Series (Game 6 of 6)

Series tied 3-3

Game 1: Thursday, November 18th
Game 2: Monday, December 13th
Game 3: Thursday, December 16th
Game 4: Saturday, March 5th
Game 5: Tuesday, March 15th
Game 6: Thursday, March 31st

Stars 0

(38-27-11, 87 pts)

Sharks 6

(45-23-9, 99 pts)

10:30 PM ET, March 31, 2011

SAP Center, San Jose, California

1 2 3 T
DAL 0 0 00
SJ 1 2 36

P. Marleau (Sharks - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

A. Niemi (Sharks - G): Saves: 29, Save Pct.: 1.000

B. Eager (Sharks - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Stars-Sharks Preview


The San Jose Sharks created some additional separation in the tight Pacific Division race in their last game while continuing to threaten for the second seed in the Western Conference.

However, their next division rival has given them some trouble this season.

The Sharks will face off against the struggling Dallas Stars for the third time this month Thursday night at HP Pavilion.

San Jose (44-23-9) continues to challenge Detroit for the second seed in the West and gave itself more room in the division race after defeating Phoenix 4-1 on Saturday.

The Sharks are two points ahead of the second-place Coyotes, who have played two additional games. Third-place Los Angeles is three points back.

Saturday was the third time in four games San Jose scored at least four goals. While leading scorer Patrick Marleau had a six-game point streak snapped, Logan Couture scored twice while adding an assist. Couture has a franchise rookie record 30 goals.

"Logan has been a catalyst, and at times, carried this team," coach Todd McLellan said. "He has given contributions from everywhere, from scoring, to winning faceoffs and penalty killing. For Logan to reach 30 goals is a great reward for a heck of a good season to this point."

The Sharks improved to 8-2-3 in March, with one of those regulation losses coming to the Stars. Dallas won 3-2 in San Jose on March 5 before the Sharks picked up a 6-3 victory 10 days later in Dallas.

The Stars are 3-1-1 against San Jose this season. Three games have ended after regulation and four were decided by one goal.

As the Sharks move closer toward a playoff spot, the Stars (38-26-11) are trying to get back into the postseason picture after going 1-3-3 in their last seven to drop three points behind Chicago for the final playoff berth.

They suffered a 2-1 shootout loss to Phoenix on Tuesday -- their fourth straight defeat -- despite outshooting the Coyotes 45-27. Jamie Benn scored on the power play late in the second period to tie it, and he scored Dallas' only goal of the shootout.

"We deserved to win tonight and we didn't get it," coach Marc Crawford said. "I told the guys after the game, 'You have efforts like that you're going to win probably 98 percent of the games.'"

Despite being more aggressive, the Stars were still held to fewer than three goals for the fourth time in six games. Brad Richards, second on the team with 25 goals, hasn't scored during that span.

Making things even more difficult for Dallas is that it plays five of its final seven on the road, including matchups with the Kings and Anaheim on this five-game road trip.

Benn, who has nine goals and 16 points in 13 games this month, has been key to the Stars' success against the Sharks with three goals and four assists in the five matchups.