DALLAS (AP) _ The Dallas Stars moved two points closer in their season-long
pursuit of the San Jose Sharks.
Jere Lehtinen scored the tiebreaking goal with 2:49 remaining to send the
Stars to a 3-1 victory over the Sharks on Friday night.
That moved Dallas within four points of first-place San Jose in the Pacific
Division. The Stars have won the Pacific title in four of the past five
``Our team is feeling very good about themselves,'' Stars coach Dave Tippett
said. ``We have the mentality that something good is going to happen. Our guys
are finding ways to win. Every point is huge when you're playing the team in
front of you, when you're chasing your division. We've closed to four points
and we're in the hunt.''
The Stars are unbeaten in their last five games (4-0-1) and are 12-4-5 in
their last 21.
Dallas is five games over .500 (25-20-9) for the first time this season and
is 12-4-2 in its last 18 games against San Jose.
``For some reason, that team doesn't bring out our best and this is not a
fun way to lose a hockey game,'' Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. ``We're mentally
not in the same division (with the Stars) and I don't understand that.''
Lehtinen got his eighth goal when he beat goaltender Vesa Toskala from the
right circle, converting Mike Modano's pass from behind the goal line to snap a
``I had one or two good chances from the same spot (earlier in the game) but
I hit something or somebody, so it was good I got one to go through,'' Lehtinen
San Jose's defense converged on Modano, leaving Lehtinen open from 20 feet.
``There was a breakdown followed by great players making a really good pass
and shot,'' Sharks center Vincent Damphousse said. ``It's little mistakes like
that that will sometimes cost you the game.''
San Jose took a 1-0 lead at 7:31 of the second period when Damphousse's
deflection beat goaltender Marty Turco for his sixth of the season.
But Brenden Morrow tied it at 1 with his power-play rebound of Jason
Arnott's shot at 17:01 of the second period, his 12th goal of the season.
Stu Barnes added an empty-net goal with 0.6 seconds left for Dallas.
Turco made 14 stops, including a save on Damphousse from close range with
``He got two pads stacked and I hit the top one,'' Damphousse said. ``I was
wide open but he covered the net real well.''
The Stars have rallied in the third period to get three wins and a tie in
their last four games.
``You get confidence from that,'' center Pierre Turgeon said. ``You go into
the third period down a goal and you think you can do it. At the beginning of
the season, we couldn't score a goal. Now we're scoring some big ones.''
Toskala had 33 saves for the Sharks, 14-4-1-1 in their last 20 games.
The Stars killed off two penalties in the first six minutes and held a 12-4
shots on goal edge in a scoreless opening period.