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Preview: Elimination Looms as Dallas Stars Visit San Jose Sharks

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The Sharks have dominated the season series. The Stars will try to respond tonight on FSSW+ @ 9:30pm CST.

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks, like the Dallas Stars, gave it the old college try- But in all likelihood they will not qualify for the NHL's postseason.

Wait, what?

Yes, like the Stars, the once-mighty Sharks have all but been eliminated.

The Stars will be mathematically ruled out with a loss, an overtime or shootout loss, a shootout win, or any single point gained by either the Winnipeg Jets or Los Angeles Kings in other action this evening, and with such a late start time we (and they) could have a pretty good idea prior to puck drop.

A loss and the Sharks are out. Or a Winnipeg or Los Angeles win.

So this could be a game with nothing on the line outside of making it to the plane before the famed San Jose airport curfew goes into effect.

Or.... OR... If the Jets lose and the Kings lose... A Stars SHOOTOUT win could eliminate both teams. Imagine the headlines. (and do check my math, I could be wrong there)

Despite two power play goals the Sharks fell 5-3 to the Arizona Coyotes Saturday night, faltering like the Stars did in Edmonton after a big run to build some hope. Prior to the weekend San Jose had earned 9 of 10 points against those same Coyotes, the Avalanche, Penguins, Flyers and Red Wings.

Prior to that they went through a stretch where they lost four of five, but the real culprit of the Sharks season will be the month of February where they lost a disastrous 10 of 13, including two to Calgary and one to Los Angeles.

They last failed to make the playoffs in 2002-2003.

I'll spare you the statistical analysis ordinarily offered in this space before these games. The Sharks aren't happy with their penalty kill lately. They're battling consistency issues despite a roster full of talent- Kind of like another team we know.

Expect it to be fairly high-event (shot attempts). The Sharks are fourth in the NHL in shots per game and poured 45 on the Coyotes Saturday, and 37 the game before that.

San Jose has defeated Dallas in both games this season by a combined score of 10-5, scoring five goals in each contest on 29 and 28 shots.

Their lineup:

Pavelski-Thornton-Karlsson
Marleau-Couture-Hertl
Nieto-Tierney-Wingels
Brown-Smith-Goodrow

Irwin-Burns
Dillon-Braun
Stollery-Fedun

Antti Niemi
Alex Stalock

NHL.com reports that "defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic likely will miss a second consecutive game because of a lower-body injury."

The Stars you know about and there won't be much change until mathematical elimination- And probably not much after that as the Texas Stars need bodies for their own playoff push. The items of intrigue continue to be watching Valeri Nichushkin's progress in his return from injury, and who will start in goal.

On that subject you have to believe it will be Enroth again. But we'll see.

Keep it plugged in to Defending Big D here on the site and on Twitter for the latest.

From Stars PR:

"YOU'RE GONNA NEED A BIGGER BOAT"
The Stars head to San Jose on Monday to square off against the Sharks in the third and final game between the two teams this season. Dallas is 0-2-0 against the Sharks so far in 2014-15, but come into Monday's tilt having earned points three of the last four games at SAP Center (1-1-2). Defenseman Trevor Daley recorded two points (1-1=2) in the last game against San Jose and enters Monday's contest having tallied points in three of his last four games against them (2-2=4). Daley has earned 13 career points (4-9=13) in a team-high 56 games against the Sharks, five (2-3=5) of which have come in his last six games against them.

ROAD WARRIORS
Monday's contest in San Jose marks the second of a three-game road trip for Dallas, who kicked off the trip with a 4-3 overtime win in Nashville on Saturday. The Stars have now posted back-to-back overtime wins on the road and have earned wins in six of their last seven games away from home. Dallas has gone 21-for-23 (91.3%) on the penalty kill and 7-for-26 (26.9%) on the power play over its last seven road contests, while the club currently ranks fourth in the NHL with a road power play percentage of 22.5% (27-for-120). Stars captain Jamie Benn currently shares seventh in the League with 37 points (16-21=37) on the road, while forward Tyler Seguin is tied for seventh with 17 road goals this season.