SAN JOSE –The San Jose Sharks continued their recent dominance over the Dallas Stars on Thursday night at HP Pavilion, and made history in the process.
Getting goals from Michal Handzus, Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Ryane Clowe, San Jose beat the Stars 5-2 on Thursday night, extending their winning streak in the series to a team-record five straight.
The Sharks also set a team record for longest opponent scoreless streak of 190 minutes and 51 seconds, snapping the old mark of 171:18 set in January 2009.
During its five-game streak against Dallas, San Jose has outscored the Stars 26-8. The Sharks have won all three games against the Stars this season.
"Sometimes you play teams well," Thornton said. "For whatever reason, we play them real well. We like playing a feisty game like they play. They kind of bring the best out of us. Whatever they do they, they've got to keep it up. We play well against them."
Steve Ott and Jamie Benn scored for the Stars, who fell to 0-8-1 this season in games played on the second night of back-to-backs.
"We obviously don't like them," defenseman Stephane Robidas said of the Sharks. "They probably don't like us, either. It's always a big battle, but they just seemed to have more juice than us tonight."
Many of the Sharks' fathers were on hand at HP Pavilion and will accompany the team on its annual father's road trip – a one-game affair Saturday at Phoenix. Their sons made sure to put on a good show, winning their third straight game.
"It's great," Thornton said. "We all enjoy it. They turn into kids when they're around the hockey rink. We love when they're here, and we always play well in front of them. So maybe they need to come down a little bit more."
Thursday night's game featured a battle of backup goaltenders -- San Jose's Thomas Greiss vs. Dallas' Richard Bachman, a promising rookie. Greiss started in place of Antti Niemi, who has back-to-back shutouts but suffered what he called a minor "mid-body" injury when he was hit by a puck during Wednesday's practice.
The Sharks, coming off a 6-0 win Tuesday against Columbus, used some puck luck to build a 2-0 lead in the first period.
San Jose grabbed the lead 4:42 into the first period on Handzus' fifth goal of the season. Defenseman Brent Burns, who had three assists, blasted a shot from near the blue line, and the puck bounced off Handzus – stationed far in front of the crease -- before going over Bachman's glove and into the net.
Pavelski made it 2-0 at 16:12 with a power-play goal, taking advantage of another good bounce. He fired a slap shot from the right circle through heavy traffic that ping-ponged off a Dallas defender and through Bachman's legs.
Entering the game, the Sharks hadn't allowed a goal in 158:10. Greiss had the first 38:10 of that streak and Niemi – with the two shutouts – the rest. Long before the first period ended, the Sharks had snapped their old streak.
"The defense has been tightening up so much more lately," said Greiss, who stopped 19 shots and improved to 7-4-1. "Less odd-man rushes and breakaways. The defense has been playing really well the last couple games."
The Sharks' streak ended at 12:41 of the second period when Ott scored a power-play goal, cutting the lead to 2-1. San Jose defenseman Dan Boyle actually smacked the puck past Greiss from the slot as he raced back and tried to take it away from a streaking Ott.
"I was just caught off-guard," Greiss said. "I was more looking at the other guy. Probably if I just stand there, it hits me."
The Sharks answered quickly, scoring back-to-back goals by Marleau and Thornton to build a 4-1 lead by the second intermission. Marleau bounced a shot of the skate of a Stars defender and into the net for a power-play goal at 14:59, extending the lead to 3-1.
Sharks coach Todd McLellan said it was "real important" to bounce back quickly after Boyle put the puck in his own net.
"Especially to do it on the power play," McLellan added. "I think our power play's starting to look more like it should. There's some motion. We're shooting it a little bit more, and you sense a more confident group when they go on the ice. It was nice to see them get it back right away."
Thornton made it 4-1 at 16:43. After the Stars turned it over in their end, Pavelski raced toward the net. Bachman came out to meet him, but Pavelski sent the puck to Thornton, just left of the crease, and he put it into a wide-open net.
The Sharks outshot Dallas 28-11 through the first two periods and had a 27-8 advantage on faceoffs to that point. For the game, San Jose scored three goals on five power plays while Dallas went one-for-two with the man advantage.
"We were down by two in the first and got a lucky one and found a way to kind of make a game of it," Ott said. "Obviously the penalty kill was in a tough spot tonight. It's tough to continuously lose momentum when you take penalties, shooting yourself in the foot with a great power play team over there. They're obviously a team that's strong – they throw a lot at the net, got a few lucky bounces. But all in all, they outplayed us."
Clowe, sporting a protective visor, returned to the lineup after missing six games with a facial fracture suffered Jan. 10 at Minnesota. He reclaimed his familiar spot at left wing on the second line, next to Couture.
After Benn cut the Sharks lead to 4-2 at 6:22 of the third, Clowe responded with a goal at 11:34 to cap the scoring.
"I felt good," Clowe said. "Rest is underrated. I felt good right away. That was the one thing I was worried about. Throughout the game I kind of got stronger. Early I think the biggest thing was just getting up to pace, but I felt good."
After their latest loss to the Sharks, the Stars felt anything but good, but they'll get three more shots at San Jose this season.
"They're a great hockey club over there," Ott said. "They're well-built. But it gives us no excuse to not be a competitive team against them. They've got a lot of skill. We've got a lot of work ethic. For us, we need to find a way to match up. Hopefully the next three we turn the tide and we'll continue to focus on competing again from there."