Sunday, April 7, 2013
Dallas Stars 5, San Jose Sharks 4 (Shootout)
Stars overcome two two-goal deficits to win huge road game.
The new-look Dallas Stars overcame a pair of two-goal deficits against the best home team in the NHL Sunday, defeating the Sharks 5-4 in a shootout in San Jose. The win was their second straight and improved Dallas to 18-17-3 and 39 points, four points behind the Detroit Red Wings for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with ten games to play. San Jose had their seven-game winning streak snapped as they fell to 20-12-6.
Following a large-scale sell-off of offensive veteran forwards, the Stars were not expected to compete for anything other than a lottery pick the rest of the season. But an infusion of youth from the AHL seems to have lit a fire under the team, which may have played one of their best third periods all season long against the Sharks.
San Jose opened the scoring at 8:39 of the first period, when Tommy Wingels converted a Logan Couture pass from behind the net for his fourth goal of the season and a 1-0 lead.
Neither team scored the rest of the period, but the floodgates opened early in the second. The Sharks doubled their lead three minutes into the middle frame when Brent Burns skated down the right side and took a shot from distance that somehow eluded Dallas netminder Kari Lehtonen and in for his sixth goal of the season and a 2-0 lead.
Just 35 seconds later, however, Vernon Fiddler got a pass to Eric Nystrom near the Sharks' net. Nystom chipped it over Sharks goalie Antti Niemi for his sixth and a 2-1 game. Just 26 seconds later on the very next shift, Jamie Benn's shot deflected right to rookie Alex Chiasson, who pounded it in for his second goal in as many nights and a 2-2 tie.
San Jose restored their lead at 7:48, however, when Nystrom collided with teammate Trevor Daley. San Jose pounced on the puck and skated past a confused Dallas defense, with T.J. Galiardi roofing a nasty backhand shot past Lehtonen to make it 3-2. The Sharks made it 4-2 on a controversial goal with four and a half minutes remaining in the period, when Marc-Edouard Vlasic skated around the net and tried jamming it in the far side. While the call on the ice was no goal and no video replay showed the puck crossing the line, the goal was nevertheless awarded to Vlasic to make it a two-goal San Jose lead.
Rather than sulk into a shell like they have for most of this season, however, the Stars fought back in the third. Alex Chiasson scored his second of the night and third in three career NHL games at 6:07 when Jamie Benn stole a long pass, got it to Ray Whitney who managed to get it to Chiasson for the goal. Three minutes later, Matt Fraser took a big slap shot that deflected right to Loui Eriksson, who one-timed it in for his tenth of the season and a 4-4 tie. Eriksson also had a chance in the dying minutes of regulation to win it, but his shot clanged off the post.
Neither team scored in overtime, and only one scored in the shootout --Jamie Benn, who wristed it through Niemi's pads and glove for the game-winning shootout goal.
Lehtonen stopped all three San Jose shootout attempts for the win, and 32 of 36 shots in regulation and overtime to improve to 14-11-2 on the season. Niemi stopped just 30 of 34 shots in the loss.
Dallas' next game is Tuesday night in Dallas, where they will face the 22-13-3 Los Angeles Kings.