Preview: San Jose Sharks Host Fading Stars

The San Jose Sharks and Dallas Stars finally meet for the first time this season today at SAP Center, despite both playing in the Western Conference. Perhaps more strange is that the two teams wrap up their season series later this month when the Sharks hit the road and will play two games in Dallas on a single road trip.

Dallas Struggles in the Back Half

The strain of poor goaltending and uneven defensive play has been the hallmark of the season for the Stars. Former Shark Antti Niemi has been especially bad for Dallas with a 3.23 goals-against average and a sub-.900 save percentage. Kari Lehtonen has not fared much better at a .905 save percentage. Most odd is the fact that both goaltenders are nearly average or above average in high-danger save percentage, but well below average in either medium or low danger shots.

SAVE chart via Ian Fleming/

The potent offense led by Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn has not been enough to cover the mistakes of the goaltending or the spotty play of the defense. Technically, the Stars are still in the chase of the Western Conference Wildcard but being 11 points out with 15 games to go, their playoff hopes are fading fast and a 5-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators earlier this week hurt those already weak chances.

Sharks: Big Wins & Sleepy Losses

(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Sharks last two games have been on opposite ends of the spectrum. They shut down Alex Ovechkin in a solid 4-2 win over the NHL-leading Washington Capitals before sleepwalking through long stretches of a rare 1 p.m. start at SAP Center in a loss to the Nashville Predators.

The Sharks are playing their second game in just over 30 hours but, after the sloppy play against Nashville, should come out with a strong effort against the Stars. That strong effort, hopefully, will include an improved performance in the face-off dot. The Predators won an impressive 64% of all draws against San Jose yesterday.

Dallas Stars at San Jose Sharks

SAP Center – 7:00 p.m. PST

Broadcast channels – CSN-CA, FS-SW

Radio: Sharks Radio Network

2016-17 Season Series: 

First Game of the Season Series 

San Jose Sharks – 40-20-7 (87 Points)

Home Record: 21-8-4

Hot Players: Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton

Key Injuries: David Schlemko, Melker Karlsson

Projected Lines:


Jannik Hansen – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski

Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker

Joonas Donskoi – Tomas Hertl – Joel Ward

Marcus Sorensen – Chris Tierney – Micheal Haley


Paul Martin – Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon – Dylan DeMelo

Starting Goaltender:

Aaron Dell

Dallas Stars – 27-30-9 (64 points)

Road Record: 9-18-4 

Hot Players: Jason Spezza, Tyler Seguin

Key Injuries: Mattias Janmark, Antoine Roussel

Projected Lines:


Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Jason Spezza

Remi Elie – Cody Eakin – Ales Hemsky

Devin Shore – Radek Faksa – Patrick Sharp

Curtis McKenzie – Adam Cracknell – Brett Ritchie


Esa Lindell – John Klingberg

Dan Hamhuis – Stephen Johns

Jamie Oleksiak – Patrik Nemeth


Kari Lehtonen (Expected)

Kari Lehtonen
(Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)


Game Notes

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap]Brent Burns is still the Norris Trophy front-runner with 70 points but Erik Karlsson with 63 points is on a late charge to challenge the Sharks defenseman for the award. Burns still leads the NHL in shots on goal with 262 and is the only defender averaging better than a point per game.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap]Speaking of point producing defenders, John Klingberg leads the Stars blue line with 40 points. He has a season-long six-game point streak (three goals, five assists) snapped in the Stars last game against, ironically, the Ottawa Senators.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap]The Stars arrive in San Jose having recorded points in each of its last four games against the Sharks, going 3-0-1 in that span.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap]The Sharks struggling power play ranks 23rd in the NHL but the Stars penalty kill has been terrible, killing off 73.5% of the man-advantages it has faced. On the road that falls to only 71.4%.

(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap]The San Jose Sharks hold a 53-49-5-13 all-time record against the Minnesota Northstars/Dallas Stars. The two clubs are intertwined as a special dispersal draft was held when the Sharks entered the league in 1991.