Skidding Stars host Sharks

The Dallas Stars will try to stop their recent free-fall tonight, as they host the surging San Jose Sharks in tonight's Pacific Division battle at American Airlines Center.

Dallas had surprised many folks by jumping out to an 11-3-0 record to start the season, but the Stars have lost four straight and have been outscored by a 17-3 margin during that skid.

The Stars were shut out for the second consecutive game on Friday, as the Colorado Avalanche notched a 3-0 victory in Denver. Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped all 24 shots he faced to record his first shutout since the 2009-10 season.

Kari Lehtonen made 42 saves for the Stars, who have gone 147 minutes, 49 seconds since captain Brenden Morrow scored the club's last goal on Nov. 12 against Detroit.

"We need to start throwing pucks at the net and getting some dirty goals," Morrow said after Friday's loss. "This is our first adversity this year. We will recover."

The good news is that tonight's contest marks the first of four straight on home ice for the Stars, who are 6-2-0 at American Airlines Center this season.

While the Stars have been faltering, the Sharks have posted wins in three of four and four of their last six games. In fact, San Jose has a stellar 9-2-1 record since beginning the season on a disappointing 1-3-0 stretch.

San Jose was handed a 3-0 shutout loss last Saturday by visiting Phoenix, but the Sharks rebounded on Thursday with a win over Detroit in the finale of six- game road trip. Tonight's test in Big D marks the first of two straight on the road for the Sharks, who are 5-2-0 away from home this year and will complete this brief swing tomorrow in Colorado.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic finished with a goal and three assists to help lead the Sharks to the recent 5-2 decision over the Red Wings.

"It was a real nice thing from Vlasic," Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said. "He jumped into the play and was making things happen, so it was a great night for him."

Joe Thornton and Brad Winchester had a goal and an assist apiece, while Joe Pavelski and Torrey Mitchell also scored for the Sharks. Antti Niemi made 40 saves in the victory and is now 7-2-1 on the season.

Tonight's test marks the first of six meetings between Dallas and the Sharks this season. The Stars and Sharks split six encounters last year, but San Jose took three of the last four.

San Jose has won two straight and six of its last nine in Dallas.