San Jose (47-19-10) at Dallas (33-29-14)

Cloudy Currently: Dallas, TX
Temp: 40° F
  • Game info: 8:30 pm EDT Wed Mar 31, 2010
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As the San Jose Sharks try to nail down the top seed in the Western Conference, they would like to have their leading scorer available for the start of a four-game trip.

It’s unclear whether Joe Thornton(notes) will be back for the Sharks when they try to stretch their win streak to five Wednesday night against the Dallas Stars.

Thornton, who leads the team with 66 assists and 85 points, sat out a 4-3 win over Colorado on Sunday after leaving Saturday’s 4-2 victory over Vancouver with a lower-body injury. Thornton had played in 398 consecutive games and had not missed one since Oct. 18, 2005.

“It’s day to day,” coach Todd McLellan said. “He’ll continue to get treatments.”

Devin Setoguchi(notes) scored twice and backup Thomas Greiss(notes) made 42 saves Sunday as the Sharks overcame Thornton’s absence. Setoguchi had failed to score in his previous six games.

“Everyone had to step up. Joe has played every game since he’s been here,” Setoguchi said. “It’s a change we have to adjust to. But we have a pretty deep team up front with our forwards and we were able to get some offense with him out of the lineup.”

San Jose (47-19-10) is ahead of Phoenix and Chicago in the race for the best record in the West, thanks to a four-game win streak that has followed an 0-5-1 stretch.

Thornton has four assists in five games against Dallas (33-29-14) this season.

Evgeni Nabokov(notes) is expected to return for his third start this month against the Stars, having had vastly different results in the first two. He allowed four goals on 17 shots before being replaced by Greiss in an 8-2 road loss March 16, then recorded his third shutout and 50th of his career with 27 saves in a 3-0 victory Thursday.

Nabokov had gone 8-0-0 with a 1.43 GAA in his last nine starts in Dallas before the loss earlier this month, and the eight goals allowed are San Jose’s season high.

Mike Ribeiro(notes) had two goals and two assists in that victory for the Stars, but the 10-year veteran was benched for a 3-1 loss at Anaheim on Monday for missing a team meeting.

Ribeiro is fourth on the team with 50 points. The Stars have not announced whether he will play Wednesday.

“We knew we were going to be short-handed, but we felt it was the important and right thing to do long-term,” coach Marc Crawford said. “You have to have people that trust and do the things that they need to do - in any business. Sometimes you don’t get the benefit right away. Usually your guys dig in, and they did.”

Loui Eriksson(notes), with eight points in his last eight games, scored the Stars’ lone goal after they fell behind 3-0 in the second period.

“It’s tough to get down that early in the game and have to try to claw back,” center Brad Richards(notes) said. “The game was lost early because of the hole we put ourselves in.”

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Wednesday, Mar 31