|West Coast Hockey: Dallas at San Jose|
|Written by TheSpread|
|Thursday, 21 December 2006 15:00|
Late Nite NHL: Bettors All Over The Sharks With Stars Modano Sitting Out
With Modano expected to miss at least one more game, the struggling Stars look to bounce back from a rare loss against a Pacific Division rival when they visit the Sharks on Thursday night.
San Jose (24-10-0) and Dallas (21-13-0) have split two meetings this season, with each team winning at home.
Modano scored for the Stars before injuring his hip in a 1-0 win over the Sharks on Dec. 4 in the last game between the teams.
He has missed seven straight games since then, including a 4-1 loss to Anaheim on Wednesday night. Modano did not join Dallas on its three-game road trip, which concludes with this contest.
The Stars were also without forward Jere Lehtinen (flu) against the Ducks, and his status for Thursday's game is uncertain. He has six goals and seven assists in 29 games.
Dallas is 11-2 against Pacific Division opponents, with both defeats coming against frontrunners Dallas and Anaheim. The Stars trail the second-place Sharks by six points in the Pacific Division.
The Stars have also allowed 15 goals while dropping three of their last four games. They held a closed-door meeting following Wednesday's game, and coach Dave Tippett was grim afterward.
``We need more from everybody,'' he said. ``These are real strong barometer games for us. There are some individuals who move up and some who move down. That's the way it is.''
San Jose, meanwhile, has won four its last five games while yielding just six total goals over that stretch. The Sharks, who haven't lost more than two straight games all season, are coming off a five-day break.
``It's good to get rested,'' San Jose center Curtis Brown said. ``We've been able to be around the families. It seems as if we'd been playing non-stop.''
In the Sharks' last game, Joe Thornton scored with 2:13 to play as San Jose rallied for a 4-3 victory over Anaheim on Saturday night.
``All 20 guys played great,'' Thornton said. ``It was such a big game, and even the fans were a part of it. For Game 34 (of the season), it was incredible.''
Thornton has two goals and 10 assists in his last six games. He ranks among the NHL's leaders with 30 assists and has a team-high with 39 points.
Thornton has five goals and 20 assists in 16 home games.
San Jose forward Jonathan Cheechoo scored the tying goal with 7:14 left Saturday, giving him four goals in his last six games.
Sharks center Mark Smith returned from a seven-game absence with an ankle injury to score a power-play goal against the Ducks. Smith's tally was his first in 21 games since Oct. 9.
by: Gary Roberts - theSpread.com - Email Us
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