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Sharks Gameday: These Guys Again?

As if seeing the Dallas Stars eight times already wasn't bad enough, we're in for at least another four, potentially another seven. Yup, that means that when it's all said and done, the Sharks and Stars may have played each other 15 times -- about half of those with Brian Campbell and Brad Richards in the lineup (including playoffs), and half without.

For what it's worth, the visiting team won the majority of the time during the season series, but that doesn't mean too much right now.

I haven't seen too much of the Stars lately because a lot of the start times interfered with Sharks games, but I did chat with Earl Sleek about the Ducks/Stars series. For what it's worth, Sleek thought the Sharks had the tools to do what Anaheim didn't: generate speed through the neutral zone and break past Dallas' defense with waves of speedy forwards.

Now, this begs the question: did Dallas play awesome in defeating Anaheim or did Anaheim play crappy in totally collapsing to Dallas? Chicken or the egg, but I think it's key when presenting initial analysis of the series. The other question is whether or not Anaheim's play was a factor in making Stephane Robidas look awesome or if Robidas found another gear for the first time in his career.

It sounds like Sergei Zubov will be back soon, and that will give a boost to the depleted Dallas blueline, though Philippe Boucher will be out for a while. Even if Zubov returns, the good news is that he won't be in game shape for a while. I mean, you don't just recover from sports hernia surgery and have your skating legs. Zubov's game is based on crisp passing, skating, and smart passing, but if your legs won't work in conjunction with the rest of your body, your timing will be off. If and when Zubov plays, the smartest tactic will be to use Calgary's strategy of dump the puck in and use the forechecker to punish Zubov rather than trying to retrieve the puck.

If you look at comparisons between the teams in terms of stats, you'll see a mirror image. Both teams have had secondary scoring step up at key teams and both have had pretty good output from star players. The critical thing right now is for San Jose's penalty kill to resolve whatever head-up-its-ass situation it was having and go back to being the #1 PK unit in the league because the Dallas power play is so hot right now.

Well, no one said it was going to be easy. Kudos to Dallas for playing well after such an awful finish to the season, but hopefully they'll revert back to their March form starting tonight. Go Sharks.

Shameless plug time: if you're a newer Sharks fan, you may not remember the Sharks/Stars battles of yesteryear, so here's my primer on FoxSports to catch up.