Programming note: Stars-Sharks coverage starts tonight at 7:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California Plus (channel listings).
SAN JOSE -- Alex Stalock will return to the net on Monday as the Sharks close out the home portion of their schedule with the Dallas Stars.
The 27-year-old is 3-0-1 in his last four starts, allowing just five goals over that span. He came out of the lineup for the two games over the weekend against the Coyotes with an illness, giving regular starter Antti Niemi a chance to get back in.
No matter the outcome of the game with Dallas, the Sharks will end up losing more than half of their games at SAP Center this season, as they are 19-16-5 in their own building. One year ago, they finished with the best home record in the Western Conference.
“We owe (the fans) a lot. It’s been a tough year for us at home,” Stalock said. “Not a typical year for the Sharks at home. Hopefully we’ll have a fun one tonight, and let them have some fun.”
The Sharks haven’t been mathematically eliminated just yet, but that could happen even before the puck is dropped against the Stars. If the Winnipeg Jets beat Minnesota in a game that starts at 5 p.m. PST, San Jose will be officially done.
If the Kings beat Vancouver or the Sharks fail to get both points available against Dallas that would also spell elimination for San Jose.
“There’s that small chance. There’s two points available tonight,” Joe Pavelski said. “There’s not much else we can really look for. We’re in this position because of how we’ve played. We’ve just got to keep playing.”
The Sharks will be without forward Tomas Hertl, who is the latest to get struck with whatever bug is making its way through the roster.
Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic is walking with a pronounced limp and remains out, as does Scott Hannan, who took a puck to the face on April 1 against Colorado.
Todd McLellan admitted that the mood in the Sharks dressing room and on the flight home from Arizona on Saturday after the 5-3 defeat to the Coyotes was somber. But, he still expects his team to go down swinging. Despite being all but officially eliminated, the Sharks are still 4-1-1 in their last six games.
“The heart is still beating, the lifeline is still there, so expect guys to show up and battle,” said the coach. “For the most part, the last 10 games they’ve been doing that. Expect more of that from them.”