Sharks blow lead before falling in shootout
Jamie Benn (left center) was the only shooter to convert in the tiebreaker. Logan Couture, Dan Boyle and Brent Burns were all stopped by Lehtonen. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
SAN JOSE – The Sharks surrendered a pair of two-goal leads, including one in the third period, losing in a shootout to Dallas on Sunday afternoon at HP Pavilion, 5-4.
San Jose led 4-2 after the second period, but could not extend their winning streak, which ended at seven games. The Sharks finished their season-long seven-game homestand with a 6-0-1 mark and 13 of a possible 14 points.
At 6:07 of the third, Ray Whitney fed Alex Chiasson for a tap-in, for Chiasson’s second goal of the game to make it 4-3. It came shortly after Kari Lehtonen smothered Marty Havlat’s open wrist shot from the circle.
A little over three minutes later, Loui Eriksson whacked in the rebound of a Matt Fraser shot. Jason Demers allowed the original shot to get through to Antti Niemi, while Eriksson outmaneuvered Brad Stuart in front of the net at 9:14.
Jamie Benn was the only shooter to convert in the tiebreaker. Logan Couture, Dan Boyle and Brent Burns were all stopped by Lehtonen.
Burns gave the Sharks a 2-0 advantage early in the second with a wrist shot that beat Lehtonen to the short side at 3:06, but the lead vanished just one minute and one second later.
Dallas, which had several chances early in the second frame before Burns’ goal, took advantage of a Marc-Edouard Vlasic turnover to get on the board. Eric Nystrom and Vern Fiddler worked a give-and-go and Nystrom beat Niemi at 3:41.
Chiasson tied it just 25 seconds later. Jamie Benn brought the puck around from behind the net, and although Matt Irwin muffled Benn’s shot attempt, the puck squirted to Chiasson in front and he found the open net.
Raffi Torres made his presence felt in his first game as a Shark, recording the primary assist on the Sharks’ next two goals, as they took a 4-2 lead before the intermission.
First, Torres aggressively pressured Nystrom in the Sharks’ offensive zone. The puck ended up on the stick of TJ Galiardi, whose spin-o-rama goal sailed into the top corner at 7:48 to give the Sharks the lead back.
At 15:31, Vlasic’s wrap-around goal squirted between Lehtonen and the near post, and a lengthy video review confirmed it crossed the line. It was Vlasic’s third goal, and second in the last five games.
The Sharks were not nearly as buttoned up in the defensive zone as they had been of late, particularly in the second period, when Dallas poured 16 shots on net and was in the offensive zone for long stretches.
Tommy Wingels gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead after Logan Couture stripped Aaron Rome behind the net and set up his linemate at 8:39.
Each team finished 0-for-3 on the power play.
Sharks center Joe Pavelski could be getting a call from the league. After he was cross-checked from behind by Fiddler in the opening minute, Pavelski got up and high-sticked Fiddler violently in the face in what could be viewed as a retaliatory penalty. Pavelski was given a minor penalty at the 47-second mark.
Dallas’ Brenden Dillon had a pair of cross-checking minors for a game-high four penalty minutes.
Niemi made his 16th straight start and 25th in the last 16 games. He made 30 saves on 34 shots. Niemi had allowed just 10 goals in the previous six games.
Lehtonen made 32 saves on 36 shots, and improved to 5-6-1 career against the Sharks.
To make room for Torres, James Sheppard was scratched for the first time since March 18.
Demers returned after missing the last four games from a head injury, while rookie Matt Tennyson came out.
Vlasic played in his 509th game as a Shark moving ahead of Scott Hannan for third all-time among defensemen. Hannan remains out with a neck injury.
The Sharks begin a four-game road trip in Columbus on Tuesday, and continue to Detroit, Dallas and Phoenix before their next home game on April 16 against Los Angeles.
The team originally planned to fly to Columbus on Sunday evening, but will depart on Monday morning instead.
Of the 10 games remaining in the season, the Sharks have two apiece against Dallas, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Columbus. Six of the 10 are road games.