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Inconsistent Stars begin road trip in San Jose

The Dallas Stars seemed to be on track following their game losing streak last month, but have reverted back to their losing game road trip in San Jose on a positive note.

The Stars will also take on the Kings, Rangers, Islanders and Devils on the road trip and are 6-6-0 away from Big D this season. They had won two in a row and four of six games (4-1-1) before suffering a 5-4 loss versus the Isles on Saturday, as New York forward Matt Moulson struck for four goals.

Jake Dowell, Tom Wandell, Eric Nystrom and Tomas Vincour all scored for Dallas, which got 22 saves from Andrew Raycroft. The Stars are two points behind Phoenix for the Pacific Division lead.

"We made a lot of mistakes, especially at the blue lines, and it cost us goals," Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan said.

Nystrom has five goals in the last five outings and seven points (5 g, 2a) in the last seven games, while Raycroft made his third straight start with regular Kari Lehtonen recovering from a groin injury. In other injury news, Stars defensemen Trevor Daley (back) and Alex Goligoski (thumb) are expected to return during this 10-day trek and team captain Brenden Morrow (multiple injuries) is also expecting to come back. Daley and Morrow hope to hit the ice Thursday in San Jose.

"Yeah, we're getting closer obviously. [Daley] will be a player for us come Thursday for sure. So will [Morrow]," Gulutzan said on the team's site. "That will be two guys back for sure. [Goligoski] is very close for us too with his playing cast and stuff. We're getting there. If we can get through another week here with no injuries, we'll be getting pretty close to healthy."

Stars defenseman Mark Fistric was suspended three games for a hit on the Isles' Nino Niederreiter during Saturday's 5-4 loss.

The Sharks will close out a four-game homestand Thursday and are 1-2-0 on the residency. They have lost two in a row and four of their last five games, and are coming off Tuesday's 2-1 loss at the hands of the Minnesota Wild.

All three goals were scored during the first period, as Joe Pavelski registered the lone tally for San Jose and Antti Niemi made 19 saves. Pavelski owns three goals in his previous 12 games after scoring nine in the first 12 contests.

"There are still things we need to work on and get better at, but our overall game is improving," Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said.

San Jose is just 1-8 when trailing after two periods, so it's important for the club to get going early on. After tonight's home tilt with Dallas, the Sharks will hit the road for three games at St. Louis, Chicago and Colorado.

The Sharks are 7-6-1 at home and four points behind the Coyotes for bragging rights in the Pacific standings. Defenseman Douglas Murray (hand) is questionable for Thursday's game.

Dallas and San Jose are playing the second of six meetings this season, and the Sharks took the first one by a 4-1 score on Nov. 19 in the Lone Star State. Niemi had 30 saves, while Brent Burns and Logan Couture scored power play goals for San Jose, which has won the last three games in this series.

These two teams have split the last 10 meetings at San Jose.