The Dallas Stars’ best work this season has come against their
former division, the Pacific.
They’ll try to improve on a 7-2-1 record against those foes
Saturday night when they visit a San Jose Sharks team that doesn’t
give away many points at home.
The Stars (17-12-5) beat Vancouver 4-1 on Thursday for their
first back-to-back victories since Nov. 17. They’ve won three of
four and recognize a month between winning streaks won’t get them
anywhere in the Central Division, which they moved to this season
as part of the league’s realignment from six divisions to four.
“We can’t be a team that is going to win three, lose two, lose
three and win one,” forward Erik Cole told the team’s official
website. “You’re not going to gain any ground, especially in the
West. We all know what a big stretch of games this is against all
these teams that we are chasing. It’s nice that we were able to get
another two here at home, especially where we have struggled.”
Cole had a goal and two assists against the Canucks while Tyler
Seguin added two assists to give him eight points in four
Jamie Benn and Colton Sceviour scored in the first five minutes
to give the Stars a 2-0 lead against a team that came in with a
7-0-1 record in December.
“That was a real good win for us,” coach Lindy Ruff said. “We
got off to real good start.”
Benn has three goals in four games after going 11 contests
without one. The Stars are 8-0-0 when he scores.
Kari Lehtonen made 28 saves to earn his 100th win for the Stars,
and he held an opponent to fewer three goals for the first time in
seven games. He had gone 2-3-1 with a 4.17 goals-against average in
his previous six and allowed 10 goals in his previous two
“I’ve had a rough go the last couple of weeks, so it’s nice to
have a good game,” Lehtonen said. “That made me more relaxed.”
Lehtonen hasn’t done well against the Sharks in his career,
going 5-7-1 with a 3.54 GAA in 13 starts.
The Stars, however, have won four of five against the Sharks,
the most recent a 4-3 shootout home win Oct. 17. Dallas, though, is
1-5-0 in its last six trips to San Jose, getting outscored
The Sharks (21-8-6) lost 4-1 at Los Angeles on Thursday and are
2-5-1 in their last eight, managing three or fewer goals seven
times in that span.
“Whether we’re squeezing the sticks too tight, or whatever term
you want to use, eventually for us to be successful, they have to
produce,” coach Todd McLellan said.
Patrick Marleau scored against the Kings and has two goals and
three assists during a three-game point streak.
Despite the recent struggles, San Jose’s 11-1-3 home record is
among the best in the league.
The Sharks could be without rookie center Tomas Hertl on
Saturday after he took a knee-to-knee hit against the Kings and did
not return. He leads all rookies with 15 goals and 25 points.
“Obviously he didn’t return, so it’s not a good thing,” McLellan
San Jose recalled forward Matt Nieto from San Francisco of the
ECHL on Friday.