streak snapped with a 4-3 shootout loss in Dallas on Oct.
The Stars have won four of the past five meetings overall, but the Sharks are
5-0-1 in the last six played in San Jose.
Niemi is 9-4-5 with a 2.28 goals against average in his career versus the
Stars, while Lehtonen is 5-7-1 with a 3.54 GAA when squaring off with the
12/21 11:13:23 ET