Stars Rally for Point, but Fall to Sharks in OT

Thursday, 02.6.2014 / 1:36 AM CT / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
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Stars Rally for Point, but Fall to Sharks in OT

The Dallas Stars couldn’t get a win in the final game of their road trip, but they did pick up a point in a 2-1 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks Wednesday night at SAP Center. The point pulled the Stars, who finished their road trip 2-0-1, to within one point of the final wild card playoff spot in the Western Conference.

“It was a good point,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “If you let go of the sting of the extra point, and take a look at the road trip, getting five of six points and playing the way we did, you’ve got to be happy.”

The Stars, playing on the second night of a back-to-back, rolled out a solid game. They survived an early push from San Jose and held the Sharks, who came into the game leading the league in shots per game (35) to just 21, including none for most of the third period. They overcame a 1-0 deficit, getting a goal from Valeri Nichushkin early in the third period to tie the game. The penalty kill delivered two big kills late in the game when San Jose had chances to win it in regulation on the power play.

“They come out hard and it was nice that we were able to keep it 0-0 the first period. That’s always kind of the goal. After that, I think we played better than them,” said Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who stopped 19 of 21 shots. “It was a good comeback but it still hurts, hurts to lose.”

San Jose, which won for just the second time in the last six games (2-4-0) got the overtime winner from Tommy Wingels, who got open in front of the Dallas net and scored from close range 1:52 into the extra period.

"I thought our forecheck was a lot better tonight creating opportunities,” said Wingels. “Still not as many shots or scoring chances as we would like. Is every game going to be four or five goals? No, but we can't have one or two for this long-- it's something we never talked about, but we're still happy with the win and we have [to win] one more before the break."

The two teams played a scoreless first period. The Sharks had some good early pressure, but weren’t able to get anything by Lehtonen, who was sharp in goal over the first 20 minutes. The Stars had their best chance with 6:28 left in the period, but Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock made a slick glove save on Jamie Benn’s shot from the bottom of the right circle.

Neither team was able to generate much in the second period until the Sharks finally got the game’s first goal late in the frame. Scott Hannan put a shot on net from the point and Martin Havlat tipped it past Lehtonen to put San Jose ahead 1-0 with 1:54 left in the second.

The Stars drew even at the 6:27 mark of the third when Trevor Daley set up Nichushkin, who whipped the puck into the net from the slot to make it a 1-1 game.

The Stars’ penalty kill came up big, thwarting two San Jose power plays in the final half of the third period to keep it a 1-1 game.

“I thought our penalty kill was fabulous. It really was,” said Ruff. “They were aggressive. It was like a dog on a bone. They were relentless. It almost looked like we were going to have the better opportunities killing.”

That helped get the game to overtime, getting the Stars an important point in the playoff race.

“When you come in this building, it’s always going to be a tough night, especially on a back-to-back,” said Stars defenseman Jordie Benn. “So we just wanted to come in here and keep things pretty simple, work hard and I guess we stole one point. Two would have been nice, but we got one.”

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 DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 55 35 16 4 153 127 74
2 DAL 52 33 14 5 169 137 71
3 STL 54 29 17 8 128 128 66
4 LAK 51 31 17 3 135 117 65
5 SJS 50 27 19 4 145 132 58
6 COL 54 27 23 4 146 148 58
7 NSH 52 24 20 8 130 137 56
8 ANA 49 24 18 7 106 113 55
9 MIN 51 23 19 9 126 122 55
10 ARI 51 24 21 6 136 156 54
11 VAN 51 20 19 12 119 138 52
12 CGY 49 22 24 3 129 145 47
13 WPG 50 22 25 3 129 143 47
14 EDM 52 21 26 5 130 151 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 52 28 30 16 58
T. Seguin 52 27 28 12 55
J. Klingberg 52 8 35 17 43
J. Spezza 52 18 22 5 40
P. Sharp 52 16 24 -1 40
C. Eakin 52 10 13 2 23
A. Goligoski 52 3 20 20 23
M. Janmark 52 10 9 13 19
A. Roussel 50 8 10 6 18
V. Nichushkin 49 6 12 8 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 20 9 5 .910 2.46
K. Lehtonen 13 5 0 .908 2.82
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