Sharks Shut Down Dallas Stars, Win 5-2

photo from pressdemocrat.com: The San Jose Sharks Mikkel Boedker (89) goes for the victory skate in front of the Sharks bench after scoring a first period goal his first of two against the Dallas Stars Sunday night at SAP Center in San Jose

by Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE– The San Jose Sharks beat the Dallas Stars Sunday, taking a 5-0 lead before giving up two goals in the third period. The Sharks have now won eight of their last ten games. Mikkel Boedker scored twice for the Sharks, with additional goals from Joe Pavelski, Melker Karlsson and Justin Braun. Martin Jones made 26 saves for the win. Gemel Smith and Tyler Pitlick scored for Dallas and Kari Lehtonen made 22 saves on 23 shots after coming in to relieve Ben Bishop who made just one save on five shots in the first period.

The win might not erase the team’s horrific 6-0 road loss in Dallas last New Year’s Eve, but was a major improvement. Sharks defenseman Justin Braun was asked about the two games later. “We were actually moving in this game. Back in Dallas everyone left their legs somewhere else,” he explained. Sunday was different. “It was great. Everybody was coming above on the backcheck and shutting down their speed so, yeah, that was huge.”

Also significant was how long the Sharks held a 5-0 lead, from 5:00 of the second period to 5:35 of the third. Despite significant absences like Joe Thornton and now Tomas Hertl, the team is proving to be resourceful and tenacious. After the game, Sharks Head Coach Pete DeBoer said:

As a coach you hate those types of leads, especially with a lot of game left and we had that big lead for a long time. You know the other team’s going to push and they’ve got some quality. We just kept talking about if we allow them open it up a little bit they’re a team that can easily score four or five goals in a period. So I thought we stuck with it overall for a good length of time and did a good job with it.

The first period was a goaltender’s nightmare for Ben Bishop. By the time the Sharks had put five shots on net, they had four goals.

The first came just 29 seconds in, from Joe Pavelski. Taking advantage of a Jamie Benn turnover in the neutral zone, Marc-Edouard Vlasic caught the puck as it crossed the Sharks blue line. He returned the puck quickly to Pavelski, who sent it behind his back to Timo Meier. Meier carried it in but Dallas wrested control soonafter. As Tyler Seguin tried to clear it, he put it right on Pavelski’s stick. Pavelski’s spinning backhand found its way through traffic, went off the post and in. Assists went to Meier and Vlasic.

The second goal came from that same line at 5:59. Meier took a shot from the blue line that missed the net just enough to bounce off the boards behind it. Melker Karlsson was on the doorstep to poke it in when it bounced in front of the post. Assists went to Meier and Pavelski.

Jannik Hansen moved the puck into the Dallas zone but it didn’t go far before bouncing off of a Star. The ricochet first whizzed by Chris Tierney, then by Alexander Radulov and finally landed on Mikkel Boedker’s stick as he skated into the zone. His wrist shot from the circle went between Bishop’s pads and in. Assists went to Hansen and Justin Braun.

Boedker scored again at 17:23. Chris Tierney held on to the puck for a long time at the end of a Sharks power play, sending it once to Joakim Ryan on the blue line, only to get it right back from him. Finally, he saw Boedker ready in the slot and passed it perfectly for Boedker’s one-timer. The shot went into traffic and under Bishop’s blocker before the very tall tender could react. The goal came one second too late to end the Sharks power play goal drought. Assists went to Tierney and Vlasic.

Dallas opted to change goaltenders then, putting Kari Lehtonen in net.

The second period started much as the first had, but only produced one Sharks goal. Five minutes in, Joe Pavelski sent the puck up the boards as a Dallas defender closed on him. Braun picked that up and took the shot and it went in. Assists went to Pavelksi and Karlsson.

Jones’ shutout bid ended at 5:35 of the third. A miscue put Daniel O’Regan in front of Jones while Gemel Smith caught a pass from Brett Ritchie and took it to the net. Jones saw the shot too late. Assists went to Ritchie and Stephen Johns.

Dallas scored again at 8:57. A shot came in and Jones almost had the puck when it slipped away in front of him. Tyler Pitlick was right there to pick it up and put it in with his backhand.

Brent Burns left the ice briefly during the first first period Sharks power play, and returned very quickly. He left again during the third period less than four minutes in after two shifts. He did not return. As things stand now, Pete DeBoer expects Burns to be on the upcoming road trip.

The Sharks next play in St. Louis against the Blues on Tuesday at 5:00 pm PT.