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Stars hand Sharks first loss

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DALLAS -- Thanks to a shootout goal by rookie Alex Chiasson, the Dallas Stars handed the San Jose Sharks their first loss, 4-3 at American Airlines Center.

"We're disappointed we didn't get the two points," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "We probably didn't play well enough. We weren't as crisp and as fast as we have been earlier and sometimes a good team can do that to you."

Chiasson, Dallas' third shooter, beat San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi over his left shoulder for the lone goal of the shootout. Stars goaltender Dan Ellis then denied an attempt by San Jose's Brent Burns to clinch the win.

"It (the shootout) brings a different energy out of you," Chiasson said. "I was pretty tired there after that one shift we had there in overtime. But when coach told me I was going third, you just take a couple of deep breaths. These are the situations you want to be in as a player."

Cody Eakin had a goal and an assist for Dallas, who also got two assists from Ray Whitney.

Stars coach Lindy Ruff was clearly pleased with the effort he got from both Eakin and Whitney in the win over the Sharks.

"Eakin was playing against Thornton most of the night. He gave us a great game," Ruff said. "(Whitney) the last couple of games has really started to skate well. He got a couple of good looks."

San Jose took an early 1-0 lead just nine seconds in when Tyler Kennedy beat Ellis top shelf with a 61-foot wrister from the right faceoff circle.

"It's a tough start," Ruff said. "We've had a couple of games where they scored on the first shot. I liked the fact that we dug in and were able to keep coming at them. It's a sign of a team with a will to win."

But Dallas answered at 16:44 when Tyler Seguin netted his third of the season, scoring off a rebound for the equalizer. Niemi made a pad save on a shot from distance by Dallas' Stephane Robidas but Seguin beat San Jose's Jason Demers to the puck by a split second to tap in the carom to make it 1-1.

However, the Sharks pulled ahead again when Matthew Nieto scored his second of the season, beating Ellis on the glove side with a 42-foot slap shot from the high slot with 1:08 remaining before the first intermission to recapture the lead for San Jose.

Just 1:53 into the middle frame, Dallas pulled things level yet again, this time it was Trevor Daley who flicked in a rebound for the equalizer. Eakin's initial shot was deflected by the Sharks' Matt Irwin and after the puck deflected off San Jose's Brad Stuart in front of the visiting net, Daley scored to tie it with a 25-foot wrister.

But the Sharks retook the lead at 12:31 when Patrick Marleau scored on a wraparound to make it 3-2, a play which was initially ruled no goal but after a quick review, the goal was awarded to Marleau. Just 27 seconds later, Dallas answered, this time it was Eakin who scored off a rebound after the initial shot by Chiasson was denied by Niemi.

San Jose led three different times in the game but was unable to hold the edge, a definite point of contention for Sharks captain Joe Thornton.

"It's tough, especially when you score a goal and they come back and score on the next shift," Thornton said. "Those are the ones you want to bear down and make sure they don't score. Just try to continue the momentum and we didn't do that twice."

After a scoreless third period, this one headed to overtime and despite the Sharks being on the power play for the final 1:02 of the extra frame, Dallas was able to force the shootout.

The Stars held the Sharks to 0-for-5 on the power play, something McLellan feels played a role in his club's first loss of the season.

"You've got to give them full marks," McLellan said. "They played a fast, hard game. Power play opportunities that we had we didn't capitalize on and that could have been the difference at the end of the night."

Ellis stopped 32 of the 35 shots he faced to pick up his first win in a Dallas uniform.

"You really like to see the goaltender bounce back," Ruff said. "He had a really good save in the third period that kept it tied, and what he does in the shootout speaks for itself."

NOTES: Kennedy's goal was the fastest allowed by the Stars in franchise history and the second-quickest goal in Sharks history. Former San Jose LW Stephane Matteau holds the team record, scoring eight seconds into a 5-2 loss at St. Louis on Jan. 11, 2000. ... Stars RW Valeri Nichushkin returned to the lineup after coach Lindy Ruff rested him Tuesday at Colorado. ... C Joe Thornton appeared in his 600th game as a Shark. ... Ellis started his third consecutive game for the Stars, but Kari Lehtonen, out with a lower-body injury, could return this weekend. ... Sharks D Brad Stuart saw his first action since Oct. 8. He returned from a three-game suspension and replaced injured D Dan Boyle in a pairing with D Jason Demers. ... The announced attendance was 14,898.
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