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Sharks 5, Stars 2: Success is the best revenge

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A four-goal first period helped keep the Sharks on top in a 5-2 payback victory.

NHL: Dallas Stars at San Jose Sharks Kiel Maddox-USA TODAY Sports

Nearly two months ago, the Dallas Stars handed the Sharks what was arguably their most embarrassing loss of the season, a 6-0 shut out. That loss hurt, and Pete DeBoer had a relatable way to cope:

But if he drank to forget that New Year’s game in Dallas, he’ll be out celebrating tonight’s win against that same Dallas team.

The Sharks were looking for payback and Joe Pavelski wasted no time in getting down to business. After Stars captain Jamie Benn knocked him backwards, Pavelski made a behind the back pass to Timo Meier, who got the puck back to Pavelski, who sent a spinning backhand shot over Ben Bishop. Just 27 seconds in and on the first shift of the game, the Sharks were up 1-0.

Early in the period, defenseman Stephen Johns sat for tripping Pavelski and the Sharks earned their first power play of the game. Kevin Labanc had a good one timer, but Bishop made the save. Brent Burns left for the locker room during the power play, but eventually found his way back to the bench.

Not long after the power play expired, Timo Meier took a shot that went wide of the net and bounced off the boards behind Bishop. Melker Karlsson found the puck and squeezed it in for the Sharks’ second of the night, and second from the Meier - Pavelski - Karlsson line.

With just under five minutes in the period, San Jose extended their lead even further when Mikkel Boedker shot between the legs of Esa Lindell and off the stick of Alexander Radulov.

A few seconds later, Marc Methot went off for tripping and the Sharks’ power play got a second chance. After cycling the puck between Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Chris Tierney, the puck got to Boedker, who beat Bishop blocker side, missing the power play tally by a tenth of a second.

That fourth goal was on San Jose’s sixth shot of the game, prompting a goaltender change from the Dallas bench, with Kari Lehtonen taking over the netminding duties for the remainder of the game.

The Stars’ defense tightened up in the second period, but that only slowed down the Sharks a little. Exactly five minutes into the second, after an extended shift in Dallas’ zone, Justin Braun faked a D-to-D pass and loaded up for a shot that beat Lehtonen far side.

That’d be all the scoring that period saw, but Timo Meier impressed throughout the first forty minutes, his big body having a big presence.

The Sharks went into the third with a bigger task in front of them than expected: Brent Burns didn’t return to the game, leaving the Sharks with a five-goal lead and only five defenseman.

The Stars smelled the blood in the water. Early in the period, Justin Braun was left with a 2-on-1, didn’t break up the pass, and with Danny O’Regan in front of the net, Gemel Smith ruined Martin Jones’ shut out.

Just after, the Sharks got the puck into the offensive zone and Kari Lehtonen left his crease to play the puck behind the net. It was a wide open net opportunity, but Lehtonen was able to make it back to the netfront to save a shot from Chris Tierney.

Halfway through the period, the Stars cut the lead again, with a rebound from Norris-contender John Klingberg making its way to Tyler Pitlick’s stick and then the back of the net. But the three-goal lead was too much to overcome and without Burns, the Sharks were still able to keep the Stars from mounting a real comeback.

Notes

  • Martin Jones looked solid tonight with 26 saves. The Smith goal in particular didn’t seem like one where the blame would solely fall on Jones. Both Stars goals came in the third period, where the defense was missing Burns. Regardless of his defensive impact, someone had to cover those minutes, gassing the D somewhat.
  • Ben Bishop was the same goaltender that shut out the Sharks in December.
  • Mikkel Boedker has five points in the last three games, four of them goals.
  • The only other time the Sharks scored four goals in the first period against the Stars was a New Year’s Eve game in 2006, at Dallas.
  • The two penalties in the first period to Dallas were the only penalties called in this game.
  • No one seems to know exactly what’s going on with Brent Burns and why he missed parts of tonight’s game, but it may be illness-related. More bad news for the Sharks: in the final minute of play, Dylan DeMelo headed to the dressing room. This team can’t seem to catch a break.
  • If you missed the game live on @fearthefin, we hosted @HockeyBabbler, who did a series of live doodles during the game. Check them out!