SAN JOSE, Calif. - Patrick Marleau scored with 28.3 seconds to play when Marty Turco misplayed the puck in front of his own net, and the San Jose Sharks remained unbeaten in nine home games with a 2-1 victory over the Dallas Stars on Saturday night.
Dan Boyle also scored and backup goalie Brian Boucher made 23 saves to stay perfect as a starter with San Jose, but the NHL-leading Sharks' seventh consecutive victory came down to a horrendous mistake by Turco, the veteran goalie whose puck-handling skills have long been criticized.
Turco easily stopped defenceman Brad Lukowich's long dump-in shot for his 31st save, but the goalie then inexplicably attempted to backhand the puck up the middle of the ice. He hit Marleau on the skate, and the San Jose captain swatted it past the diving goalie for his seventh goal.
Loui Eriksson scored Dallas' tying goal early in the third period of the Pacific Division clubs' first meeting since their second-round playoff series last spring. Dallas beat the division champion Sharks in six games, winning a four-overtime clincher in a series that led to coach Ron Wilson's firing and Todd McLellan's arrival in San Jose.
Boucher excelled again in a rare start in place of Evgeni Nabokov, who sat out with a lower-body injury after getting hurt while stretching to make the final stop in San Jose's 5-4 shootout win over St. Louis on Thursday night.
Boucher hadn't allowed a goal this season before Eriksson's score, but he improved to 6-0 as a starter since signing with the Sharks in late February. Dallas, which hasn't won back-to-back games this season, couldn't generate much offence in its fourth stop on a five-game trip, but Turco kept the Stars in it until late.
This rivalry has been bad-tempered for years, to the point where San Jose fans boo the word "star" when it's sung in the national anthem. Those ill feelings seemed amplified in their first meeting this season, with Joe Thornton particularly irritated by Dallas' stable of agitators, including Steve Ott, Mike Ribeiro and newcomer Sean Avery.
Boyle got San Jose's first goal in the opening period on two sharp setup passes from Marleau and Thornton, who crisscrossed the puck through Dallas' defence before Thornton fed Boyle for his third goal of the season.
After a scoreless second period, Eriksson evened it up with 16:19 to play by setting up Ott for a slap shot and then tapping home the rebound off the rear boards.
Notes: Sharks C Marcel Goc returned to the lineup after missing five games with an undisclosed injury. Goc has been bothered by back problems since training camp. ... RW Brad Staubitz made his third appearance for San Jose in right winger Jonathan Cheechoo's place. He was recalled from Worcester on Friday along with G Thomas Greiss. ... Stars D Sergei Zubov played his second straight game after missing their first 12 contests while recovering from hip surgery.