Mar 8, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars center Tomas Vincour (81) prepares to take the shot during the overtime shootout against the San Jose Sharks at the American Airlines Center. Vincour would score the only shootout goal and the Stars would win the game 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

Game Reaction: Vincour, Lehtonen Shine in 4-3 (SO) Win Over Sharks

What Happened:

1st Period: The first period was a story of two halves. The Stars controlled and out shot the visiting San Jose Sharks for the first ten or so minutes, but things were flipped around for the second half. The Stars went through a rough stretch of being out shot 11-0 but the goaltending of Kari Lehtonen kept the score all tied up at 0-0.

2nd Period: The Sharks carried the momentum over into the middle frame, and kept it up until a huge stop from Lehtonen led directly to a Michael Ryder breakaway, who buried the puck in the net while fighting off two San Jose defenders. It looked like the Stars would take the 1-0 lead into the final period, but Torrey Mitchell found his way into the Dallas zone and made a fool of Alex Goligoski and Kari Lehtonen, sneaking the puck into the net with less than two second remaining in the period.

3rd Period: The Sharks late goal in the second took the air out of the sails of the Stars, and things didn’t get much better when Patrick Marleau scored just 25 seconds into the period, giving the Stars a 2-1 lead in the blink of an eye. Jamie Benn and the Stars answered back six minutes later to tie the game a 2-2. Dallas had a power play opportunity after the goal, but could not convert. The game looked like it was heading for overtime before Joe Pavelski found the rebound and put the puck past Lehtonen, putting the Sharks up 3-2 with just 3:32 remaining in the game. Desperation set in as the clock ticked down, but with 1:15 left in the game, Tomas Vincour found the puck in a scrum in front of the net and forced it over the goal line, tying the game a 3-3 and forcing the game into overtime.

OT/SO: The overtime period featured a shortage of chances for the Stars as Michael Ryder took a holding penalty, putting the Stars on the defensive for most of the period. They survived the period and forced the shootout. Where Lehtonen continued his brilliance, and Tomas Vincour scored the only goal, earning the hero status for tonight’s game. Giving the Stars a miraculous 4-3 victory.

What It Means:

The Stars are on fire. The AAC was alive, and the playoffs are looking more and more attainable with every single passing game. It was an incredible effort by the Stars despite all the injuries that cropped up before and during the game. Lehtonen was incredible tonight and is solidifying himself as an elite NHL goalie and for the defensive corp to hold up after being knocked down to just four players is absolutely heroic. The Dallas Stars aren’t very flashy but they are showing what a team can do together under the right system and under the right conditions. The Stars continue to sit on top of the Pacific Division, three points ahead of the Phoenix Coyotes, four points ahead of the Sharks, and five points over the Kings. This incredible run is being bolstered by help from every corner of the NHL, with the teams chasing the Stars losing night in and night out. The streak now reaches 8-0-1, a truly incredible stretch that every Stars fan wants to see continue. Game notes:

  • Sheldon Souray and Mark Fistric were injured in tonight’s game, slashing the defensive corp down to four men. Goligoski, Larsen, Daley, and Robidas were heroic tonight, putting up huge minutes and doing they’re best with what they had.
  • Kari Lehtonen stopped 45 shots tonight. Not counting the five shots he stopped in the shootout. Ridiculous.
  • Michael Ryder. 29 goals. He’s also on an eight game point streak. What a guy.

What’s Next:

The Stars look to continue this streak Saturday night versus the Anaheim Ducks in Dallas. The atmosphere tonight was incredible. If it is possible for you to be at the Stars game Saturday, then get out there. They need you and we need them. Get to the AAC and see your first place Dallas Stars.

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Tags: Anaheim Ducks Jamie Benn Joe Pavelski Joe Thornton Kari Lehtonen Mark Fistric Michael Ryder San Jose Sharks Sheldon Souray Tomas Vincour Torrey Mitchell

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