Stars end Sharks' win streak
Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 5:06 AM
Jason Williams made sure the San Jose Sharks
' winning streak didn't reach nine games on Saturday night.
Williams scored his first goal of the season on a fluky deflection to break a third-period tie and help the Dallas Stars
snap the San Jose Sharks
' impressive eight-game run with a 3-2 victory at HP Pavilion.
Williams signed as a free agent with Dallas last month after sitting out the first four months of the season. His goal with 7:12 remaining was by far his biggest contribution in 10 games with the Stars.
He got possession of the puck behind the San Jose net and his centering attempt hit off the stick of Sharks forward Dany Heatley and past Antti Niemi
for the goal that ended San Jose's longest winning streak of the season.
"It was a big win for the team," Williams said. "I feel that when I can use my shot it makes it difficult for the goaltender. It's just going out there and making the most of your opportunity. I got a little more ice time tonight. I thought we got a good effort from everybody. It was a good rebound game from Anaheim (Friday) night."
The loss was San Jose's first at home since Jan. 13 and only fourth overall in the past 21 games. The Sharks had surged from last place in the Pacific Division in January to third in the Western Conference standings over the past seven weeks but still are only seven points ahead of ninth-place Anaheim.
"I think we were a little scattered," Sharks defenseman Jason Demers
said. "But it was a playoff-type game. Both teams were playing hard. We had to match their intensity and we sort of fell short there at the end."
and Loui Eriksson
also scored for Dallas and Kari Lehtonen
made 29 saves as the Stars improved to 4-0-1 following a five-game losing streak that had put their playoff hopes in peril.
"That was nice that we showed ourselves that we could do it," Lehtonen said. "We probably didn't have as much energy today as we did (Friday) in the first two periods. It becomes a mind game, and you just try to make smart choices. We still believed we could come back, and it was a good team effort and a nice win."
Kyle Wellwood and Patrick Marleau
scored for San Jose. Niemi made 25 saves.
The win was the fourth in Dallas' last five trips to San Jose and the Stars trailed in each of those wins. Dallas tied the game midway through the third when Mark Fistric
's shot from the point deflected off a cluster of players in front of the net and Eriksson knocked in the loose puck for his 23rd goal of the season to make it 2-2.
"They had a couple of bounces there and they were able to score," Niemi said.
After Williams gave Dallas the lead, the Stars managed to kill off a late power play and hold on for the victory.
"It was great that we closed out this game," forward Steve Ott
The Sharks took a 2-1 lead into the third period after Marleau broke a tie early in the second. Marleau started and finished a give-and-go with Heatley, beating Lehtonen on a 2-on-1 just 1:22 into the second period to give San Jose the lead.
The Sharks maintained the edge throughout the second, killing off a delay-of-game penalty on Niemi early in the period. Niemi helped the penalty kill out with a sharp glove save on Alex Goligoski
to atone for his penalty.
For the second straight game the Sharks were the beneficiary of a favorable schedule as their opponent was coming off an overtime game in Anaheim the previous night. San Jose took advantage of that by beating Detroit 3-1 on Thursday, but didn't start as fast against the Stars.
The Sharks went on the power play just a minute into the game when Karlis Skrastins shot the puck over the boards for a delay-of-game call. But just 19 seconds into the man advantage, Stephane Robidas
sprung Benn with a long pass from behind his own goal line and Benn skated in alone on Niemi and beat him with a backhand.
"I didn't think we were sharp enough, especially early," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "I wasn't particularly pleased with the power play. It took us a full period to get going."
Wellwood tied the game for San Jose midway through the period when he tipped a centering pass from Torry Mitchell past Lehtonen for his fourth goal since joining the Sharks in January.
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.