Tonight the San Jose Sharks will take on the Dallas Stars as the boys in teal play their second-consecutive road contest for the first time in the 2013-14 NHL season. The Sharks will be vying to start the regular season 7-0 for the second consecutive year. Doing so would give them a four-point cushion atop the Pacific Division, as the 5-1 Anaheim Ducks are idle until Friday evening.
Let’s get to know the Stars.
Game Number: 7
Opponent: Dallas Stars
Opponent Record (Last 10): 2-3-0 (Two game losing streak)
Offense: Lukewarm (Three goals in last two games, four goals in the game before those)
Defense: Cold (Seven goals allowed over last two games)
Power Play: Hot (23.5% conversion rate—10th in the NHL)
Penalty Kill: Cold (79%—20th in the NHL)
Players to Watch
The Stars are still really a team that is in rebuild-on-the-fly mode. They made a lot of positive moves over the summer and improved their center depth vastly, but this is a squad that is still a few players away from truly contending for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
That doesn’t mean they aren’t icing a fair share of talent though. The prize acquisition for Dallas over the summer was, of course, Tyler Seguin. He was jettisoned from the Boston Bruins for being and acting like a 20 year-old, but received a fresh start with the Stars. The results have been solid so far.
He has seven points on the season, but four of them came in a wild contest against the Winnipeg Jets. No one is stripping Tomas Hertl of his accolades because four of his goals came in one game though, so maybe we’re being too tough on Seguin. Regardless, he’s one to watch tonight. His hands are phenomenal and his speed is incendiary.
Seguin’s linemate is Jamie Benn, who Dallas has been building around for a few seasons now. He’s a bruising forward along the same lines as David Backes, but Sharks fans are already plenty familiar with him.
That clip still gives chills. What a great, tough hockey fight.
Dallas also rosters some strong veterans, including Sergei Gonchar, Erik Cole and Shawn Horcoff.
Usually the Stars would be icing Kari Lehtonen against the Sharks, but (surprise! except not really) he’s injured and considered day-to-day. In his absence stands the duo of Dan Ellis and Jack Campbell. San Jose doesn’t need to fear Campbell for at least another season, and it’s probable that Ellis will get the start this evening.
While he’s not a household name, Ellis is a battler and is capable of making some big saves. He hasn’t faced an offense like that of the Sharks though, and he could be in for a rough evening if San Jose gets rolling.
The probable starter for the Sharks is Antti Niemi, who is the league-leader in wins and has stellar numbers so far this year. He hasn’t needed to steal a game yet, but he’s playing like he could.
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