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Resilient Stars Down Sharks in Shootout

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

There were a few times the Dallas Stars could have cracked in Thursday night’s game against the San Jose Sharks. But they didn’t. The Stars showed a lot of resiliency, overcoming a goal nine seconds into the game and then two other deficits before topping the Sharks 4-3 in a shootout.

The Stars, who played well and lost in Colorado Tuesday night, got the result they deserved Thursday night against the Sharks at American Airlines Center.

“We still had that sour taste from Colorado and as a team we played well,” said Stars forward Alex Chiasson, who had an assist and the shootout winner. “We battled through adversity tonight and showed a lot. We gave up a goal right away, but we kept with our game plan. That made a huge difference, and our goalie played great. We battled through the whole game and good results happen.”

The Stars gave up a quick goal for the second time in the last three games. In Minnesota last weekend they allowed a goal 12 seconds in and never recovered. On this night, they bounced back.

“That’s a couple of games where the first shot has gone in, and it gets you on your heels, but I like the fact that we dug in and we’re able to keep coming at them,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “It’s the sign of a team that has a lot of will to win.”

The Stars snapped a two-game losing streak with the victory, and handed the Sharks (6-0-1) their first defeat of the season.

“It’s not about the streak. It’s about living for today,” said Sharks coach Todd McLellan. “We’re disappointed we didn’t get the two points. We probably didn’t play well enough. We weren’t as crisp and as fast as we have been earlier and sometimes a good team can do that to you. You’ve got to give them full marks. They played a fast, hard game.”

The Stars did not get off to a fast start. The Sharks opened the scoring just nine seconds into the game when Tyler Kennedy beat Stars goaltender Dan Ellis with a shot from the right circle off the rush.

“Oh man, I’ve got to stop the first shot one of these days,” said Ellis, who stopped 32 of 35 shots in the game and was a perfect 3-3 in the shootout. “The good thing was that I ended up stopping the last one.”

“A goal like that can set you back and rattle you, but he battled through the whole game,” said Ruff. “He gave us a great performance at the end.”

The Stars got even with 3:16 left in the first period when Tyler Seguin scored off the rebound of a Stephane Robidas shot.

But just 1:08 later the Sharks had the lead back when Matthew Nieto scored off the rush to put the Sharks up 2-1 with 2:08 left in the period.

The Stars tied it again early in the second period. Trevor Daley joined the rush and scored on the rebound after Cody Eakin’s shot was blocked by Sharks defenseman Matt Irwin.

“I went to the net and good things happen,” Daley said. “It went off my foot and in. I’ll take it.”

San Jose took a 3-2 lead with 7:29 left in the second when Patrick Marleau scored on a wrap-around, but the Stars tied it just 27 seconds later when Eakin knocked home the rebound of a Chiasson shot off the rush.

The Stars came close to taking the lead late in the second, but Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi stopped Eakin on a shorthanded breakaway.

The Stars had 1:00 power play time early in the third, but couldn’t take advantage. San Jose went on the power play midway through the third, but the Stars were able to kill it off to keep it a 3-3 game.

The Stars came close to taking the lead with just over seven minutes left in the game, but Jamie Benn’s shot off the rush hit the crossbar.

The game went to overtime, where the Sharks went on a power play with 1:02 remaining, but the Stars killed it off to get the game to a shootout.

In the shootout, Chiasson scored the lone goal for the Stars, beating Niemi with a wrist shot.

“I always like to come with speed,” Chiasson said. “I came with my head up, saw a hole and let her go.”

Ellis stopped Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Brent Burns to seal the win for the Stars, who improved to 3-3-0 on the season.

“I think the last two games we’ve played the way we wanted to,” said Eakin. “There’s still room for growth and improvement, but the way we’ve played the last two games guys are feeling good. We’ve been playing fast and making it hard on the other teams. To get that win tonight was big.”

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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