The Dallas Stars handed the Sharks their first loss of the season in a shootout in Dallas back in October, and for a while it looked like they would repeat the feat. But a strong performance from Alex Stalock in his first home start and a shootout goal from Joe Thornton saved San Jose's bacon in a 2-1 win over the Stars.
Ray Whitney opened the scoring against the Sharks with a backhander that went through the legs of Brad Stuart. A backhand pass from Ray Horcroff found the stick of Whitney and he made his old team play, findin the net above the left shoulder of Alex Stalock.
A deflection off of Roussel's skate made it 2-0 Dallas early in the second period and the Sharks looked flatter than a day old soda. I don't put much stock in a team's "get up" or "energy," but my goodness it looked like San Jose was sleep walking through the better half of the first two periods at the SAP Center.
After the second Dallas goal, the Sharks had several good chances on net but weren't able to hammer one home. Whether it be a post or a desperate Lehtonen save, San Jose could not dent the Stars' lead. Dallas soon replaced this dominance with a strong shift of their own as they nearly made it 3-0 off a shot from Colton Sceviour, but a timely whistle kept the Sharks in the hockey game.
Jason Demers got the Sharks on the board halfway through the second period for his first tally of the season. A sweet wrister from a good scoring area beat Lehtonen over his right shoulder to cut the Stars lead to 2-1.
After one of the weaker powerplay attempts I've seen from the Sharks this season, Joe Pavelski would get the goal San Jose desperately needed. Pavelski failed to convert on two chances earlier in the game, but he didn't waste his third. Number eight skated across the goal from the right faceoff dot and flicked a backhander over Lehtonen's right shoulder to bring the game level.
The Sharks third period was their strongest of the game, but it wasn't enough to draw them close to even on the shot attempt front. They closed regulation with a couple good chances on net, but they were denied by Lehtonen and the game moved on to overtime.
Justin Braun and Logan Couture nearly ended it halfway through the overtime period as a sharp shot from Braun rebounded off of Lehtonen to Couture's stick. Couture corralled the rebound but could not bang it home as the Stars' netminder stood strong in the crease. Just a minute later Brent Burns and Pavelski generated an odd-man rush that created two rebound opportunities for the Sharks, the best of which could not be settled by the stick of Dan Boyle.
So just like before, the Sharks and Stars would head to a shootout. This time a perfect performance from Stalock and a goal from Jumbo would earn the Sharks both points to even the season series at one game apiece.
- That was one heck of a performance by Alex Stalock in his home debut. He made 46 saves, not including the five stops in the shootout to win his first home start.
- Joe Thornton had not scored a shootout goal since 2007 coming into this season. He's now 2-2 in 2013. (h/t the lovely @AnnFrazi)
- As far as shootouts go, that was a pretty crappy one. It seemed every shooter with the exception of Thornton tried to get too fancy with their attempts.
- The Sharks third period performance will probably be lauded, but it should not cover up how awful they were in the first frame. Known for their quick starts this season, San Jose looked sleepy and uninterested as the game began and the Stars took advantage.
- On the other hand, it's great to see the Sharks come back from a 2-0 deficit for once. I've gotten far too accustomed to seeing the shoe on the other foot.
- You can see in the Fancy Stats that the Sharks were badly outchanced by the Stars tonight. That doesn't happen often, and despite earning a win, it's something the coaching staff will no doubt take a look at.
- Dallas is a pretty good hockey team by my estimation. I see a lot of Stars games (I live in Houston) and am always entertained by their play (not to mention they have one of the best broadcasting crews in the league).
- Speaking of broadcasters, how about a shout out for Randy Hahn who sounded like he had a shark in his throat throughout the broadcast. Get well soon, Randy!
- Tomas Hertl didn't play in this game, which made it just a little less fun.
- Scott Hannan did not play in this game which helped! But Brad Stuart still looked awful.