Dallas (29-26-7) at San Jose (42-10-9)

Cloudy Currently: San Jose, CA
Temp: 56° F
  • Game info: 10:30 pm EST Tue Mar 3, 2009
  • TV: FSSW, CSBA
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Dallas Stars are probably eager to get back on the road after a frustrating homestand, but starting a three-game trip against the Western Conference-leading San Jose Sharks might not help their punchless offense.

The Stars hope to avoid losing six straight for the first time in more than 13 years on Tuesday night while seeking their first win in five meetings this season against the Sharks.

Dallas (29-26-7) dropped to 0-4-0 this season against San Jose (42-10-9) with a 1-0 loss on Feb. 23 as part of a 1-5-0 homestand.

That was the second of five straight losses for the Stars, who were outscored 15-6 during that skid, including a 4-1 defeat to Pittsburgh on Sunday.

Backup Tobias Stephan, who ended Marty Turco’s streak of 32 consecutive starts, allowed the game’s first four goals before Loui Eriksson scored his team-leading 28th goal in the third period.

Turco has been in net for all four losses this season against the Sharks, posting a 2.76 goals-against average.

The Stars haven’t lost six straight since Dec. 5-15, 1995 - the franchise’s longest losing streak since moving to Dallas in 1993.

“Nobody’s feeling sorry for us,” defenseman Stephane Robidas said. “Nobody’s going to give us a game. It’s a big trip coming up. We’re in a tough spot right now.”

The slide has dropped the Stars into tie for 10th place in the West with 65 points - two behind co-seventh-place teams Edmonton and Anaheim. Dallas, which hasn’t missed the postseason since 2002, also faces Los Angeles and Anaheim during this trip.

Part of Dallas’ offensive woes can be attributed to a power play that went 2-for-23 (8.7 percent) on the final five games of the homestand after going 13-for-23 (25.0 percent) during a 10-3-0 stretch from Jan 21-Feb. 19.

It figures to be difficult for the Stars to break out of their offensive funk if San Jose goaltender Evgeni Nabokov returns. Nabokov could be back after missing Saturday’s 3-2 loss at Montreal with the flu.

“Nabby is feeling a little better,” coach Todd McLellan told the Sharks’ official Web site. “The energy level is good. We’ll see how he is in the morning.”

Nabokov, second in the NHL with 32 wins, is 3-0-0 with one shutout and a 1.00 goals-against average against the Stars this season. Brian Boucher, meanwhile, made 23 saves in a 2-1 win over visiting Dallas on Nov. 8.

The Sharks are looking to bounce back after splitting a four-game road trip that left them tied with Boston for the league’s best record and three points ahead of Detroit in the race for the top seed in the West.

Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton scored goals in Saturday’s loss for San Jose, which was unable to get the equalizer despite outshooting Montreal 34-11 over the final two periods.

“We thought we were going to get that third one,” Pavelski said. “It didn’t happen in the second, we thought in the third period for sure. We played right until the end. We would have liked to put a stronger push in that last minute but we didn’t get it.”

The Sharks are a league-best 26-2-3 this season at home, where they have won three straight.

Left wing Ryane Clowe has one goal and five assists against Dallas this season while defenseman Dan Boyle has three goals and an assist.

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Tuesday, Mar 3