Saturday, April 13, 2013
Dallas Stars 2, San Jose Sharks 1
Stars withstand heavy barrage late for fifth straight win.
DALLAS The Dallas Stars returned to the playoff picture in a big way Saturday night, winning their fifth straight 2-1 over the San Jose Sharks at the American Airlines Center. The win improved Dallas to 21-17-3 and 45 points, tied with the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Dallas currently holds the spot due to tiebreakers, and sits just two points behind the Minnesota Wild for the 7th spot with seven games remaining. San Jose lost to the Stars for the third time this season, and fell to 21-13-7.
Dallas opened the scoring just 1:57 into the first period when Eric Nystrom skated in on a breakaway with linemate Erik Cole. Rather than pass it to Cole, Nystrom took a shot that found the far post and bounced in for his 7th goal of the season and an early 1-0 lead.
Five minutes later on the powerplay, Loui Eriksson passed back to Ray Whitney at the blue line. Whitney's one timer was tipped in by rookie Alex Chiasson for his sixth goal in his first six career NHL games for a 2-0 lead.
Neither team scored in the second period, but the Sharks had the best chance with eight minutes remaining when Joe Pavelski's shot at a wide-open net was saved by Stars backup netminder Richard Bachman.
San Jose finally broke through in a third period where they outshot the Stars 13-5. At 5:56 on the powerplay, Brent Burns backhanded a rebound past Bachman for his seventh of the year and a 2-1 game. San Jose pressed the attack for the remainder of the period but were unable to beat Bachman or the Dallas defense, which blocked 30 shots on the night.
Bachman was stellar in net once again, stopping 31 of the 32 shots he faced for the win. San Jose's Antti Niemi was rarely tested after the second goal, making 17 saves on 19 shots in the loss.
Dallas' next game is Monday night in Chicago, where they will face the NHL-leading 31-5-4 Blackhawks.