SAN JOSE, Calif. --
San Jose and Dallas played for Pacific Division bragging rights Saturday afternoon with the clubs entering the contest tied at 38 points. On the strength of back-to-back power-play goals in the second period, the Stars defeated the Sharks 4-2 at HP Pavilion.
Evgeni Nabokov and Marty Turco took top billing in the nets. Even with the injury to Alexei Semenov (broken finger), Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson dressed seven blueliners, allowing Matt Carle back into the lineup.
Strong forechecking in the offensive zone forced Dallas’ Nicklas Grossman into an early penalty, but nothing materialized for San Jose.
There had already been one brief scuffle between the clubs when just five minutes into the game, Stephane Robidas sent Patrick Marleau
into the boards. Both clubs gathered along the end boards with a lot of pushing and shoving. Marcel Goc and Jussi Jokinen were each given two minutes in the box.
The physical play continued in the first as Steve Bernier plowed into Mike Ribeiro, leaving the Dallas forward flat on the ice. When Brenden Morrow retaliated with an elbow, the referee blew the whistle, giving San Jose their second power play.
This time they would connect. Taking the puck to the left of Turco, Devin Setoguchi turned and flipped it toward the traffic in front and it bounced in for the opening goal.
Following the goal, Craig Rivet responded to a Stars hit and was giving four minutes in penalties and a 10 minute misconduct. Team Teal was facing four minutes shorthanded, but it was not a problem for the NHL's No. 1 penalty-killing unit and Dallas could not tie the contest.
An interference call gave San Jose a late power play and Joe Thornton
almost made it 2-0 on an improbable stickhandling move, but his shot rang off the post.
San Jose would have to settle for the one goal lead at the first break.
The lead would not last five minutes into the second period. On the goal, Brendan Morrow and Patrick Marleau
were chasing down a loose puck to the left of Nabokov. Marc-Edouard Vlasic
came in to play it and the puck bounced off his stick and over the back of the net to the right side of the crease of Nabokov. A scrum for the loose puck ensued and it somehow was knocked across the line.
San Jose quickly responded courtesy of Patrick Rissmiller. On the tally, Rissmille carried the puck behind the net and looked to center it when he came out the far side. The puck took the fortuitous bounce and gave San Jose a quirky goal and the 2-1 lead.
A subsequent call to Christian Ehrhoff gave Dallas 1:43 of five-on-three time and they quickly converted. 24 seconds into the two-man advantage, Ribeiro corralled the puck when it squirted loose to the right of the crease and lifted it above a sprawled Nabokov. The score was tied at two.
The remaining 1:09 of the second power play was eliminated when Antti Miettinen was called for tripping. During the brief Sharks power play, Thornton set up shop in the offensive zone and just missed with several tight passes.
Dallas would take a late second period lead when Patrick Marleau
was given four minutes for highsticking. The penalty killers did their part on the first two minutes, but a point shot by Mike Modano was deflected in the high slot by Miettinen and Dallas had their first lead of the game. They would take that 3-2 lead into the second intermission.
Three minutes into the final period, Nabokov came up with his top save of the game. Dallas had a slow developing three-on-two that resulted with what appeared to be an open left half of the net. That was before Nabokov swung over just in time to make the heroic save.
San Jose was pressing hard for the tying tally in the third. First, hard work by Setoguchi set Thornton up on the doorstep, but Turco made the stop. Then a pass by Marleau through the crease to Pavelski hit the post. The ensuing pass through the crease back to back to Marleau just missed his stick for an easy tap-in.
The Sharks pulled Nabokov with 1:17 remaining, but Dallas broke up the San Jose's scoring drive and cleared the puck. A foot raced ensued and the Stars recovered the puck along the boards. Steve Cott ended up with the it and scored on the open net at 19:19. That gave Dallas the 4-2 lead and the victory. LINES
Goc - Marleau - Bernier
Michalek - Thornton - Setoguchi
Rissmiller - Mitchell - Grier
Brown - Pavelski
Murray - Ozolinsh
Rivet - Ehrhoff
Vlasic - McLaren
Nabokov - PatzoldNEXT GAME
The Sharks will travel to Anaheim for a one game road trip to take on the Ducks on Sunday at 5:00 PM (Pacific). The game will be broadcast on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX FM, Sharks Radio Affiliates and SJSHARKS.com.