DALLAS, TX - MARCH 15: Goaltender Antii Niemi #31 of the San Jose Sharks makes a save against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on March 15, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Joe Pavelski had four assists, Ryane Clowe scored the tiebreaker in the opening two minutes of the final period, and the Sharks rallied from a two-goal deficit for a 6-3 victory over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night.
The Stars were 3-0-1 in the first four meetings with the Sharks this season, and all four games were one-goal games.
This time, Dany Heatley and Joe Thornton had two goals each, including empty-netters in the final 1:08, as the Sharks improved to 10-2-2 in their last 14 games.
Torrey Mitchell added an insurance goal 1:40 after Clowe’s tally, and the Sharks recovered from Monday night’s 6-3 loss at Chicago.
“Yeah, these were the results we were looking for,” McClellan said. “We challenged them after the effort that we had last night. We haven’t had to do that much lately. We being coaches, we were disappointed, but you could see it in the players’ eyes that they were even more disappointed. To come back, fall behind and then battle back in the game is pretty rewarding, especially against a team that plays that hard.”
Jamie Benn had a power play goal and two assists, Toby Petersen netted a short-handed goal, and Mike Ribeiro scored at even strength for Dallas.
With the score even at 2, Pavelski stole the puck from Dallas defenseman Jeff Woywitka and passed to Clowe, who was speeding up the middle and beat Kari Lehtonen at 1:51.
Mitchell made it 4-2 at 3:31 off Pavelski’s setup.
“We capitalized on their mistakes,” Pavelski said. “We just have a lot of confidence now and momentum’s a little bit more on our side. It’s kind of what happened to us last night in Chicago. We were going right and make a mistake or two and it ends up in our net.”
Benn’s backhander at 8:11 of the third pulled Dallas within a goal.
The Stars went on the power play twice in the final 4:06 but were unable to beat Antti Niemi, who stopped 34 shots in his 26th consecutive start. Niemi allowed four goals on 18 shots against his former Blackhawk teammates before he was replaced by Antero Niittymaki in the second period.
“It was important for us to show that we believed in (Niemi) after pulling him in his old arena and in front of those fans,” McClellan said. “We also thought it’d be a pretty good motivating factor tonight to use him. We didn’t think that his mates would hang him out to dry again like they did yesterday and it worked.”