Dallas Stars: Joe Thornton

Postgame quotes: 'It stings'

April, 3, 2012
Here are some postgame quotes following the Dallas Stars’ 5-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks Tuesday night.

Stars captain Brenden Morrow on the loss

“It stings. You’d like to be able to control your own fate. We had that tonight, we let it go and now we are going to need a lot of help.”

Stars coach Glen Gulutzan on where the game turned

“I thought the shift after the 2-1 goal, when we went up 2-1. We made a mistake with coverage. It’s always the shift right after a goal you need a good shift, and we just didn’t get it. It got them right back in the game. We had no chance to build off that momentum of that goal.”

Gulutzan on moving forward

“You have to move forward and now we need help. You just start preparing and get ready for Nashville. It’s business as usual. There’s no other way to look at it. It’s business as usual. We’ve got to go win a game.”

Gulutzan on the Stars missing on a five-on-three power play

“We didn’t execute there. With 19 seconds left (in the first period) we got a shot off, but just didn’t execute and we lost a little track of time. Going in between periods we had things set up, but we didn’t execute.”

Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas on special teams play

“You’ve got to score on the power play. That’s what they did. They got their third goal on the power play, and that can be a big difference in the hockey game. We score on the five-on-three, and we’ve got a five-on-four after that and we get another one, maybe it’s a different game. But we didn’t . Sometimes you can win games on your power play, but it didn’t happen tonight. “

Sharks coach Todd McLellan on sweeping the home-and-home series with the Stars

“The two games against Dallas were the two biggest games of the year. We’re in a playoff series, we talked about that. When you can win back-to-back games in a playoff series – one at home and one on the road – you usually set yourself up pretty well. Very big, considering that four points went into our account and none went into theirs.”

Sharks center Joe Thornton on Antti Niemi stopping Jamie Benn on a breakaway late in the game to keep the Sharks ahead by one goal

“Huge, if he doesn’t make that it’s a different game. It’s a set play. We’ve seen him do it in the past. We just kind of fell asleep. He’s a world-class goalie and he makes that save. Saved our bacon again tonight.”
With three games left in the season the Dallas Stars are now on the outside looking in at a playoff spot. The Stars fell to ninth place in the Western Conference Saturday, falling 3-0 to the Sharks in San Jose.

The Sharks, who entered the game one point behind the Stars, started strong, scoring in the first minute of the game and controlling play for most of the night.

“We needed to put more pucks on their net, create some more residual chances there. They had a lot of jump and did it to us,” Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. “They got that one early and it kind of set us back. The early jump was kind of the difference.”

Sharks center Joe Thornton set up a wide open Joe Pavelski, who beat Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen with a shot from the slot just 58 seconds into the game to give San Jose an early 1-0 lead.

The Stars put the Sharks on three power play s in the first period and San Jose cashed in on the third one. Martin Havlat set up Jason Demers, who scored from the left circle late in the period to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead.

It was not the first period the Stars needed.

“Our start, for one thing. I think they doubled up on us in shots early in the game. We wanted to be disciplined and stay out of the penalty box. We didn’t do that. They made us pay on the power play,” Stars captain Brenden Morrow said. “Playing with more desperation. Our backs are against the wall. It was kind of a must win for us and we didn’t get the start we needed.”

Pavelski added another goal in the second period. Antti Niemi stopped a total of 22 shots for the Sharks, who outshot the Stars 34-22 in the game.

“It was the biggest game of the year for us,” Thornton said. “We started well and I though we competed hard all the way through. It was a good job by us.”

The Stars have lost six of their last nine games and went 1-3-0 on their just concluded four-game road trip. They fell to 1-11-2 in the second games of back-to backs.

“I was a little bit worried about this game coming in. We’ve never been good in back-to-backs,” Gulutzan said. “The whole road trip, I was most disappointed with the Calgary game (5-4 loss). We’d be sitting in a different situation in a winnable hockey game.”

The Stars are one point behind the eighth place Sharks, who will be at American Airlines Center Tuesday to conclude the home-and-home series.

“We’ve got to move on. We’ve got a big game against this team Tuesday,” Gulutzan said. “Our fate is in our own hands, still, and at this juncture of the season that is what you have to focus on.”

The Stars have three games remaining and it’s a tough schedule. They host San Jose onTuesday, play at Nashville on Thursday and then wrap up the season with a game against St. Louis on Saturday at American Airlines Center.

“We are where we are and, like I said, we still control our own destiny,” Gulutzan said. “We don’t need someone to beat somebody else. We just need to win our last three games.”

And that quest starts Tuesday with the rematch against the Sharks.

“We’ve just got to bounce back,” Dallas defenseman Stephane Robidas said. “We’ve got to learn from what we did wrong tonight. We’re playing the same team, so it should be fresh in our memory. It won’t be a different system, we know how they play and what they’re trying to do. It’s a good team, but it’s a team we can beat.”


*Stars defenseman Mark Fistric returned to the lineup after missing the last five games with an abdominal strain.

*Stars forward Toby Petersen was in the lineup after being a healthy scratch the past 15 games. He played 4:46 in the game.

*Radek Dvorak (ankle), Eric Nystrom (leg) and Tom Wandell (illness) were out for Dallas.

*Reilly Smith, Adam Pardy and Jordie Benn were healthy scratches for Dallas.

Stars drop to ninth after loss to Sharks

March, 31, 2012

The Dallas Stars fell to ninth place in the Western Conference after a 3-0 loss in San Jose on Saturday night and trail the eighth-place Sharks by a point. The two teams meet again Tuesday in Dallas.

The loss was the sixth in the last nine games for the Stars, who were outshot 34-22. The Stars, who have three games left, trail seventh-place Phoenix by two points. The Stars also trail Pacific Division leader Los Angeles by two points.

Joe Pavelski scored two goals for San Jose. Sharks goalie Antti Niemi stopped 22 shots for his sixth shutout of the season. Kari Lehtonen made 31 saves for Dallas.

First period

The Sharks struck in the first minute of the game to take a 1-0 lead. Joe Thornton sent the puck into the slot to Joe Pavelski, who whipped the puck past Kari Lehtonen at the 58 second mark.

The Sharks had three power plays in the period and cashed in on the third one to take a 2-0 lead late in the period. Martin Havlat sent a pass across the crease to Jason Demers, who scored from the right circle with 1:22 left in the first.

The Stars had one power play in the period and had a great scoring chance, but Justin Braun got a stick on Michael Ryder’s attempt on a wide open side of the net.

The Sharks outshot the Stars 12-6 in the period.

Second period

The Sharks extended their lead to 3-0 with a goal while the teams were playing at four-on-four. Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s shot from the point was tipped home by Joe Pavelski at the 9:39 mark of the second.

Stars coach Glen Gulutzan did a lot of line juggling in the second and the Stars did create some chances late in the period, but Sharks goalie Antti Niemi made a couple of sharp saves to keep them off the board.

Stars forward Jake Dowell and Sharks forward Andrew Desjardins dropped the gloves in the period.

San Jose outshot the Stars 15-8 in the second and a 27-14 advantage through two periods.

Third period

There was no scoring in the period.

The Stars did kill of a lengthy San Jose five-on-three power play.

Stars forward Ryan Garbutt and San Jose’s Torrey Mitchell dropped the gloves in the period.

Stars lineup



Lehtonen (starter)

Sharks hammer Stars, 5-2

February, 3, 2012
The Dallas Stars’ woes in the second game of back-to-backs continued Thursday night in San Jose. The Stars lost 5-2 to the Sharks, falling to 0-8-1 this season in the second game of back-to-backs.

It didn’t help matters that they ran into a San Jose team that was clicking on all cylinders. The Sharks outshot the Stars 37-21, including 28-11 through the first two periods as they built a 4-1 lead in the game. San Jose won an astounding 40 of 52 (77 percent) in the game.

“I thought they played a real good game start to finish,” Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said of the Sharks. “I thought a good indication were those faceoffs, manhandling us on the draws. I thought they were at the top of their game.

“We didn’t win any battles starting from the faceoff circles to corner. The way they were moving the puck around, we were just chasing it. We were a step behind.”

The Stars (26-22-2) fell three points behind Minnesota for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

“There were a lot of frustrating things tonight. Obviously we didn’t get the result we wanted,” said Stars forward Steve Ott. “There were a lot of little breakdowns. Our faceoff percentage was [bad] and when that happens you are going to chase the puck a lot. We made some costly mistakes that hurt our chances of being in the game.”

The Stars, coming off a 6-2 win in Anaheim on Wednesday, were under the gun in the first 20 minutes Thursday. The Sharks outshot the Stars 15-7 on their way to building a 2-0 lead on an even-strength goal by Michael Handzus and a power play tally by Joe Pavelski.

Only some big saves by Richard Bachman kept it from getting out of hand early. He made several quality stops, including a save on a breakaway by Pavelski and then a second stop on Pavelski’s rebound attempt.

“He made some huge saves,” said Gulutzan. “I thought the first period could have been 5-0. He made some real huge saves.”

The Stars got back in the game on the scoreboard when Ott busted in on net with Dallas on the power play and Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle tried to clear the puck away and accidentally put it in his own net.

But the Sharks got their fourth power play of the night a short time later and cashed in when Patrick Marleau tipped home a Brent Burns centering pass to extend the San Jose lead to 3-1 with five minutes left in the second. The Sharks ended up 2-5 on the power play in the game.

“We took a lot of penalties and they have a lot talent and they want to get on the power play,” Dallas defenseman Stephane Robidas said. “When you give them that many power plays they are eventually going to capitalize on it. That’s exactly what happened.”

Less than two minutes after Marleau's goal, Pavelski picked off a Nicklas Grossman pass in the Dallas zone and set up Joe Thornton, who had an easy tap-in to give the Sharks a 4-1 lead.

Jamie Benn scored early in the third to cut the lead to 4-2, but Ryan Clowe scored later in the period to make it a 5-2 game.


*Stars defenseman Nicklas Grossman, who missed Wednesday’s game with the flu, played on Thursday. The Stars dressed seven defensemen and eleven forwards.

*Jake Dowell, Toby Petersen and Adam Pardy were healthy scratches.

*Stars center Jamie Benn has scored goals in consecutive games since returning from his appendectomy.

*Stars forward Steve Ott has consecutive multi-point games.

*The Stars were 1-2 on the power play Thursday and are 2-5 in their first two games since the break.

*The Stars were 3-5 on the penalty kill.

*Benn lost all seven of his faceoffs. Mike Ribeiro won one of eleven.

*The Stars are 0-3-0 against San Jose this season and have been outscored 14-5.

Back-t0-back woes

The Stars are now 4-12-2 in back-to-back games this season, including 0-8-1 in second games. Excluding the extra goal awarded for a shootout victory, the Stars have been outscored 36-14 in those second games.

Stars fall to Sharks, 5-2

February, 2, 2012
The Dallas Stars quest for three straight wins fell short in San Jose Thursday night as they lost 5-2 to the Sharks. The Stars are now three points behind Minnesota for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Stars are now 0-8-1 in the second game of back-to-backs this season. Steve Ott and Jamie Scored for the Stars. Richard Bachman stopped 32 of 37 shots. San Jose outshot the Stars 37-21 and won 40 of 52 (77 percent) faceoffs.

First period

The Sharks struck 4:42 into the game to take the early lead. A Brent Burns shot from the point deflected off Sharks forward Michal Handzus and past Stars goalie Richard Bachman.

Bachman made some big stops to keep it a one-goal game. He made a nice stop on a blast from Joe Thornton and then stopped Joe Pavelski on a breakaway and then denied Pavelski’s rebound bid.

But the Sharks extended the lead by taking advantage of the game’s first power play when Pavelski’s shot from the point made its way through traffic and past Bachman at the 16:32 mark.

The Sharks outshot the Stars 15-7 in the period.

Nicklas Grossman, who missed Wednesday night's game with the flu, was back in the lineup. The Stars dressed seven defensemen scratched Jake Dowell from the fourth line.

Second period

The Stars killed off the remaining 40 seconds of a San Jose power play to open the period and then thwarted another full Sharks power play a short time later.

The Stars then got a couple of power plays and cashed in on the second one to cut the San Jose to 2-1. As Steve Ott was trying to bust in on net, Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle tried to clear the puck away and ended up it firing it into his own net at 12:41 of the second.

But the Sharks went on their fourth power play less than a minute later and scored to take a 3-1 lead. Patrick Marleau tipped in a Brent Burns centering pass at the 14:59 mark.

Less than two minutes later, Nicklas Grossman turned the puck over to Joe Pavelski, who set up Joe Thornton, who had an easy tap in to give the Sharks a 4-1 lead.

The Sharks outshot the Stars 13-4 in the second period and had a 28-11 advantage through 40 minutes.

Third period

Jamie Benn scored off a rebound at 6:22 of the third to cut San Jose’s lead to 4-2, but that was as close as the Stars would get.

Ryane Clowe scored later in the period to give the Sharks a 5-2 lead.

The Stars outshot the Sharks 10-9 in the third. San Jose had a 37-21 advantage for the game.

Stars lineup



Scratched: Dowell, Petersen, Pardy
Injured: None

Stars get off to bumpy start on road trip

December, 9, 2011
The Dallas Stars were hoping for a strong start to their five-game road trip, but they didn’t get it in San Jose Thursday night as they fell 5-2 to the San Jose Sharks.

The Stars fell behind 2-0 in the first 82 seconds of the game, rallied to tie but then the Sharks blew the game open with three quick goals in the second half of the second period.

“They poured it to us and put bodies in front. They were going hard to the net,” said Stars captain Brenden Morrow, who had a goal and assist in his return from a back injury. “When you throw pucks at the net and you’ve got people banging and crashing, good things happen. We didn’t do it enough and they did.”

The Stars were outshot 36-20 in the game, including 26-10 over the final 40 minutes. Andrew Raycroft played the first two periods and stopped 20 of 25 shots. Richard Bachman, making his second NHL appearance, played the third period and made 11 saves on 11 shots.

“I thought he was real clean in the third,” Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said of Bachman. “It’s not easy to come into those situations. They had some good chances and he made some saves. We’ll have a decision to make tomorrow on who is going to start in LA. We’ll take a look at everything and make our decision.”

The loss was the fifth in the last six road games for the Stars, who are now 6-7-0 away from home this season.

“We’re going to come back to work tomorrow and do our best to forget about this game,” said Morrow. “We talked about it before we left Dallas that we’re going to take each game individually and try not to look ahead. We’re going to let this one sink in, be [ticked] off for the night and come back to work tomorrow.

The Stars got off to a slow start, falling behind 2-0 in the first 1:22 of the game. After a Mike Ribeiro turnover in the San Jose zone, Sharks forward Ryane Clowe set up Logan Couture, who scored from the slot off the rush 1:07 into the game.

Just 15 seconds later the Sharks made it 2-0 when Andrew Raycroft couldn’t handle the rebound of a Justin Braun point shot and Jamie McGinn scored into an open net.

The Stars cut the lead to 2-1 when a Morrow shot from the right boards deflected off Mike Ribeiro and into the net at 13:37 of the first.

The Stars tied it at 6:30 of the second when Ribeiro sent a cross-ice pass to Morrow, who scored off a one-timer from the right circle with the Stars on the power play.

But San Jose rattled off three goals in a 6:04 span of the second to break the game open. Ryane Clowe scored off the rebound of a Joe Thornton wrap-around at the 11:53 of the second. After a Thornton faceoff win, Brad Winchester tipped home a Brent Burns point shot at the 13:48. After a Jamie Benn turnover in his own zone, Torrey Mitchell scored from the right circle with 2:03 left in the third.

“I didn’t think we played too bad,” Gulutzan said. “We got off to a rough start in the first, but we got one back late and tied it up. I didn’t mind our game up to (the third goal). After that I thought we lost our luster. I wish we could have mustered more in the third. They were hungry team tonight. We have to be better than that.”


*Stars defenseman Mark Fistric served the first game of a three-game suspension for a hit on New York Islanders forward Nino Niederreiter.

*Stars captain Brenden Morrow returned after missing six games with a back injury.

*Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski returned after missing eleven games with a broken thumb.

*Stars defenseman Trevor Daley returned after missing three games with a back injury.

*Adam Pardy and Toby Petersen were healthy scratches for Dallas.

Frustration mounts as Stars' skid hits five

November, 20, 2011

The Dallas Stars ended their scoreless drought Saturday night, but the losing streak continued. The Stars dropped their fifth straight game, falling 4-1 to the San Jose Sharks at American Airlines Center.

“It sucks. We all hate losing and we’re all very proud individuals,” said Stars forward Steve Ott. “Our work ethic has definitely been on the up slope the past two games and the only way we are going to get out of this funk is by continuing to play that way. There were a couple of breakdowns that ended up in the back of our net, but I thought our work ethic was 100 times better than it has been.”

But the results weren’t there for the Stars, who have been outscored 21-4 during the five-game slide and 16-1 over the last ten periods of play.

“You can see it (the frustration), especially the second half of the game. Our emotions are high. I think we’re just a little rattled,” said Stars goaltender Andrew Raycroft, who made 34 saves in the game and fell to 0 -4-0 on the season. “We just need to keep our heads down, work hard and get ourselves out of it that way - with lots of hard work and some patience.”

Special teams played a key role Saturday night. San Jose’s first two goals came on the power play. Once again the Stars were on the short end of the number of power plays handed out in the game. San Jose had five chances with the man advantage to two for the Stars. During their five-game slide the Stars have been on the power play nine times while their opponents have had 23 opportunities.

”I might sound like a whiny coach, but I had some beefs with the officiating when we were 11-3 and now we’re 11-8 and I still have them,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “I think we are on the wrong end of a lot of calls, but I think it is our fault. We whine like little babies throughout the game. … That’s going to change. We’re going to change that culture here. We’ve got to do it by zipping our mouths one step at a time. Refs are human and if you whine that much they are not going to give you calls. That’s the bottom line. And we’re not getting them. We’re not getting some calls and it’s our fault.”

Said Sharks coach Todd McLellan: "Prior to the game we talked about composure and discipline. We knew they'd taken a ton of penalties, they were the second-most penalized team in the league. We thought that would come into play at some point and we needed only two power-play goals. I was happy we responded physically but we were quite disciplined."

The Stars had a strong first period, outshooting the Sharks 14-10, but still found themselves down 1-0 heading into the first intermission. San Jose cashed in on its first power play chance when Joe Thornton hit pinching defenseman Brent Burns, who put the puck into the open side of the net 4:58 into the game.

The Sharks extended the lead to 2-0 by taking advantage of their third power play early in the second. A Thornton pass bounced off the skate of Stars defenseman Sheldon Souray and right onto the stick of San Jose forward Logan Couture, who beat Raycroft from point blank range.

It was a 3-0 game a little more than three minutes later when the Stars turned the puck over in their own zone and Brad Winchester scored from the slot.

San Jose made it 4-0 early in the third. Michal Handzus won a puck battle along the boards and centered the puck to Jamie McGinn, who scored from close range.

The Stars finally got on the board at the 6:22 mark of the third when Mike Ribeiro scored off the rush from the left circle, snapping the Stars scoreless drought at 194:11.

But that was it for the Stars, who took a lot of penalties out of frustration when it appeared Saturday’s game was out of reach.

“We have to play less frustrated when adversity hits. That’s going to change. I’ll tell you guys this honestly, I’ll use this forum to vent,” said Gulutzan. “I’ll be glad to go back to Saskatchewan if we don’t get out of this, but at the end of the day we’re going to do it the way we’re going to do it. We’re going to be men, we’re going to have character, we’re going to shut our mouths and we’re going to play. If that’s not good enough then so be it.”


*There were a total of 100 penalty minutes in Saturday’s game including three fights and four misconducts.

*New Stars owner Tom Gaglardi attended Saturday night’s game. He will be introduced at a press conference Monday afternoon.

*Jake Dowell and Philip Larsen were healthy scratches for the Stars.

*Saturday’s attendance was 13,711.

Sharks rout Stars, 6-0

March, 31, 2011
The Dallas Stars’ winless streak hit five games (0-2-3) with a 6-0 loss at San Jose Thursday night. The Stars remain three points out of a playoff spot with six games left in the season. The Sharks outshot the Stars 52-29. Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen was pulled early in the third period after giving up four goals on 33 shots. Andrew Raycroft played the rest of the game and stopped 17 of 19 shots.


“The first period had lots of battle in it, but it seemed we were unable to match them in the second and third. They looked like a lot fresher club than we did. That’s no excuse for us. We got beat. We got beat soundly tonight. They were full points for the win. We’ve just got to be more determined than we showed tonight. It’s not good enough. We know it’s not good enough. The consolation is we live to fight another day and on the other side of it, it was the whole group that wasn’t good enough.” – Stars coach Marc Crawford

“It was a bit of a mess, but we still live to fight another day. We play in a couple of days and these are the big ones, Los Angeles and Anaheim. We’re running out of games. We’ve been saying we’ve got games, we’ve got points but we’re running out of them. It’s starting to be do or die.” – Stars captain Brenden Morrow

“We were a little concerned coming off the four day layoff, but I think we came out and were obviously energized and the guys used the four days to their advantage.” – Sharks coach Todd McLellan


*The Stars are 1-4-3 in their last eight games.

*San Jose won the season series against the Stars. The Sharks were 3-1-2 for eight points and the Stars were 3-2-1 for seven points.

*The Stars lost the season series against each of their Pacific Division opponents.

*The 52 shots against Thursday were the most allowed by the Stars this season.

*The Stars were shut out for the fifth time this season.

*Krys Barch, Toby Petersen and Steve were the only three Dallas players to have an even rating in the game.

First period

The Sharks scored the only goal, which came with 3:48 remaining. Sharks center Joe Pavelski put a spinning backhander on net off the rush and defenseman Dan Boyle scored on the rebound.

The Sharks came close to extending it to a 2-0 lead with just under two minutes left in the period, but Stars goalie stopped Sharks forward Devin Setoguchi on a breakaway.

Brandon Segal was the lone healthy scratch for the Stars. Karlis Skrastins, Adam Burish, Nicklas Grossman and Brian Sutherby remain out with injury.

Second period

The Sharks extended their lead to 2-0 with a power play goal at the 4:30 mark of the second period. Logan Couture knocked a rebound out of the air with his hand and then backhanded the puck into the open side of the net for his 31st goal of the season.

The Stars had three straight power play chances later in the period, but couldn’t take advantage. Stars forward Loui Eriksson had an excellent chance on the third one, but Sharks goalie Antti Niemi made a sharp pad save.

San Jose made it a 3-0 game with 1:25 left in the period. Devin Setoguchi helped win a puck battle along the boards and then went to the front of the net, setting a screen on a Marc-Edouard Vlasic shot from the left point.

Third period

Sharks forward Patrick Marleau scored from the left circle off the rush at the 2:30 mark of the third, making it a 4-0 game. That ended the night for Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who gave up four goals on 33 shots.

Andrew Raycroft came in, playing in his first game since February 19. He stopped 17 of 19 shots, allowing goals by Marleau and Ben Eager.

Marleau scored on a close range backhand shot after taking a centering pass from Joe Thornton.

Eager scored off a the rush, making a nice move to go forehand to backhand between his legs before scoring his goal.

Stars lineup




Injured: Grossman (knee), Skrastins (leg), Burish (leg), Sutherby (back)

Scratches: Segal

Power play units


Penalty kill units


Sharks down Stars, 6-3

March, 15, 2011
The Dallas Stars jumped out to a 2-0 lead Tuesday night but couldn’t hold it, falling 6-3 to the San Jose Sharks at American Airlines Center.

The Stars lost their second straight game and fell to 1-2-1 on their current homestand.

Mike Ribeiro, Toby Petersen and Jamie Benn scored for the Stars, who lost forward Loui Eriksson to an upper body injury during the game. San Jose moved six points ahead of the Stars in the Pacific Division standings.


“Very often times it is a brief lapse in your play that costs you at this time of the year and that’s something that we’ll have to rectify. It was a helter-skelter game with all the head hits in the game. Sometimes you wish your team performed at the optimum level, but the emotion of the game, the energy of the game sometimes takes it away.” -- Stars coach Marc Crawford

“It was a tough game. We obviously didn’t have our best. They played last night and played a pretty solid game. They didn’t give us much. We had an early lead and they came back. … we tried to come back in the end and came up short.” -- Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas

“You hate to dwell on games long. Give it five, 10 minutes and then find a way to park the game, move on and start focusing on the next one. It’s not going to get any easier. We know that. It’s going to be extremely tough the rest of the way. It’s going to be extremely tight. We’ve got to focus on the next game at hand and keep going at that.” -- Stars forward Steve Ott


*The Stars are 3-5-2 in their last 10 home games.

*The Stars were 1-for-4 on the power play Tuesday and are 2-for-19 on the power play over the last six games.

*Jamie Benn had one goal and two assists, extending his points streak to eight games (7 goals, 4 assists).

*Benn had eight shots on goal, a career-high.

*Mike Ribeiro has 13 points (6 goals, 7 assists) in the last 13 games.

First period

The Sharks outshot Dallas 15-9 in the first 20 minutes. Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen had several sharp saves, including one on Joe Pavelski with about 3:34 left in the period.

There were no penalties in the first period and no power plays.

Brian Sutherby and Mark Fistric were scratches for the Stars. Adam Burish missed his second straight game with a lower body injury.

Second period

The Stars took the lead 3:28 into the second period when Mike Ribeiro circled out from behind the San Jose net into the slot and beat Sharks goalie Antti Niemi with a wrist shot.

The Stars lost Eriksson a short time later when he took a hit to the head during a collision in the neutral zone with Sharks defenseman Doug Murray. Ott challenged Murray to fight after the next faceoff, taking an instigator penalty and putting the Sharks on a power play.

But it was he Stars who took advantage, scoring their 10th shorthanded goal of the season. Benn circled around the San Jose net and centered the puck to Toby Petersen, who pushed it past Niemi to give Dallas a 2-0 lead at the 5:08 mark.

But the Sharks got on the board just after their power play expired when Dan Boyle’s shot from the point was deflected into the net by Joe Thornton at the 6:23 mark.

The Sharks got 58 seconds of 5-on-3 power play time later in the period and cashed in to tie the game at 2. With Brenden Morrow in the box for high sticking and Benn in for delay of game, Dany Heatley backhanded a rebound past Kari Lehtonen at the 12:40 mark of the second period.

Third period

The Sharks scored two goals 1:40 apart early in the third period to take a 4-2 lead. Joe Pavelski stole the puck from Jeff Woywitka in the corner and set up Ryane Clowe, who scored from the slot at the 1:51 mark to make it a 3-2 game.

After taking the puck from Jamal Mayers, Pavelski then set up Torrey Mitchell on 2-on-1 and Mitchell scored from close range to make it a 4-2 game at 3:31 of the third period.

The Stars got their second power play of the game seven minutes into the period and scored to make it a 4-3 game when Benn backhanded a rebound past Niemi with 11:49 remaining in the game.

The Stars got their third power play of the game with just over four minutes left, but couldn’t cash in. Lehtonen did come up with a big save, stopping Thornton on a shorthanded breakaway to keep it a 4-3 game.

Just after that Stars power play expired, Dallas got its fourth when Logan Couture took a delay of game penalty with 2:01 left. The Stars pulled Lehtonen for the extra attacker, but Thornton stole the puck from Brad Richards and scored into the empty net to make it 5-3 with 1:08 remaining. Healtley scored another empty net goal with 41 seconds left to make it a 6-3 game.

Stars lineup



Raycroft (backup)

Scratched: Sutherby, Fistric

Injured: Burish (lower body)

Power play units

Morrow-Ribeiro-Benn-Goligoski -Richards

Penalty kill units


Chatting with a Sharks blogger

December, 21, 2009

Jason Plank at the Sharks' blog Fear the Fin answered some San Jose questions in preparation for tonight's game:

Q: Give us a scouting report on the Sharks. What's good? What's bad?

The Sharks recently broke a five game losing streak with a win against Anaheim on Thursday, and during that span they had a load of trouble getting secondary scoring -- Manny Malhotra has been the only non top-six forward to find the back of the net during the last six games. It was an issue in the playoffs last season, and with Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau accounting for roughly 40% of the team's goals up to this point, there is definite room for improvement from the lower lines.

The blueline is also a concern -- we've had our eye on it since the beginning of the year, and there hasn't been enough consistency amongst the unit as a whole to confidently say that it won't pose some issues for the team moving forward. The loss of Christian Ehrhoff to Vancouver this offseason and Rob Blake's decline in number have hurt the team offensively, which has highlighted the defensive miscues that may have been masked last season with the lack of a premier shutdown defenseman.

The issue with these holes, of course, is the lack of cap space Doug Wilson has to work with. The Sharks are pushed right up against the cap, and don't have a lot of expendable pieces to move that make enough in the salary department. If they move a forward they likely lose a 20+ goal scorer, and if they move a defenseman they risk sacrificing a strong team in the future -- it's really a pick your poison type deal, as all of the assets that would yield a significant return are fairly large pieces to the current puzzle.

The good? San Jose is a Cup contending team, as they always are at this time of the year. Top to bottom this roster could be considered the best San Jose has ever iced.

Q: Talk about Joe Thornton and what kind of season he's having. What makes him so solid?

Thornton's a special player who can control a game below the dots-- for all the punishment he takes on a nightly basis from opposing team's shutdown pairings, it's amazing how effective he has managed to be. His vision with the puck is exceptional; coupled with the fact that he has yet to miss a game in a San Jose uniform, that reliability plays a huge part in being able to build a consistently dangerous line around him.

It's no secret that players tend to have breakout goal scoring years when playing with him.

Q: What kind of impact is Dany Heatley having on this team?

For all of the perceived baggage Heatley was potentially bringing over from Ottawa, those aspects haven't shown up in the locker room as far as the general fan can tell. However, he's asked out of two teams before, and while I don't envision that being a problem for San Jose as long as they're still a contender, you still hold some reservations in the back of your mind if things do end up going south.

On the ice he's obviously a huge factor, and has provided San Jose with a pure sniper that they've never really had before (Cheechoo's Rocket Richard year being the exception here). McLellan has actually broken Thornton and him up the last two games in order to get Devin Setoguchi going-- it's a short term solution that I don't agree with (Marleau being my pick to play on Pavelski's wing), and while I think the coaching staff will eventually put him back on the top line where he belongs, it's a little confusing.

Q: Fans are interested in former Stars player Manny Malhotra. How is he doing?

Malhotra's been a godsend for San Jose, especially after news came out he rejected a four year deal worth two million per year to sign for nearly the league minimum -- while I'm essentially considering him a rental player who, due to the aforementioned cap issues, won't be re-signed next offseason, it's still nice to know that San Jose can attract some high impact free agents in areas of need. The organization has historically had a lot of trouble in that department.

With Manny you're obviously getting a defensive-minded forward first and foremost, and that's a big plus when it comes to reducing the shorthanded minutes of our premier players like Pavelski and Marleau. Toss in the fact that he's been chipping in on the scoresheet and there's no complaints here.

Q: Breakdown the Sharks' special teams for us.

The power play has hit a rut in December, and Todd McLellan has described the top unit in the past as, "The Globetrotters." They look good moving the puck, but don't really do much in the way of generating scoring opportunities. San Jose tends to struggle when they try to run everything through Joe Thornton surprisingly, as he's not a shooting threat and will try and force passes into the low slot when the shot from the point isn't clicking. Running it through a guy like Patrick Marleau, who's a much more dynamic stick handler when driving the net, usually yields more positive results. If you shift the attention away from Big Joe he becomes that much more dangerous when threading the needle on touch passes.

The PK has been rock solid. A large part is due to the recent acquisitions of Nichol and Malhotra, along with contributions from some unlikely sources in Heatley and Thornton as well. Pavelski and Marleau have been fixtures on this unit from last year-- when your big guns are as committed to playing on both ends of the ice as those two are, it trickles down the lineup.

Q: Who can the Stars expect to see in goal tonight? Tell us about him.

Evgeni Nabokov will be in net tonight, and I'm sure Stars fans are as familiar with him as Sharks fans are as familiar with Marty Turco. He's had a good year thus far, and has managed to reduce the amount of five-hole goals he's given up-- it's been his achilles heel the last two seasons, which isn't all too surprising. Nabokov likes to heavily challenge shooters, and with his increasing age, you can see the reflexes are starting to slide a bit.

He's been getting a heavy workload this year as well. I'm not sure that's an effective gameplan from an assets management standpoint-- Nabby is the likely starter for Team Russia at the Winter Olympics, and with the compressed schedule this season, that workload may begin to show up as we make our way into the last quarter of the year.

Q: Which players should Stars fans be special attention to tonight?

I'm sure Stars fans are familiar with the majority of San Jose's roster due to playing them frequently, so I'll go off the board here and say Jason Demers who has played one game against Dallas this season. He was a relative unknown coming into camp that managed to find a way onto the bottom pairing, and models his game off Dan Boyle. Strong puck mover who can skate, and while he runs into trouble occasionally when forcing breakout passes up the middle of the ice, there's some definite improving offensive acumen he brings to the table. That being said, if I'm Crawford I attack that pairing (Kent Huskins is his partner) with the last change at home. They started the season strong, but tailed off around game twenty five or so, resulting in Demers being sent down to the minor league affiliate for two weeks to work on his game.

Jamie McGinn is also a player to watch tonight on the third line, and has all of the tools to become a 25-30 goal scorer down the road. He'll throw his weight around on the forecheck and can cycle the puck, as well as possessing some good hands and a long skating stride.

Q: Injury report?

San Jose ran into some injury issues to start the year, but by now the team is largely healthy. Brad Staubitz and Jody Shelley are questionable tonight, so Frazer McLaren will assume the duties of keeping that rascal Steve Ott in check.

Q: Anything else Stars fans should know about the Sharks?

Games with Dallas are always tight affairs, and I expect nothing less tonight. What you see is what you get with these division matchups.