Snapping their longest losing streak in almost two years gave the San Jose Sharks a share of the Pacific Division lead. The Dallas Stars are trying to tighten up the division race by continuing their strong play at home.
The Sharks go for their eighth win in nine games at Dallas on Monday night.
San Jose (20-8-7) ended a five-game slide with a 4-1 victory over Anaheim on Thursday. The Sharks, who had not gone winless for that long since Feb. 12-20, 2008, moved into a tie with Los Angeles atop the division.
San Jose won the Pacific the last two seasons, taking it by 26 points in 2008-09 to capture its first Presidents’ Trophy.
“We got back to doing a lot of things we need to do to get back to winning,” said center Patrick Marleau(notes), who had a goal and two assists against the Ducks. “We were pretty well rested and it was nice to win a division game.”
The Sharks dropped both matchups with the Stars (15-9-11) this season in shootouts - each coming at HP Pavilion, where they fell 3-2 to Dallas on Dec. 11.
The Sharks, though, have won three straight and seven of their last eight visits to the American Airlines Center.
“We played well in there in a couple of victories against them, and they’re right near the top of the league,” Stars coach Marc Crawford told the team’s official Web site. “We’re going to have to pay special attention to their special people.”
The Stars are playing much better at home, going 5-0-2 there after a 3-3-3 start. That success has helped them move into fourth place in the Pacific, three points behind third-place Phoenix and six back of the Kings and Sharks.
“It’s a big win. I hope now we can try to play the same way we played (Saturday),” Skrastins said. “A good team works hard, sticks together and plays all 60 minutes, which is the most important thing. Every game is very important.”
Neal is looking to build on his two-goal performance that came after he scored three times in the previous 13 games. Despite that slump, he leads Dallas with 16 goals after scoring 24 as a rookie last season.
Neal has four goals in seven games against San Jose.
The Sharks’ Devin Setoguchi(notes) had a goal and an assist Thursday as he ended a 10-game point drought. The right wing has nine goals and three assists after recording career highs of 31 and 34 last season.
“It’s only a matter of time before a goal scorer will start scoring,” said center Joe Thornton(notes), who had one of his two goals assisted on by Setoguchi in the first period before returning the favor in the third.
Setoguchi has four goals and two assists in six games at Dallas.