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Gameday preview: Dallas Stars @ San Jose Sharks (3:00p CST)

There's not much else that needs to be said. The Stars are at the point now where any loss is going devastate whatever chance they have of making the playoffs. This team has spent a grueling season dealing with distractions, injuries, and exhaustion. The stress of having to treat every game as a playoff game the past three months has clearly worn the team out, both mentally and physically. It seems at this point that they although they try their damndest each game, at this point it's just not good enough.

Yet help may be on the way.


The Stars are a woeful 5-9-1 since February 16th. Since then, the Stars have fallen from 6th in the conference to barely hanging on to the 11th spot with just eleven games remaining. That's the date that Brad Richards broke his wrist against the Columbus Blue Jackets and whatever small small thread was holding this team together came unraveled in his absence.

With Richards possible return coming tonight against the Sharks, we begin to see what his addition to the team can do to a team struggling to find balance. With Richards able to slide in as the second line center, Dave Tippett is able to put players back into positions and roles they are much more comfortable in. Mike Modano is back on a line with James Neal and Chris Conner, a combination that had Modano playing the best hockey of the past few years earlier in the season. Jere Lehtinen slides up on the top line with Steve Ott and Mike Ribeiro. Loui Eriksson has the chance to be reunited with the center that made him into one of the most dangerous scorers in the NHL.

What was once a haphazard roster where Tippett was plugging whoever was healthy into a spot that was open has now evolved into what could be a solid lineup once again.

Now we just have to test it out against the Sharks.

Key Injuries:

Dallas: C Brad Richards (wrist) is questionable. C Brian Sutherby (lower body) and C Steve Begin (upper body) are doubtful. C Toby Petersen (foot), LW Brenden Morrow (knee) and D Sergei Zubov (hip) are out.

San Jose: LW Ryane Clowe (lower body), C Torrey Mitchell (lower body), RW Mike Grier (knee), RW Claude Lemieux (jaw), C Jeremy Roenick (shoulder) and D Kent Huskins (foot) are out.