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Sharks 3, Stars 2 OT @NHLdotcom

DALLAS (AP) - With his team fighting for a playoff spot and the season winding down, Joe Thornton picked the perfect time to end a goal-scoring drought.

Thornton's power-play tally with only 20.2 seconds showing on the overtime clock sent San Jose to a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars on Monday night, snapping the Sharks' three-game losing streak.

San Jose carried a power play into the extra session. After Dallas killed it, the Sharks got another man-advantage when Niko Kapanen was called for hooking at 3:22.

Thornton ended the game with his 26th of the season and first since March 9, beating Marty Turco from the right circle. Thornton is second in the NHL points race and is tops in assists.

"I'm glad Joe scored the goal," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "He's been struggling lately."

The Sharks, who have 85 points and are trying to move into playoff position in the Western Conference, were a desperate team and have only eight games left. They are two points behind Edmonton, which sits at the postseason cutoff.

"Hopefully we can look back and say that's how we got into the playoffs," Thornton said. "We had 20 guys show up tonight. We're hoping we can reel off three or four in a row and keep it rolling."

Ville Nieminen scored a short-handed goal, and Patrick Marleau added a power-play tally for the Sharks.

"It would have been an awful feeling had we not prevailed in overtime," Wilson said. "We got rewarded for our hard work."

Jere Lehtinen had a power-play goal, and Jason Arnott scored with less than 2 minutes left in regulation for the Stars to send the game to overtime. Turco finished with 31 saves.

With the point for overtime, the Pacific Division-leading Stars are 13 points ahead of second-place Anaheim and are closing in the division title. Dallas has seven games left, and Anaheim will play eight.

The Sharks carried the play against the weary Stars, with San Jose holding a 34-18 shots edge.

"It's a challenge when we're playing desperate teams," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "We looked tired. Even when we were pushing, we looked tired. We have to get the guys some rest. But I think this adversity can be good for us if we use it to our advantage."

Tippett didn't agree with several of the nine penalties against his team, especially the hooking call against Kapanen in overtime.

"That's the way it goes," Tippett said. "You've got to adapt to that. A lot of our calls were because they were quicker than us. The one on Kappy at the end, that's a frustrating one. That's a tough one to swallow. But that's what we deal with."

Nieminen gave the Sharks a 2-1 advantage at 10:44 of the third period when he scored his seventh of the season on a short-handed breakaway.

But Arnott pulled Dallas into a 2-2 tie with 1:47 remaining in regulation when he notched his 30th of the season.

The Stars went in front 1-0 at 10:45 of the opening period when Lehtinen deflected Sergei Zubov's shot from the left point past goaltender Vesa Toskala, who stopped 16 shots.

San Jose drew even when Marleau took advantage of an out-of-position Turco, sending a loose puck into an open net at 5:06 of the second period - just 9 seconds into the Sharks' first power play.

Notes: Lehtinen's 32nd goal gave him 51 points, one short of his career high set in 1998-99. ... Zubov and C Mike Modano were back in the Dallas lineup after missing the previous game with injuries. ... Arnott has a career-high 71 points. ... The Sharks are 2-4-1 against the Stars this season with one game left.

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