San Jose Looks To Finish Road Trip On A High Note: Game Preview


Feb 22, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; San Jose Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle (22) skates with the puck against the Chicago Blackhawks during the third period at the United Center. The Blackhawks beat the Sharks 2-1. The Blackhawks set an NHL record for scoring at least one point in 17 consecutive games to open a season. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

After a disappointing loss last night to the Blackhawks, the San Jose Sharks (8-5-3) play the final game of their six-game road trip against the Dallas Stars (8-8-1) for the first time this season.

Dallas has been on a bit of a downward slope lately having lost three of their last four games including a loss in their most recent game against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday by the score of 4-3.  They currently sit two points behind the Sharks in the Pacific Division in fourth place with 17 points, and have played one more game than San Jose.

The Stars are led by 23 year-old Jamie Benn and the 41 year-old ageless wonder Jaromir Jagr who each have 11 points. Benn has five goals and six assists while Jagr has four goals and seven assists.  Right behind them is winger Michael Ryder who so far this season has five goals and five assists for 10 total points.

And for those wondering how long Jagr has been in the league (20 seasons), here is a photo from some fans at a recent Dallas Stars game in Calgary where the fans pay tribute to him by wearing all the jerseys he has ever worn, full mullets and all.

Meanwhile for the Sharks, they continue to struggle in the scoring department.  Patrick Marleau has gone absolutely ice-cold, along with Joe Thornton, since that seven-game win streak to start the season.  In fact, Marleau has only registered two goals and one assists in those last nine games.  Thornton has only posted two assists in that span as well.

While it would be one thing if at least the rest of the team was scoring, but of course they are not, so the blame will go to the guys who are considered the team’s superstars and make the most money.  And as well it should.  Sure, the rest of the team has to score as well, including Pavelski, Couture, and Clowe, but Marleau and Thornton will bear the brunt of the accusations.  They need to pick up their games and the know it, but it is to be seen whether that happens or not.  As of right now, it is not looking too good.

The battle between the pipes will most likely be between San Jose’s Thomas Greiss and Dallas’  Kari Lehtonen who has played well this season posting a 7-2-1 record including a 2.12 goals against average and a .934 save percentage.

Thomas Greiss had a rough outting in his last game allowing six goals to the Blue Jackets.  So far this season he has a 1-2-0 record including a 2.69 goals against average and a .913 save percentage.

Of course, McClellan could choose to go with Niemi again because he is the hot hand and he has had only a few games in between the last few games, but my guess is he goes with Greiss on the latter-half of a back-to-back to keep his top goaltender fresh.

The Sharks face another tough road game against a divional opponent and rival, and will be bringing it all to end the bad road-trip on somewhat of a good note.  I expect them to bring their ‘A’ game and I’m sure they do too.  With San Jose’s scoring woes, I still think they can pull this one out, although it will be another low scoring affair with Greiss bouncing back from his most recent start and playing a great game.