– San Jose’s eight-game winning streak slipped away in the third
period Saturday night as the opportune Dallas Stars rallied for a
3-2 victory at sold-out HP Pavilion.
SAN JOSE – San Jose’s eight-game winning streak slipped away in the third period Saturday night as the opportune Dallas Stars rallied for a 3-2 victory at sold-out HP Pavilion.
Two goals from close range in the game’s final 13 minutes allowed the Stars to erase a 2-1 deficit after two periods. Dallas improved to 77 points in third place in the Pacific Division, tied with Calgary for sixth in the Western Conference.
Phoenix, with 78 points, claimed sole possession of second place in the Pacific Division with a 6-5 shootout win over Detroit. The Los Angeles Kings stayed at 76 points with a 3-1 setback to Vancouver.
San Jose, with 82 points, was 23-3-3 when leading after two periods entering Saturday’s action. Dallas grabbed a 2-2 tie 7:37 into the third when winger Loui Eriksson turned a short rebound of a Mark Fistric slapshot from the right point into a put-back goal from the edge of the crease.
The Stars broke the tie at the 12:48 mark. Jason Williams, playing in only his 10th game of the season, found a loose puck at San Jose’s right post. Williams controlled the puck around the back of the net, then centered the puck across the crease. The puck ricocheted off the stick of Dany Heatley and flew over goaltender Antti Niemi’s shoulder for the game-winner.
San Jose, 17-3-1 in the 21 games Niemi has started in a row, continues the home stand Tuesday against the Nashville Predators. The league-pacing Vancouver Canucks visit Thursday and the New York Rangers come in on Saturday. Each of the three losses in the streak have been by one goal.
The Sharks went on the power play one minute into action when Star Karlis Skrastins was whistled for delaying the game by sending the puck over the glass.
Dallas netted a short-handed goal 19 seconds later. A San Jose scoring chance left a long rebound in the left corner of the Dallas zone. Defenseman Stephane Robidas was able to collect the puck and quickly find a streaking Jamie Benn behind the San Jose defense. Benn stuffed the puck between the pads of Niemi.
San Jose was able to draw even at 9:55 of the first period with an even-strength goal.
Ian White kept a scoring play alive by hustling to the puck inside the Stars blueline and sending a shot on net. Joe Pavelski intercepted a potential Dallas clearing pass in the high slot, wristing a shot on net that was kicked to the endboards. Torrey Mitchell kept the attack going by sliding the puck to the low slot where Kyle Wellwood deftly one-timed the shot under goaltender Karl Lehtonen’s pads.
A Dallas turnover in the neutral zone led to San Jose’s goal at 1:22 of the second period.
As Patrick Marleau controlled the puck at the red line, linemate Heatley was quickly skating toward the Dallas zone. Heatley slowed to allow Marleau to enter the zone for a 2-1 rush. Heatley received Marleau’s pass, then waited for Marleau to break around the defender. Marleau’s one-timer from 15 feet out gave San Jose a 2-1 advantage and gave Marleau the team lead with his 26th goal of the season.