Dallas Stars Felled By Superior Goaltending, Lose To Sharks 5-2


5. 120. Final. 2. 119

The Dallas Stars (27-23-8) dropped a crucial game to the San Jose Sharks (30-22-8) on Thursday night, losing 5-2 at American Airlines Center. In a matchup of playoff hopefuls and former division rivals, the Sharks prevailed with superior goaltending. Antti Niemi stopped 37 of 39, while Stars starter Kari Lehtonen stopped 14 of 17 before being pulled in the second period.


The Sharks came fast out of the gate, as Marc-Edouard Vlasic capitalized on a pass from Logan Couture. Couture made an impressive move on Alex Goligoski, enough to get the space to hit Vlasic in position to beat Lehtonen at point blank range. The rest of the period saw a lot of speed through the neutral zone, and relatively unorganized play from both sides. Lots of long passes and puck battles, with equal success for both sides. The only real chance for the Stars came when Jamie Benn won the puck on a shift change, who then fed Erik Cole on a rush to the net. Niemi made a couple good stops, and Dallas headed into the locker room with a one-goal deficit. The Sharks had an 11-10 shot advantage after twenty.

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  • Lehtonen’s night would come to an early end after the Sharks opened a 3-0 lead in the early second. He allowed three goals on 17 shots. Both of San Jose’s second period goals would be credited to Andrew Desjardins, the first being a redirect of Tomas Hertl’s shot, and the second being a wrister from the high slot. Hertl’s second goal was a particularly disheartening allowance by Lehtonen, as Desjardins took his time with the shot in a clean line-of-sight. Jhonas Enroth relieved the starter with 13:46 remaining, and stopped all seven shots he faced in the frame. On the power play after Joe Thornton took a seat for tripping, Dallas finally got on the board when Trevor Daley punched in a rebound from Benn. After pulling the deficit down to two, the Stars showed a little life and held the edge in shots for most of the rest of the period. Ryan Garbutt took a dumb elbowing penalty, although the Stars killed off the man advantage. Soon after, a seemingly irritated Lindy Ruff moved Cole moved down to the second forward line, and Garbutt’s night was over prematurely as well. The period would end with both teams having put 24 pucks on net.

    The Stars would find their gallop in the third, peppering Niemi with shots and near chances. Had one or two plays been just a little cleaner, and this one would’ve went to Dallas. Colton Sceviour couldn’t settle a pass in front of Niemi, and Daley also fanned on a beautiful setup from Spezza. After back-to-back power plays yielded no results, Cole would break through with 2:16 remaining to make it 3-2 San Jose. The game quickly went back out of reach, though, as Patrick Marleau and Tommy Wingels both scored empty netters.

    Thoughts and Observations

    Another must-win scenario, another disappointing outing for the guys in Victory Green. Lehtonen’s performance is perhaps the most disappointing, as he must be top-notch every night if Dallas is going to contend while Tyler Seguin recovers. Enroth was solid in relief, although Dallas controlled most of the action upon his entrance and he only faced nine shots.

    It’s funny how the Stars can’t win when they shoot the puck more. They outshot the Sharks, 39-28, but it seemed as though their shot quality was lacking. They looked a little antsy, and it would help to calm the hands and make the most of their chances, even if it means passing on the occasional look.

    The loss drops Dallas to 27-23-8, six points behind Calgary and San Jose for the final Wild Card spot.

    If there was a way for Garbutt’s leash to get even shorter, it just did. No telling just how irritated Ruff was after the foolish elbowing penalty, but it’s clear he’s grown tired of Garbutt’s antics.

    Spezza went 9-for-13 in faceoffs against Thornton, and Jamie Benn went 3-for-3. Overall, Dallas won 43 faceoffs compared to San Jose’s 38.

    Brendan Ranford registered two hits in 9:19 TOI in his NHL debut.

    Daley’s goal gave him 28 points on the season, a career high.

    The Dallas Stars will host the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. CST. Check back to Blackout Dallas for more news and updates!