DALLAS (AP) -San Jose coach Ron Wilson has been nagging his team about playing with more determination, and the Sharks finally delivered the gritty effort Wilson has been seeking.
Evgeni Nabokov stopped 26 shots for his 32nd career shutout, Joe Pavelski scored two goals, and the Sharks snapped a season-long four-game losing streak with a 4-0 victory over the Dallas Stars on Sunday.
"We have to finish checks and take hits and play physical," said Bill Guerin, playing his third game for the Sharks after coming over in a trade with the St. Louis Blues. "We'll be a much better team if we do that. If we play soft, we're not going to do much."
Curtis Brown set the tone with a goal in the opening three minutes and Ryane Clowe also scored to help San Jose improve to 80 points, one behind second-place Dallas in the Pacific Division.
"We talked about starting better. In seven of the last nine games, we've been down by two goals, but today we did what we had to do," Wilson said.
The Sharks had been 0-3-1 in their previous four games and won only two of the first seven meetings with the Stars this season, but Nabokov didn't have much trouble earning his fifth shutout of the season.
Brown notched his eighth goal of the season 2:38 after the opening faceoff on the game's first shot, a wrister from the inner edge of the left circle. It was San Jose's only shot of the first period while Dallas was unable to beat Nabokov on nine shots.
"That first goal can kind of take the wind out of your sails," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "But what hurts more is not counteracting that goal. We didn't finish and we didn't take advantage of the opportunities we had."
The Sharks turned up the offensive pressure in the second period, extending their lead to 3-0.
"The first wasn't our best period," Nabokov said. "But we handled the situation well. Everyone found their legs in the second and that's when we made our run."
San Jose had dropped its past six games to the top eight teams in the Western Conference and was in a 2-6-1 slump before beating Dallas in the teams' final regular-season meeting.
Marty Turco had 14 saves for the Stars, 12-3-4 in their previous 19 games including an 8-1-2 run at home to jump past the Sharks in the standings.
But the Stars were flat from the outset.
"It's embarrassing to play like that against a team we're neck-and-neck with," Turco said.
Turco had Sharks parked in front of the net for much of the game, creating traffic and ready for rebounds.
"Marty's good with the long shots," Pavelski said. "We need to have second and third tries to get to him. Both of my goals, we were crashing around the net. He's a little small. He struggles with traffic."
Clowe backhanded a rebound past Turco at 11:27 of the second period to give the Sharks a two-goal edge.
San Jose made it 3-0 at 15:58 of the second period when Pavelski beat Turco on a goal-mouth scramble. Pavelski added his 14th goal of the season off a two-on-one with Clowe with 1:43 to play for a 4-0 advantage.
Notes: D Mattias Norstrom made his debut for the Stars after being acquired last Tuesday in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings. Norstrom had four blocked shots in 19 minutes, but was disappointed with the way his new team played. "We lacked fire and determination," Norstrom said. ...The Stars were shut out for the fifth time this season. ...San Jose C Patrick Marleau (upper-body injury) was scratched for the third straight game, but D Scott Hannan returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games with a leg injury. ...Dallas RW Krys Barch missed the third period with a lower-body injury.
|Curtis Brown (8) ASST: Christian Ehrhoff (18), Michael Grier (12)|
1 - 0 SJS
|Ryane Clowe (14) ASST: Patrick Rissmiller (13), Marcel Goc (6)|
2 - 0 SJS
|Joe Pavelski (13) ASST: Jonathan Cheechoo (25), Matthew Carle (23)|
3 - 0 SJS
|Joe Pavelski (14) ASST: Ryane Clowe (17), Jonathan Cheechoo (26)|
4 - 0 SJS
|Antti Miettinen Hi-sticking|
|Bill Guerin Hooking|
|Stu Barnes Hooking|
|Krys Barch Fighting|
|Mark Bell Fighting|
|Marcel Goc Hooking|
|Ladislav Nagy Hi-sticking|
|Mattias Norstrom Slashing|
|Curtis Brown Hi-sticking|
|Curtis Brown Hi-sticking|