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Dallas Stars Vs. San Jose Sharks: Stars Look To Cool Off Surging Sharks

(Sports Network) - The surging San Jose Sharks will try for a ninth consecutive victory when they welcome the Dallas Stars for a Pacific Division battle at HP Pavilion.

Thanks to a current eight-game winning streak and a 17-2-1 record over its last 20 outings, San Jose has taken over first place in the Pacific Division and is also the third seed in the Western Conference.

With 82 points, the Sharks are currently six ahead of Los Angeles and Phoenix for the top spot in the division. San Jose is also seven points in front of fourth-place Dallas.

Dallas has taken two of three from the Sharks this season, but San Jose claimed an overtime victory the last time the clubs met on Dec. 16 in Texas, The Stars have won six of nine overall in the series and have taken three of the last four encounters in California.

The last two wins on the Sharks' winning streak came at HP Pavilion and San Jose has four tilts left on its six-game homestand. The Sharks, who are 17-10-3 on friendly ice this year, have won seven straight as the host since a home loss to Edmonton on Jan. 13.

Dany Heatley scored twice to help lift the Sharks to Thursday's 3-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings, who are currently just three points ahead of San Jose for the West's second seed..

Patrick Marleau added an insurance goal in the third period for the Sharks, while Antti Niemi surrendered the one goal on 27 shots.

"We're satisfied right now," Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said of the win. "[Detroit] is a measuring tool, so it's gratifying getting the points."

San Jose last won eight straight from Dec. 17-Jan. 2 of last season and the Sharks haven't claimed nine victories in a row since Nov. 13-Dec. 4, 2008.

The Sharks have played the last three games without star defenseman Dan Boyle and the veteran blueliner is questionable again with an upper-body injury. Boyle is leading all San Jose defensemen in goals (6) an assists (31) this season.

The Stars are coming off a crushing overtime loss on Friday night, as Lubomir Visnovsky completed a hat trick for Anaheim with just 3.8 seconds left in the extra session, leading the Ducks to the 4-3 home win at Honda Center.

In the extra session, Ryan Getzlaf, who finished the game with three assists, drew a left circle faceoff back to Visnovsky. The blueliner then took a stride to the high slot before unleashing a bomb into the back of the net for the win.

Dallas held a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes, but Visnovsky and Teemu Selanne scored third-period goals to help the Ducks draw even and send the game to OT.

Jamie Benn, Adam Burish, and Loui Eriksson all scored for the Stars, while Kari Lehtonen made 25 saves in the loss.

"It's always tough to lose a game like that," said Eriksson. "We were up 3-1 going into the third period and they tied it up there at the end. It is always a bad feeling when you lose, especially when you lose like this. Every point is so big right now, like you see in the conference."

Dallas had a three-game winning streak halted on Friday and also lost for the sixth time in nine contests. Tonight marks the third stop on a four-game road trip for the Stars, who are 16-14-2 as the guest this season.

Stars defenseman Nicklas Grossman has missed the last eight games with a hip injury is questionable for tonight's tilt.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.