SAN JOSE – Tommy Wingels scored in overtime as the Sharks beat the Dallas Stars on Wednesday at SAP Center, 2-1.
Wingels took a backhanded pass through the slot by Marty Havlat and beat Kari Lehtonen cleanly with 3:08 to go in the extra session. It was his second goal in the last 24 games, and was a welcome one, coming on a night when the Sharks' top line of Joe Thornton, Brent Burns and Patrick Marleau scuffled on both ends of the ice.
Havlat’s late second period goal was the only scoring through 40 minutes. The winger got open in the slot and redirected a low slapper from Scott Hannan at 18:06. It was Havlat’s fourth goal of the season, and first since he returned in late January after more than a month off as an injured player and healthy scratch.
Dallas tied it up in the third. The Stars had the Sharks’ top line scrambling in its own end, and Valeri Nichushkin was left alone between the circles. The 18-year-old rookie easily fired in a one-timer from Trevor Daley at 6:27.
San Jose’s ineffective power play took center stage later in the third period with the game tied 1-1. Twice, Wingels drew minor penalties on Erik Cole, but the Sharks didn’t register a single shot on either advantage.
The Sharks outshot the Stars 21-20 for the game, which was devoid of much excitement for most of the night.
There wasn’t a whole lot of action in the game prior to Havlat’s marker, as the Stars were playing the second of a back-to-back and the Sharks continued to struggle to mount any offensive pressure.
Goaltenders Lehtonen and Alex Stalock were there when needed, but were rarely tested. Lehtonen’s best stop came on Matt Nieto in front of the net after Cody Eakin’s giveaway less than five minutes into the first period.
Stalock, though, made the stop of the night with 6:28 to go in the opening frame. The Sharks lost a defensive zone faceoff, and Burns broke his stick, leading to Jamie Benn’s attempt from the circle. Stalock quickly leaned to his left after Benn received the puck, and gloved the Dallas sniper’s rising wrist shot to keep the game scoreless.
Stlaock has now started five of the last 11 games, after getting just five starts through the first 35 games. He improved to 8-3-0 as a starter, allowing just five goals total in his last five starts.
Adam Burish made his season debut, playing for the first time since back surgery in October. Along with Mike Brown and Andrew Desjardins, he skated on an effective fourth line.
In the second period, Brown threw a thundering check behind the Dallas net, hammering Antonie Roussel into the glass.
Each of the three games between the Sharks and Stars required extra time. They split the first two meetings, each winning in a shootout.
The Sharks looked awful in going 0-for-3 on the power play. A pair of third period advantages were particularly ineffective, as the Sharks had just one shot on goal in six minutes with a man advantage during the game.
In the last eight games, San Jose is just 1-for-24 on the power play.
Dallas was 0-for-1.
Stalock beat the Stars once earlier this season. In the first home start of his career, he made 44 saves in a 3-2 shootout win on Dec. 21. He needed just 19 saves Wednesday.
Lehtonen, who also played Tuesday night in Dallas’ 3-1 win at Phoenix, stopped 19 of 21. His best save came with 4:17 left in overtime, when he snagged Burns’ wrist shot on a two-on-one rush.
Nieto did not return to start the third period, after a valiant effort to block a Trevor Daley shot as time expired in the middle frame. He was seen leaving SAP Center in a walking boot on his left foot and will likely miss Friday's game.
Tyler Kennedy, who was supposed to return, missed his fourth straight game with a lower body injury after experiencing a setback in his recovery. Jason Demers (groin) sat for the third straight game, but continues to skate and could play Friday.
Forward Eriah Hayes was reassigned to Worcester on Tuesday.
The Sharks host Columbus on Friday in the final game before the Olympic break. Their season resumes on Feb. 27 in Philadelphia for the first of a three-game road trip that continues in Buffalo and New Jersey.