The Dallas Stars will try to get their playoff push back on track and avoid a third straight loss when they visit the San Jose Sharks in Tuesday's Western Conference showdown at HP Pavilion.
The Stars enter Tuesday 10th in the West and three points out of a playoff spot with three games left. Dallas aided its playoff chances during a five- game win streak from April 5-13, but the club has dropped three of four since and is running out of time to prove itself postseason worthy.
Dallas is three points behind both Minnesota and Columbus for the last two playoff spots in the West and Detroit is also one point ahead of the Stars in ninth place. The Wild play Tuesday against Los Angeles, while both Detroit and Columbus are idle. All of those teams have three games left, except the Blue Jackets, who have only two.
The Stars have missed four straight postseasons since making it to the conference finals in the spring of 2008.
Dallas fell to 0-1-1 on a three-game road trip after Sunday's 4-3 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings. The Stars trailed 2-0 at one point before rallying to go ahead 3-2 less than a minute into the third period. However, Dustin Brown would tie the game for L.A. a few minutes later and Jeff Carter scored with 51.4 seconds left in OT to give the Kings two points.
Alex Goligoski had a goal and an assist for the Stars, while Antoine Roussel and Loui Eriksson also scored. Kari Lehtonen stopped 27-of-31 shots in defeat.
"Our work ethic was there as it has been for a while now so it's always good to see," Goligoski said. "Points are huge right now and battle back a little bit to get one point but we kind of let it slip right there, but we just got to move on and if we win these next three, we feel like we have a pretty good shot here."
The Stars are 11-10-2 as the road team this year. They will close the regular season with two straight home tests against Columbus and Detroit.
San Jose, meanwhile, needs just one point in Tuesday's game to secure its ninth straight trip to the playoffs. The Sharks are seeded fifth in the West and trail Los Angeles by two points. Both San Jose and the Kings, who are playing Tuesday in Minnesota, have three games left in the regular season.
The Sharks also are just one point ahead of sixth-seeded St. Louis, which plays Tuesday against visiting Colorado. The Blues also have three games remaining.
San Jose had won three in a row before dropping a 4-3 regulation decision Sunday against visiting Columbus. Ryan Johansen broke a 3-3 tie for the Blue Jackets with 1:37 left in regulation to deny the Sharks the point they needed to lock up a postseason spot.
Andrew Desjardins and Joe Pavelski scored to erase a two-goal, third-period deficit for the Sharks. Martin Havlat scored, while Antti Niemi made only 18 saves for San Jose.
"It's our game that will get us there or won't get us there. Forget about the clinch part," San Jose head coach Todd McLellan said.
San Jose is wrapping a four-game homestand tonight and has a superb 16-2-5 record at the Shark Tank this season. The club will complete its regular season with two straight on the road against Phoenix and L.A.
Dallas is 3-0 against the Sharks this season, but San Jose had won seven of eight in this series before the 2012-13 campaign. The Stars had lost four straight in San Jose before recording a 5-4 shootout win on April 7. Rookie Alex Chiasson had two goals for Dallas in that win, but is currently sidelined with a shoulder injury.