Sharks, Stars set for first assembly of season

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DALLAS — At one time, the San Jose Sharks and Dallas Stars saw plenty of one another as Pacific Division rivals.

However, when the Sharks and Stars meet Thursday at American Airlines Center, it will mark their first meeting this season.

San Jose (8-4-3, 19 points) defeated Minnesota 4-3 on Tuesday, getting three goals and three assists from its new third line of Barclay Goodrow, Marcus Sorenson and Joe Thornton.

Sorenson paced the Sharks, who are 6-2-2 over their past 10 games and 4-2-2 on the road, with a goal and two assists.

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“I think all the guys got going tonight (Tuesday),” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said postgame. “Antti (Soumela) got us a goal, (Goodson) got us a goal and Sorenson got us a goal. We need some depth scoring. We need to take some pressure off (Logan) Couture’s line.”

The Sharks allow 3.3 goals per game, 10th best in the NHL, and have the league’s third-best penalty kill at 86.5 percent.

But DeBoer still saw several things to clean up from the win against the Wild.

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“Yeah, I thought they got too many pucks to the net like the two goals in the third. I thought we could do a better job blocking shots,” DeBoer said. “We’re a little short right now and we’re banged up a little bit, but we found a way to get two big points.”

Dallas (8-6-1, 17 points), on the other hand, just went 3-2-1, collecting seven of 12 points, during a season-long six-game road trip through the Eastern Conference.

The Stars concluded that junket Tuesday with a 4-1 loss at Columbus on the second night of a back-to-back.

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But rookie coach Jim Montgomery sees numerous positives from that trip.

“The results were pretty good for us and the other thing is I felt we came together,” Montgomery said after the loss in Columbus. “I felt we worked for each other and that we became a little tougher to play against.”

The Stars are 5-2-0 at home and are allowing 2.7 goals per game, fifth-lowest in the NHL. Dallas also has the league’s 11th-best power play, converting 24.4 percent of its opportunities.

On Thursday, Dallas begins a four-game homestand, a run of home contests that will also see Nashville, Columbus and Boston visit the Lone Star State over the next eight days.

And Montgomery speaks for his team when he says how ecstatic he is to return home, especially after such a successful road trip.

“Going home, get in your own beds again, that comfort level, being in Dallas and playing in front of our fans, I think that’s going to help us bring our energy back,” Montgomery said. “We’re also hoping to get some healthy bodies back.”

Those healthy bodies could include defenseman Marc Methot (lower body), who has been day-to-day, and forwards Alexander Radulov (lower body), who has played one of the past nine games, and Brett Ritchie (illness), sidelined the last two games.

All three players could return to the ice Thursday.

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