DALLAS – Coach Todd McClellan got the response he was seeking from the San Jose Sharks.
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 two, Pavelski stole the puck from Dallas defenceman 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.”
Dallas has lost two straight after a 6-0-2 streak.
Ribeiro put the Stars in front at 3:28 of the second period on an outstanding individual effort. Ribeiro skated from behind the net and into the slot, sending a wrister past Niemi.
Less than a minute later, Stars winger Loui Eriksson, the team’s No. 3 scorer with 23 goals, went to the locker room with an upper-body injury from an open-ice hit by San Jose’s Douglas Murray and did not return.
Steve Ott of the Stars fought Murray 20 seconds after Eriksson’s injury, and Ott received instigator and misconduct penalties in addition to a matching fighting penalty with Murray.
Dallas coach Marc Crawford felt the Murray hit was borderline.
“I think that’s one that (the league) will review and I’m sure that they will,” Crawford said. “We’re hopeful that Loui’s going to be all right. He’s not feeling very good right now and we’ll see where he’s at tomorrow. It’s always the next day that you got to look to. The league has said that you want to take those hits out of the game, but it ends up being something we can’t control and it’s out of our hands now.”
Murray said he didn’t intend to hurt Eriksson.
“Well, when it comes to Eriksson, it’s a 50-50 puck,” Murray said. “If he pokes it by me, he’s getting a breakaway, so as far as I remember the situation, I went to play the puck in the body at the same time and I hit him. You never try to hurt a guy but it’s unfortunate.”
Petersen notched his second short-handed goal of the season at 5:08 off Benn’s centring pass for a 2-0 lead.
Thornton got the Sharks on the board with a deflection at 6:23 of the second, and Heatley cashed in on a rebound at 12:40 while the Sharks skated 5on 3 to tie it at 2.
Notes: Dallas forward Adam Burish (lower body) missed his second straight game. … Lehtonen started his 11th consecutive game and played in his 57th game this season. Lehtonen was able to play in only 58 games over the previous two seasons due to injuries. … C Scott Nichol (upper body) and D Kent Huskins (upper body) are out for the Sharks, and D Niclas Wallin left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury. … Dallas has 10 short-handed goals this season.