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Sharks 6, Stars 3 @NHLdotcom

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Jonathan Cheechoo helped San Jose take the lead by being in the right place at the right time. He extended the lead with a more forceful goal.

Cheechoo scored two of San Jose's four goals in the second period and the Sharks beat the Pacific Division-leading Dallas Stars 6-3 Friday night.

Milan Michalek also had two goals, and Joe Thornton and Alyn McCauley also scored as the Sharks won their second straight. Vesa Toskala stopped 24 shots to improve to 9-1 over his last 10 games.

Cheechoo looked as surprised as anyone when Thornton's pass hit off the back of his skate and ricocheted across the line as he was facing away from the net with 14:06 left in the second period.

"I knew it hit my foot and I looked down at my skate," Cheechoo said. "Everybody started celebrating so I knew something happened. I guess you get one of those every once in a while."

Mike Modano, Niklas Hagman and Stu Barnes scored for the Stars, who failed to win for just the fifth time in 19 games (14-4-1). Marty Turco made 28 saves while losing for the first time in 14 games against San Jose, and allowed five goals for the first time since Nov. 10.

"I didn't think it was going to last forever and I wasn't planning on it," Turco said. "But that's a good hockey team, especially since the trade (for Joe Thornton on Nov. 30) they're playing a lot better. It's either been us or them who have been division champs so it's been fun. You don't like to lose to them but I've had the upper hand and I can't complain about that."

The Sharks gave Ron Wilson his 400th career win in his 900th career game as a head coach.

Modano put the Stars ahead 1-0 with his 19th goal of the season 6:45 into the game. He received a pass from Jussi Jokinen at the high slot and slapped it past Toskala. It was Modano's fourth goal since Dec. 31.

"They scored first but I didn't see the team flinch," Wilson said. "We were ready to play from the beginning of the game."

Thornton answered for the Sharks with a power-play goal at 15:38. A 5-on-3 advantage had just ended when Thornton slipped the puck past Turco after taking a pass from Patrick Marleau.

"We just forced their defense," Thornton said. "We were just all over them. It's nice to see plenty of goals. Guys are feeling good right now."

Cheechoo added a power-play goal at 10:14 of the period to give the Sharks a 3-1 lead. He took a centering pass from Thornton, who now has a league-leading 58 assists.

"We needed to get the loose pucks and keep them in their zone," Marleau said. "We were able to put a lot of pressure on them and sent a lot of pucks to the net."

Marleau intercepted a pass from behind the net and passed it up to Michalek, who beat Turco to the upper corner with 5:28 left in the second.

McCauley's goal came with 3:59 left in the period, as the puck hit off Turco's glove, and deflected off Modano's stick into the net.

"When you can't make plays under pressure and you're not willing to win 1-on-1 battles, then I guess that's the game," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "Then the bounces. I'd like to see how many bounces go to the team playing with more desperation. That's kind of the way it happened tonight."

Hagman and Barnes each scored early in the third period to close within 5-3. Barnes knocked in a shot after Steve Ott chipped the puck directly over the net.

Michalek added an empty-netter in the final minute.

Notes: Stars D Philippe Boucher returned to the ice after missing three games with a sore knee, and recorded a point in his third straight and seventh in eight games. ... McCauley has scored four of his 10 goals against the Stars, including his last two. ... Marleau recorded a point in his third straight following a six-game scoreless stretch. ... Stars C Jason Arnott's 23 goals against the Sharks are his most against any team. ... The Sharks had their 12th sellout one game after attracting their season low. ... The Stars have outscored their opponents 33-22 over the last 10 games. ... Jokinen has an assist in four straight.

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