DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars
were bound and determined to salvage the final game of their three-game homestand.
After getting power-play goals from Jaromir Jagr
and Michael Ryder plus an insurance tally from Jamie Benn
, Dallas (9-8-1) did just that in a 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks
(8-6-3) before a sellout crowd of 18,584 at American Airlines Center.
"Yeah, we needed it. It was a hard-fought game," Dallas head coach Glen Gulutzan said. "You can see how good that team is coming into our building. It was a tough game, not a lot of territory out there."
Dallas rookie goaltender Crisopher Nilstorp also earned his first career win with a 31-save performance.
"It's a great feeling to get your first win," he said. "It means a lot for me. You get your first win, you get excited for the next game now, so my confidence builds up because of this win."
After a scoreless game for much of the first two periods, Dallas broke through late in the second period on the power play when Jagr knocked in a wrister from the edge of the San Jose crease 58 seconds before the second intermission to make it 1-0.
The Stars had first gone on the power play when Dan Boyle was whistled for high sticking with 2:38 left and after Marc-Edouard Vlasic joined him in the penalty box at 18:09 for crosschecking, Dallas converted, ending a run of 16 straight power plays without a goal.
Dallas then went ahead 2-0 just 30 seconds into the third when, with Dallas again on the power play, Ryder beat San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi
with a 28-foot wrister to his right for his sixth of the year.
However, that lead was cut in half when Marleau beat Nilstorp short side with a 12-foot wrister at 2:19 as the Sharks had a 5-on-3 advantage, ending a San Jose run of 23 straight power play opportunities without a goal.
San Jose had gained the two-man edge at 2:17 when Dallas defenseman Stephane Robidas was guilty of hooking, just 1:04 after the Stars' Eric Nystrom earned an interference penalty.
There was a bit of controversy in the third period when at 9:03, San Jose's Joe Thornton was called for goaltender interference after he took out Nilstorp. Logan Couture had knocked in the ensuing rebound but that goal was quickly disallowed.
"I thought it was hockey play," Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said. "I thought it was a forward attacking the net. You should have a right to make that play. I understand about protecting goaltenders and all that type of stuff, but we score more goals early and maybe we don't even have to argue that call."
Benn's insurance goal came with 2:11 left when after a solid feed from Alex Goligoski, who got his second assist of the night on the tally, beating Niemi low on his glove side with a 40-foot wrister to make it 3-1.
"More of the same, pretty good effort but like I said after the game in Chicago [on Friday], you can't take consolation in that," McLellan said. "You have to put points in the bank and we're not doing it right now. You can't win games scoring one goal. It's the same thing. It's over and over. We've got to find ways to fix it."
In the opening period, Dallas went on the power play three times, including a 2-on-1 opportunity that lasted just over a minute following a Patrick Marleau tripping penalty and a delay of game call on Vlasic for shooting the puck into the crowd. However, the Stars were unable to convert any of those opportunities.
Dallas even started the second frame with a man advantage after San Jose's Brad Stuart was guilty of tripping with 1:10 but saw that opportunity negated when Jordie Benn
was called for holding just 34 seconds into the period.
At 8:21 of the second, Thornton and the Stars' Jamie Benn dropped the gloves to earn matching five-minute fighting majors for their rather lengthy and action-packed duel. The Stars then had their best chance to date at 10:31 when a slapshot by Vernon Fiddler from the left side deflected hard off the far post.
"Trying to get myself going a bit, get the barn rocking," Benn said of his scrum. "It wakes you up, gets your adrenaline going. It's pretty exciting. I just tried to get the guys going a bit."
The Sharks finished the game with just five healthy defensemen after Brent Burns suffered an undisclosed injury early in the first period and did not return. Dallas was down to four healthy defensemen by the final horn, losing Aaron Rome in the first period to a lower-body injury and Philip Larsen late in the third to an apparent shoulder injury after a controversial boarding call.
Niemi stopped 25 of the 28 shots he faced to earn his second loss in as many nights.
San Jose will now head home for a few days off before beginning a three-game homestand on Tuesday against Colorado while Dallas begins a quick two-game road swing on Monday night in Nashville in the first game of a back-to-back.
NOTES: Sharks left winger Ryane Clowe was unavailable for Saturday's game since he is likely facing a suspension for leaving the bench to confront Chicago's Andrew Shaw in the closing moments of a 2-1 loss at United Center on Friday. ... Before Saturday's game, Dallas honored captain Brenden Morrow for being named to the Stars' 20th anniversary team. ... Antti Niemi started in goal for San Jose for a second straight game, the first time he has started both ends of a back-to-back this season. ... Stars defenseman Trevor Daley missed a second straight game with a neck injury. Dallas head coach Glen Gulutzan said after the morning skate that Daley could return by Monday, when the Stars start a quick two-game road trip in Nashville. ... Announced attendance for Saturday's game was 18,584, Dallas' second sellout of the season.
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