Sharks Vs. Stars: San Jose Remains In Playoff Position, Slim Hopes For Dallas

Mar 8, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic (44) and center Joe Thornton (19) celebrate the goal by center Joe Pavelski (8) during the third period against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Stars won 4-3 in the overtime shootout. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

Despite momentum being on the Stars' side for much of the game, they couldn't hang on to it, allowing the Sharks to win and keep the eighth seed.

With 5:19 remaining in the game, down by one goal, Jamie Benn headed on a breakaway thanks to a pass from Eric Nystrom, but Antti Niemi made a huge stop. Twenty-nine seconds later, Joe Thornton scored to put the San Jose Sharks up, 4-2, ultimately leading the Sharks to a 5-2 victory over the Dallas Stars.

Until the insurance goal, the game was well within Dallas' reach, and in fact, the Stars controlled the flow in the early part of the game, holding the Sharks to just five shots in the first period and firing 12 of their own. However, along with Kari Lehtonen's unusually shaky night in goal, Dallas had issues maintaining control.

Even though the Stars outshot the Sharks in the first, Daniel Winnik scored first for San Jose. Brenden Morrow knotted the score while Alex Goligoski gave Dallas the lead after a flurry in the offensive zone that lasted almost a minute. Just 32 seconds after the Stars regained their lead, though, T.J. Galiardi put the game back in a tie.

Prior to Tuesday's game versus Dallas, San Jose's power play was 2-for-18 in the last six games, despite the man advantage being one of the Sharks' positives this season. The Sharks were also scoreless on the power play Tuesday, until Logan Couture scored with 2:36 left in the second period to put San Jose ahead, 3-2. The Sharks kept the lead for the rest of the game, and after Thornton's marker, they gave themselves a three-goal lead with Ryane Clowe's empty-netter.

Surprisingly, the Western Conference standings remain the same after Tuesday's games. San Jose can make a run for the division, as they play the current Pacific leader, the Los Angeles Kings for their final two games. The Stars, who have now lost three in a row, will have a much tougher road to just get in, facing the Nashville Predators and the St. Louis Blues.

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