The Dallas Stars concluded a three-game California road trip with a 5-4 shootout victory over the San Jose Sharks last night. Dallas’s victory brought the Sharks seven-game win streak to a close, and took the first at-home victory from the Sharks since March 9 when San Jose fell to the St. Louis Blues in overtime.
It was a big night for rookie Alex Chaisson, who scored two of the Stars four regulation goals, just two nights after landing the first NHL goal of his career against Anaheim. Chaisson was called up from Dallas’ Austin-based AHL team, the Texas Stars, on Tuesday, and was on the ice Wednesday against Anaheim.
The game was the epitome of a back and forth battle. Twice the Sharks managed a two-goal advantage over the Stars, but the Stars pushed back each time to the tie.
San Jose launched into the night’s goal-scoring just eight minutes into the first period. Tommy Wingles claimed his fourth goal of the season after a pass from Logan Couture missed its intended target in Patrick Marleau. Wingles snapped up the puck and launched it into the net behind goalie Kari Lehtonen. Back in February, Wingles was injured alongside Phillip Larsen after an intense long-distance race for the puck that ended in dramatic collisions with the end boards.
The Sharks pulled ahead for the first two-goal lead just three minutes into the second period with a wrist shot from Brent Burns. The lead wouldn’t last long though, as Eric Nystrom put the Stars on the board for the first time in the game with a close-range wrist shot fed from Vernon Fiddler. Only 26 seconds later, Chaisson took his first goal of the night, bringing the Stars into a dead heat with the Sharks. The Sharks fought back strong throughout the period though, and landed another two goals before the second intermission. TJ Gagliardi slipped the puck past Lehtonen with a backhanded shot at 7:48 in the period, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic put the Sharks up two goals again with a wrist shot at 15:31.
The third period belonged to the Stars, with Alex Chaisson leading the push to tie the game. At 6:07, Chaisson’s wrist shot slid the puck past San Jose goalie Antti Niemi, bringing the Stars within one. A speedy three minutes later, Loui Eriksson scored his tenth of the season, bringing the teams dead even yet again. Dallas’ defense fought off a persistent Sharks team in the remaining 10 minutes of the game to carry the match into overtime.
Despite valiant efforts, neither team could capitalize in the additional five-minute overtime, pushing the game to a shootout. Both Lehtonen and Niemi stood strong in the net, each denying the first shootout attempts by San Jose’s Logan Couture and Dallas’ Matt Fraser. Dan Boyle was up second for the Sharks, but would be denied the one-up opportunity by Lehtonen. Benn skated second for the Stars, and slammed a shot past Niemi, giving Dallas its first lead of the night. Burns was the last shooter for San Jose, determined to continue the game, but was denied by a fast-responding Lehtonen who stopped Burns’ shot and refused to move until the final whistle blew.
The Stars continue to battle their California counterparts with a game against the Los Angeles Kings tomorrow night. The game begins at 7:30 p.m. at American Airlines Center and will be broadcast on Fox Sports Southwest Plus.