SAN JOSE, Calif. – With San Jose’s stars struggling to score goals of late, the Sharks needed to get some production from some of their lower-profile players.
Tommy Wingels scored with 3:08 remaining in overtime to lead the Sharks to their second win in six games, 2-1 over the Dallas Stars on Wednesday night.
“I’m a big part of the group that the scoring’s kind of vanished from,” Wingels said. “I got one tonight, but the numbers in the past games still aren’t where they need to be. It’s something we’re working on, the group of guys that need to pick it up. We will. We’re confident players and we’ll get there.”
Marty Havlat scored in regulation and set up the game-winner in overtime to give the struggling Sharks a much-needed boost with just one game left before the Olympic break.
Wingels had scored just one goal in the previous 23 games, while Havlat had one in the past 13 as the Sharks were held to 11 goals in the past seven games.
“It was time for some others to step up and score,” coach Todd McLellan said. “To see Marty and Tommy both do it in one game is a good thing for our team.”
Backup goalie Alex Stalock made 19 saves to improve to 8-3-0 with a 1.61 goals against average in 11 starts.
Valeri Nichushkin tied the game early in the third for the Stars, who came up short in their attempt to sweep a three-game road trip and move into playoff position in the Western Conference. Dallas trails Vancouver by two points in the race for the final playoff spot. Kari Lehtonen made 19 saves.
The Stars have closed ground on the Canucks by winning five of their previous seven games, allowing nine goals and posting three shutouts in that span. They were at their best defensively in the third period when they held the Sharks to two shots, including none in the first 14-plus minutes but ended up on the short side in overtime.
“We were lucky to get a point out of it,” centre Vernon Fiddler said. “It would have been nice to get two, but they made a play and we didn’t.”
Havlat made a neat backhand pass from the side of the net to Wingels, who knocked it in for his 11th goal and first career overtime goal.
The Stars have now lost six of seven games decided in overtime this season.
“It’s an area we have to improve in,” coach Lindy Ruff said. “That’s not good enough. We lost coverage on the goal and they made us pay for it.”
The Stars tied the game early in the third as they capitalized on some sustained pressure in the offensive zone. Trevor Daley fed the puck to Nichushkin, who was all alone in the slot for a one-timer that beat Stalock.
The Sharks had taken the lead late in the second period when Havlat deftly redirected a point shot from Scott Hannan past Lehtonen for his fourth goal this season.
McLellan looked for a spark for his struggling team, which had scored just five goals in the previous five games. He moved Patrick Marleau to a line with Joe Thornton and Brent Burns, while using Joe Pavelski as the centre between Wingels and Matt Nieto.
It failed to pay early dividends as the Sharks were held scoreless in the first period for the seventh time in the past eight games. Stalock made sure they didn’t end the period with a deficit when he made a scintillating glove save to rob Jamie Benn late in the period.
“It was kind of a desperation save where I had to make a big save,” Stalock said. “Those are saves it would be nice to maybe look a little simpler. It’s something to work on.”
NOTES: McLellan tied Darryl Sutter for most games coached in franchise history with 434. … Hannan had two assists for his first two-point game since Nov. 19, 2010, for Colorado against the Rangers. … The Stars fell to 3-4-0 on the second night of back-to-back games. … Nieto did not return after blocking a shot by Trevor Dale8y in the closing seconds of the second period. … F Adam Burish returned from a back injury to play for the first time this season for the Sharks.