Wednesday, April 24, 2013
San Jose Sharks 3, Dallas Stars 2
Stars blow their playoff hopes with regulation loss.
The Dallas Stars' playoff hopes were dealt a fatal blow Tuesday night in San Jose, as they lost 3-2 to the Sharks for their third straight loss. The loss dropped Dallas to 22-20-4 and 48 points on the season, three points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Dallas has two games remaining, both at home, against the Blue Jackets and the Detroit Red Wings, but they will need both teams to lose their other games in order to squeak into the postseason. San Jose improved to 25-14-7, and clinched a playoff berth with the win as well as avoided a four-game season sweep by Dallas.
San Jose opened the scoring at 12:53 on the powerplay when the Sharks' second powerplay unit sliced right through the porous Dallas defense. Scott Gomez got the puck to a streaking Raffi Torres, who tapped it upstairs for his seventh of the season and a 1-0 lead.
Dallas countered just 99 second later when Antoine Roussel jumped on a rebound of a Cody Eakin shot and jammed it in for his eighth of the season and a 1-1 tie.
San Jose got in penalty trouble late in the period, leading to a pair of 5-on-3 powerplays for Dallas. The Stars failed to capitalize on the first one because they couldn't win a faceoff, even giving up a rare shorthanded breakaway that was just barely saved by netminder Kari Lehtonen.
When the Stars came back from the first intermission, however, they immediately cashed in on the second two-man advantage when Loui Eriksson drove the net, picked up an Alex Goligoski rebound and backhanded it in for his 12th of the season just 17 seconds in.
Neither team scored the rest of the period, but the Stars' one-goal lead would not stand up after a 30-second burst late in the third period. At 14:23 of the final frame, after the Sharks had hit four posts earlier, Joe Pavelski beat Stephane Robidas in front of the net and deflected in a Brad Stuart shot from the point for his 16th of the season and the 2-2 tie.
Exactly thirty seconds later, Ray Whitney made a costly turnover at his own blue line. San Jose pounced on it and sent a puck to the net, where an uncovered Logan Couture beat a sprawling Lehtonen for his 20th of the year and the game-clinching goal.
Lehtonen was decent in net but could hardly be faulted on the goals he let in, stopping 34 of the 37 shots he faced. Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi was one better, making 24 saves on 26 shots for the win.
Dallas' next game is Thursday night against the 22-17-7 Columbus Blue Jackets, who can officially eliminate Dallas from the postseason for the fifth straight year with a win.