<
>

Morning skate: Brenden Morrow practices

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars and San Jose Sharks square off Thursday at American Airlines Center. It's a big game in the race for the Pacific Division title and the third seed in the Western Conference playoffs. The Stars have a three-point lead over the Sharks, who have two games in hand.

The Sharks come into tonight's game on a 2-7-2 slide, but they have beaten the Stars in all three meetings this season by a combined score of 14-5.

"We haven't really focused on San Jose other than their pre-scout and what they're doing. We've really isolated ourselves to what we need to do and the way we need to approach games," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. "But facts are facts and we know we haven't beat them. You look at them in the standings and they're battling with everyone else. ... But we're just focused on how we need to play tonight."

Injury notes: Morrow practices

Stars captain Brenden Morrow, who has missed 17 games with neck/back issues, practiced with the team for the first time since going out of the lineup.

"I feel good. Every day is better than the last," said Morrow, who has been skating for more than a week. "It's just a matter of getting up to game speed now."

Morrow won't play tonight, but there's a chance he could play Saturday against Anaheim.

"I would say Brenden is 60-40 to play against Anaheim, if not then he'll be playing against Minnesota (Tuesday)," Gulutzan said.

Jake Dowell, who has missed the last seven games with a broken finger, skated with the team this morning. He's expected to be available to play Saturday.

Steve Ott left this morning's skate early. He hasn't been feeling well, but Gulutzan said Ott is expected to play tonight.

Lineup notes

Kari Lehtonen in goal for the Stars. Antti Niemi was the first goalie off the ice for the Sharks, so it looks like he'll get the nod in net.

Gulutzan said he'll roll out the same forwards and defensemen as the past several games. Here is the projected lineup.

Eriksson-Ribeiro-Ryder

Ott-Benn-Burish

Nystrom-Fiddler-Dvorak

Garbutt-Wandell-Vincour

Souray-Robidas

Fistric-Daley

Goligoski-Larsen

Lehotnen