Stars hope to better playoff chances in home test vs. Sharks

The Dallas Stars try to continue their late-season surge on Saturday night by posting their longest winning streak of the campaign in a meeting with the San Jose Sharks.

Dallas has matched its season-best four-game winning streak first set from Feb. 4-12. It has picked an excellent time to duplicate the run and is in a three-way tie for ninth in the Western Conference with the Phoenix Coyotes and Columbus Blue Jackets with a game in hand. The Stars have also played one fewer game than the eighth-place Detroit Red Wings and trail the club by two points for the final playoff spot.

Dallas' current surge comes after it traded Jaromir Jagr, Brenden Morrow and Derek Roy before last week's deadline. That did open up a roster spot for 22- year-old Alex Chiasson and he has scored five goals in five career games. He notched a pair of tallies in Friday's 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators.

Ray Whitney, Erik Cole and Tom Wandell added goals for the Stars and Richard Bachman made 26 saves in the start with No. 1 Kari Lehtonen out with a lower body injury.

"Every point counts right now and these were a big two points we got here," said Cole. "It's getting to the stretch run now and we have to win as many as we can."

The Sharks hold a six-point edge over ninth place in the West and are fifth overall in the conference thanks to an 8-1-1 surge. They helped the Stars a bit on Thursday by recording a 3-2 shootout win over the Red Wings.

Patrick Marleau opened the game's scoring with an early short-handed goal and had the winner in the shootout, while Logan Couture potted a game-tying marker early in the third.

Antti Niemi made 27 saves through overtime and stopped 2-of-3 in the shootout.

"These points are huge and you never know what's going to happen," Marleau said. "There's still a lot of room for error both ways."

The Stars have won both of their previous meetings with the Sharks this season, including a 3-1 victory at home back on Feb. 23.

San Jose has still won seven of the past 10 encounters overall and will host the season-series finale between these clubs on April 23.