From today's gameday preview:
The Dallas Stars can afford to lose tonight in San Jose. They can afford to come home empty handed. They can.
IF the Detroit Red Wings lose a game between now and Saturday, AND the Blue Jackets lose to the Milwaukee Admirals Nashville Predators on the season's final night, that is.
If, on the other hand, the plausibility of those two outcomes resulting concurrently as the week unfolds seems to Glen Gulutzan and his bunch unlikely, then this game tonight against the Sharks is for all of the proverbial marbles. Every single last one.
A regulation or overtime loss would be best but the shootout would do. The two points are the important part now, and they have to battle yet another big, physical team capable of shutting opponents down (like Los Angeles, like St. Louis), not to mention a crowd at The Tank that would love for nothing more than to end the Stars season in this, the final Pacific Division battle at HP Pavilion.
The good news is that the Stars have had good fortune, despite being largely out-possessed, against San Jose this year in winning the first three games between the two teams. The bad news is that it's very difficult to sweep a division opponent in the National Hockey League, especially in this one. Dallas hasn't swept the Sharks since Marty Turco's record-setting season of 2002-2003.
San Jose enters with the 4th, 5th and 6th seeds still in play for their destiny this spring, two points behind the Los Angeles Kings for home ice advantage and with more than one reason to push hard tonight.
Dallas' exploits on NBC Sports Network this year have included losses at Nashville and Chicago as well as a win in Colorado. The game should be available on FSSW+ locally.