SAN JOSE -- Some time off turned out to be a good thing for Dallas Stars goaltender Antti Niemi and forward Mattias Janmark.
Janmark scored two goals, and Niemi made 34 saves in a 4-2 victory against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Saturday.
The Sharks (41-28-6) missed their third straight chance, all at home, to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Janmark returned to the lineup after missing six games with an upper-body injury and skated on the second line with center Jason Spezza and Valeri Nichushkin. He gave the Stars a 1-0 lead at 15:28 of the first period with his 14th goal of the season, deflecting defenseman Jordie Benn's shot from the point past Martin Jones, inside the left post.
"Maybe in some way it was a blessing having some time off," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said of Janmark. "He looks refreshed. He was skating well. He looked a little fatigued before he went out. Not only did he score a couple goals, his compete and his skating was good."
Video: DAL@SJS: Janmark deflects it past Jones
Niemi, who played with the Sharks from 2010-15, started for the first time since March 12 against St. Louis. Niemi has 40 starts and Kari Lehtonen has 36, but Lehtonen has started nine of the previous 11 games.
"I thought he looked really good," Ruff said. "He looked big all night, and he made some terrific saves for us. I want to see both of them playing well. That's a big bonus. Those two guys have been a big reason why we're at where we're at. And tonight he really helped us get a win."
Patrick Sharp scored a second-period goal for the Stars (45-22-9), who clinched a playoff spot Tuesday with a 6-2 road victory against the Chicago Blackhawks and lead the Central Division with 99 points.
Joel Ward and Tomas Hertl scored third-period goals for the Sharks, who entered the final 20 minutes trailing 3-0.
Video: DAL@SJS: Sharp buries one-timer on power play
Ward scored a shorthanded goal at 3:44. Niemi came out of his crease to play the puck, and Ward banged into him before putting the puck into an open net for his 21st goal of the season.
Hertl scored his 19th goal at 5:48 of the third, knocking a rebound past Niemi when the Sharks cut the lead to 3-2. Niemi made a pad save on Joe Pavelski's backhand from close range but couldn't control the puck.
"I thought we battled hard in third period," Sharks forward Tommy Wingels said. "Coming back from 3-0 and we're talking about making a push. We had just too many missed opportunities. We pressed and attacked and took pucks to net and we were physical."
San Jose went on its sixth power play of the game at 13:24 of the third, but Dallas remained perfect on the penalty kill. Pavelski had a shot from the slot, but Niemi made a glove save with more than six minutes left.
"Really exciting day," Niemi said. "Knew I'd get a game at some point this week on this road trip. Wasn't sure if it would be this game or not. Really exciting game, exciting day. It's been a while since the last game and also since the last win so it feels pretty good."
Video: DAL@SJS: Niemi snags Pavelski's close-range wrister
Jamie Benn scored an empty-net goal with 1:08 left to play, his 37th goal of the season, to make it 4-2.
Jones made 13 saves for the Sharks.
"It was a game where you come back to the room and wonder why you didn't get a couple more goals out there," Pavelski said. "It was good to see the guys respond in the third period. You never want it to get down 3-0. ... Just ran out of time, I think."
Janmark made it 2-0 at 4:22 of the second period on a wrist shot from the low slot that deflected off of Hertl's skate and past Jones. Spezza skated below the goal line and sent a pass to a wide-open Janmark, who did the rest.
Video: DAL@SJS: Ward capitalizes on Stars' turnover
"It was a while since I played a game, so I was kind of excited to play," Janmark said. "When you play a lot of games you don't appreciate it as much."
Sharks second-line forward Joonas Donskoi (lower body) skated in warmups but was scratched. He was injured early in the second period against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday in a collision with Sharks center Logan Couture.
Dainius Zubrus returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch against Edmonton and skated in Donskoi's spot with Couture and Melker Karlsson.
Video: Janmark, Stars double up Sharks, 4-2