Matt Niskanen nearly gave the Dallas Stars an overtime win Friday night. When he got another chance in the shootout, he didn't miss.
Niskanen, a defenseman who had never taken a shootout attempt, scored in the 11th round to give the Dallas Stars a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks.
Niskanen ripped a wrist shot past Evgeni Nabokov after he and Dallas' Marty Turco had stopped nine of the first 10 shots in the shootout. Turco then gave Dallas the extra point by stopping Marc-Edouard Vlasic's wrist shot.
''We were starting to run out of guys,'' Niskanen said. ''We were starting to look down at the end of the bench. (Nabokov) was coming out pretty far and so I put a move on him and got very lucky. It the first time I've ever done it. I came at him with a lot of speed and snapped it. As defensemen, we always joke around that we'll be the last used in a shootout.''
Niskanen nearly ended the game in overtime with a blast from the point that trickled past Nabokov before Dan Boyle swept it away as it approached the goal line. The Sharks also had their chance in overtime but Joe Pavelski's 's shot hit the post.
Brad Richards had scored in the second round of the shootout for the Stars, but Devin Setoguchi slid the puck through Turco's legs in the third round.
The 11 rounds matched the longest shootout in the NHL this season. Chicago and Colorado and the New York Islanders and Washington also went 11 rounds.
''That shootout was pretty special, it was the longest one I've ever been involved in,'' Dallas coach Marc Crawford said. ''It's not very often that the shootout ends up being the story of the game. ... Marty did such a good job in the shootout and you have to praise Nabokov because he was equally as good. But we found a way to solve him with a great shot from Niskanen.''
The Sharks had never had a shootout go longer than seven attempts. Dallas' previous long was nine rounds in 2007 against Minnesota.
''It's a little bit typical of the night,'' Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. ''I think Marty Turco poke-checked checked guys four or five times in a row and yet we get in close to him. If you're on the bench and watching him you should figure it out eventually. It's disappointing.''
The loss was the fourth in a row at home for the Sharks, though two have come in shootouts and another in overtime. The Stars have won both meetings with San Jose season, beating the Sharks twice in shootouts at HP Pavilion -- but the victory was only the fourth for Dallas in 13 games that have gone past regulation. The Stare are 2-6 in shootouts.
The Stars had the better of the play after the first period, but trailed 2-1 until Brad Richards circled the net and snapped a shot from the right circle past Nabokov with 9:18 remaining in regulation.
"I don't think we played very well," said Sharks captain Rob Blake, who put his team ahead 2-1 late in the first period. "That's what happens when you let a team hang in there. We had the lead, but we weren't playing well."
Dallas took the lead 13:08 into the game when Mike Ribeiro tipped Trevor Daley's power-play shot/pass from the right point past Nabokov. But the Sharks scored twice before the end of the period to take a 2-1 lead into the locker room.
Dany Heatley reached the 20-goal mark when he snapped Joe Thornton's pass past Turco at 15:00. Blake cranked a slap shot through Turco's legs 1:51 later to put San Jose ahead.
The Stars dominated the second period, outshooting the Stars 16-6, but were unable to beat Nabokov, who finished with 42 saves.
"I thought in the second period we were thoroughly outhustled and outworked," McLellan said.
The Sharks don't get much time to rest -- they left quickly after the game for a flight to Phoenix and a meeting with the Coyotes.
"We're going to regroup and get some rest," McLellan said. "We've got a lot of work ahead of us -- at least a lot more than tonight."
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report
|PPG - Mike Ribeiro (9) ASST: Trevor Daley (4)|
1 - 0 DAL
|Dany Heatley (20) ASST: Joe Thornton (36), Dan Boyle (20)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Rob Blake (2) ASST: Dany Heatley (16), Manny Malhotra (6)|
2 - 1 SJS
|Brad Richards (10) ASST: Loui Eriksson (17), Stephane Robidas (12)|
2 - 2 Tie
|1||L. Eriksson||J. Pavelski|
|2||B. Richards||R. Clowe|
|3||M. Ribeiro||D. Setoguchi|
|4||S. Robidas||D. Boyle|
|5||J. Neal||D. Heatley|
|6||J. Lehtinen||P. Marleau|
|7||B. Morrow||J. Thornton|
|8||T. Wandell||M. Malhotra|
|9||M. Modano||J. McGinn|
|10||J. Benn||T. Mitchell|
|11||M. Niskanen||M. Vlasic|
|Steve Ott Cross checking against Dan Boyle|
|Steve Ott Roughing against Jay Leach|
|Jay Leach Roughing against Steve Ott|
|Derek Joslin Roughing against Brenden Morrow|
|Brenden Morrow Roughing against Derek Joslin|
|Rob Blake Interference against James Neal|
|Kent Huskins Hooking against Brad Richards|
|Ryane Clowe Roughing against Brenden Morrow|
|Brenden Morrow Roughing against Ryane Clowe|
|Derek Joslin Interference against James Neal|
|Jamie McGinn Hi-sticking against Jamie Benn|
|Rob Blake Hooking against Jere Lehtinen|
|Trevor Daley Tripping against Joe Thornton|