Highlights: Thornton's goal lifts Sharks to shootout win
Alex Stalock had 44 saves and picked up the win as the Sharks won 3-2 in a shootout over the Stars. (USATSI)
Jason Demers put the Sharks on the board midway through the second. Demers was left alone by Dallas’ Erik Cole, and rifled in a one-timer from Tyler Kennedy for his first goal.
San Jose had the early energy in the third period, and tied it on Joe Pavelski’s 14th of the season. Thornton made a nice play at the blue line to keep the puck in the offensive zone, and Pavelski’s backhander from the slot found its way inside the post at 4:24.
The Sharks had the better of the chances in overtime. Kari Lehtonen stopped Patrick Marleau on an early look from the circle, and Logan Couture nearly put in a Justin Braun rebound with less than two minutes to go.
In the shootout, Thornton was the only one of 10 shooters to convert.
The Sharks caught a huge break early in the second before Demers’ goal. Dallas’ Colton Sceviour appeared to tip in a loose puck in the crease that Alex Stalock failed to freeze, but referee Mike Leggo blew the play dead just before the puck crept across the goal line and it remained 2-0.
Leggo, ironically, was the same referee that did not see Tommy Wingels’ overtime goal against Bufflao on Nov. 5, a 5-4 shootout loss for San Jose.
Former Shark Ray Whitney opened the scoring. The 41-year-old backhanded a shot through Brad Stuart’s legs and high over Alex Stalock at 4:48 of the first period. Antoine Roussel was credited with a second period goal at 4:47, when Alex Goligoski’s shot deflected off of Rousell’s skate in the crease.
The Sharks and Stars meet once more this season, on Feb. 5 in San Jose. Dallas gave the Sharks their first loss of the season on Oct. 17 at American Airlines Center, 4-3 in a shootout.
The Sharks have won five straight home games against Dallas.
The Sharks were 0-for-3 on the power play. Overall, they are just nine for their last 62 (14.5 percent).
Dallas was 0-for-2 on the power play, with both advantages coming in the first period. The Sharks have killed off 14 of the last 15 opponent power plays (93.3 percent).
Stalock was making his first career home start, and first appearance since losing in Carolina on Dec. 6. He finished with 44 saves on 46 shots, settling in as the game went along after what appeared to be some early nerves. The game was his first career shootout.
Lehtonen stopped 37 of 39 shots.
Sharks forward Tomas Hertl missed his first game of the season, after general manager Doug Wilson announced it earlier in the day that the 20-year-old would miss at least one month with an apparent right knee injury.
In Hertl’s absence, Todd McLellan put together four new forward lines. Thornton played between Pavelski and Marleau; Couture was with Brent Burns and Marty Havlat; John McCarthy centered Wingels and Matt Nieto; while Andrew Desjardins skated alongside Kennedy and Mike Brown.
In the third period, Wingels and Havlat switched places.
The Sharks host Colorado Avalanche on Monday, break for three days from Dec. 24-26, and visit the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday. A home-and-home with Anaheim closes out the year on Dec. 29 at home and New Year’s Eve at Honda Center.