The NHL is host to nine games on Thursday night. One of the games will be between Western Conference opponents in the San Jose Sharks and Dallas Stars. These two teams have both had solid starts to the new season and will look to build off of it on Thursday night.
The Sharks have started out the season with a record of 8-4-3. San Jose made some big moves in the offseason and they seem to have paid off as they are currently tied for first place in the Pacific Division. The Sharks have won their last two games and will look to make it three in a row with a road win.
Dallas has gone 8-6-1 to begin the new season. The Stars are currently sitting in third place of the Central Division. Dallas has put together a strong start to the season, but will need to keep it up if they want to compete in a tough Central Division. The Stars have lost two straight games, which is something they are looking to turn around quickly.
San Jose and Dallas will meet for the first time this season on Thursday night. The Stars and Sharks will meet two more times in December. Both teams will look to get the leg up on the other in the season series. I believe that this should be a good game to watch.
Last Season’s Matchups
The Sharks and Stars met three times last season. The first game was held in Dallas and the Stars dominated the game. Radek Faksa had three points in the win. Tyler Pitlick scored twice and Jamie Benn, Mattias Janmark and John Klingberg all had two points as well. Ben Bishop posted a 26 save shutout in route to a 6-0 win for the Stars.
The second game of the season series shifted back to San Jose. Joe Pavelski had a goal and two assists for San Jose. Mikkel Boedker added another two goals, while Justin Braun and Melker Karlsson each had a goal and an assist. Martin Jones had 26 saves as the Sharks took the second game 5-2.
The Sharks hosted the third and final game of the season series. San Jose jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first period. Brent Burns had two points, but the Stars bounced back with four unanswered goals. Jamie Benn had three goals to end the night with a hat-trick. Dallas finished with a 4-2 win.
Dallas was able to take the season series last season 2-1. The Stars took the only game they hosted and were able to split the two games in San Jose. The Sharks got the last laugh though, as they grabbed a playoff spot, while Dallas was on the outside looking in. The Stars could use some confidence from a big one like against the Sharks.
The Sharks special teams have jumped out to a solid start this season. San Jose’s power play is operating at a percentage of 21.28 percent. The Sharks penalty kill has been even better. San Jose has killed off 87 percent of their opponent’s power plays. San Jose will get a tough test against the Stars power play.
Dallas’ power play has been scoring at a rate of 24 percent, which is near the top of the NHL. The Stars have a solid penalty kill as well. They have been able to stop their opponent’s 80 percent of the time. Both of these teams will look to have the better game on special teams.
I believe that the Stars power play against the Sharks penalty kill will be the matchup to watch on Thursday night. San Jose’s defense is really strong and makes up the identity of this team. I believe that they will put up a tough fight against the Stars lethal top line.
The Sharks have not been hit hard with the injury bug to begin the season. San Jose could be without Tomas Hertl against Dallas. Hertl is fourth on the team in points with 14 to begin the season. His absence would hurt.
Dallas has had to deal with quite a few injuries to begin the new season. The Stars are currently without Connor Carrick, Martin Hanzal, and Alexander Radulov. Dallas could be without Stephen Johns, Marc Methot, and Brett Ritchie as well against San Jose.
I expect Martin Jones to get the start in net on Thursday night. Jones has a record of 7-3-1 in his starts. While his record is solid, he has not posted the best numbers. Jones has a save percentage of .899 and a 2.72 GAA. His numbers could improve, but overall, he has gotten the job done for San Jose.
Ben Bishop will likely start in net for Dallas. Bishop has gone 6-5 in his 11 starts this season. He has posted a .921 save percentage and a GAA of 2.40. Bishop’s numbers have been really solid, but he has not posted the best record. The Stars will need to give him some support on Thursday night if they want to get the win.
Dallas will host the Sharks on Thursday night with hopes of ending their two-game losing streak. I believe the Stars can compete with the red-hot Sharks. San Jose has a really tough defense, but Dallas’ offense could find a way to break out.
BetOnline has San Jose listed as a -120 money line. This money line implies that the Sharks will win this game about 55 percent of the time. I believe that Dallas should be favored in this game. The Stars have home ice advantage and have the same number of wins as the Sharks. This gives a lot of value to Dallas. I am taking the home underdog.