Slumping Sharks aim to build on shootout win over Stars

Ross McKeon, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- After turning away 44 of 46 shots through regulation and overtime, Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock was plenty loose for the shootout.
San Jose's backup made the most of his first start at home, stopping all five Dallas shooters during his first career shootout as San Jose beat the visiting Stars 3-2 on Saturday.
"I just wanted to be patient," said Stalock, seeing his first action since Dec.6. "They have so many guys with talent. I just wanted to stay back and it worked out."
San Jose center Joe Thornton was the only skater out of 10 shooters between the two teams to score.
"We hadn't been playing well of late, these two points are huge for us," Thornton said.
It was a disappointing result for a Dallas team that scored the first two goals of the game and became only the third visiting team to outshoot San Jose (46-39) in its own rink this season.
"It's always frustrating to lose and tonight it felt deeper for whatever reason," Dallas left winger Antoine Roussel said. "They push back and find a way to win. That's why they keep going to the playoffs every year. It's still a learning curve for us. We played a great game but we couldn't get the big bounce."
San Jose right winger Joe Pavelski tied the game at 4:24 of the third period when he skated across the front of the crease and beat Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen with a backhand shot for this 14th goal of the season. Thornton had a key hold-in at the right point before feeding Pavelski.
"I think we could have put the game away in the second period," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "We had five or six Grade-A opportunities but we couldn't get a foot on the head of the snake."
The Stars scored the only goal of an opening period that featured a pair of power plays for each team.
One-time Shark left winger Ray Whitney continued to victimize his former team by scoring his fourth goal of the season at 4:48. Whitney extended his streak to scoring in seven straight against San Jose. He has one goal and nine assists in that time. The only active player from the 1991 draft class, Whitney has 35 points in 37 career games against the Sharks.
Dallas scored during a delayed penalty at 4:47 of the middle period when Roussel squeezed between San Jose defensemen Dan Boyle and Matt Irwin to redirect defenseman Alex Goligoski's pass over Stalock.
"It obviously wasn't the start I wanted to get off to," Stalock said. "But I just stuck with it and tried to give my team a chance to win."
An early whistle because the referee lost site of the puck denied Colton Sceviour from scoring with a sweeping shot while on his back minutes later.
Instead of facing a three-goal deficit, the Sharks cut into the deficit when defenseman Jason Demers scored his first goal of the season at 11:47 on San Jose's 19th shot of the game.
"We've been up and down, now we have to build on this," Pavelski said.
NOTES: The Stars lost D Sergei Gonchar early in the second period after getting struck in the neck by a San Jose shot. ... San Jose general manager Doug Wilson confirmed right winger Tomas Hertl will miss at least one month as a result of his knee-on-knee collision with Los Angeles captain Dustin Brown on Thursday. Wilson said an MRI taken of Hertl's right knee on Friday "revealed something", and the league's leading rookie scorer might need a procedure to determine the extent of damage. It's possible Hertl could miss significantly more than a month of action. ... The Stars came into Saturday's game having beaten the Sharks in four of the last five meetings, including Oct. 17. ... The Sharks conclude their pre-Christmas schedule with a game against visiting Colorado on Monday. The Stars visit Los Angeles on Monday before opening a five-game homestand on Dec. 27. ... LW James Sheppard and D Scott Hannan were healthy scratches for the Sharks while D Dustin Jeffrey, LW Ryan Garbutt and D Maxime Fortunus did not dress for the Stars.

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