The San Jose Sharks kept their cool in a physical game, cashing in on two of their first three power-play chances to pave the way to another road win. Brent Burns and Logan Couture each scored a power-play goal, Antti Niemi stopped 30 shots and the Sharks extended Dallas' losing streak to five games with a 4-1 victory over the Stars on Saturday night.
A total of 100 penalty minutes were assessed, 53 minutes to the Stars in a game that included three fights and four misconducts. "Prior to the game we talked about composure and discipline," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "We knew they'd taken a ton of penalties, they were the second-most penalized team in the league.
We thought that would come into play at some point and we needed only two power-play goals. I was happy we responded physically but we were quite disciplined."
Brad Winchester and Jamie McGinn added even-strength goals, while Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau contributed two assists apiece as San Jose improved to 5-1-1 in its last seven games and moved to 6-2 on the road. "For whatever reason, we're confident on the road," Thornton said.
"We like playing on the road. It took us a while to get into the game, but we got our legs and got going." Dallas, which has hit the skids after an 11-3 start, had been shut out in its previous two games and has been outscored 21-4 in its last five.
Mike Ribeiro's goal at 6:22 of the third period ended Dallas' shutout streak at 194 minutes, 11 seconds. "We're in a hole, there's no question about it, and you can't just jump out of a hole this deep, you have to kind of dig your way up and dig your way out and I thought we were moving in that direction," Stars rookie coach Glen Gulutzan said.
The Stars did get some good news Friday when Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi was announced as their new owner. Gaglardi was at Saturday night's game and will be introduced at a press conference Monday. The team had been controlled by creditors for former owner Tom Hicks, who bought the club for $84 million in December 1995, but ran into financial problems.
The Stars, who began the night last in the NHL in average home attendance, announced a crowd of 13,711. San Jose capitalized on the game's first power play when Burns skated up the left side and to the net, where he converted Thornton's centering pass at 4:58 of the opening period for his fourth goal of the season. The Sharks grabbed a 2-0 lead at 1:23 of the second period when Couture fired a loose puck past Dallas goalie Andrew Raycroft from close range for his seventh goal of the season, 28 seconds into San Jose's third power play of the night.
The frustrated Stars were involved in two fights within a span of 2 seconds early in the second period. Dallas' Krys Barch squared off against Jim Vandermeer, and Eric Nystrom of the Stars traded punches with McGinn. Less than a minute after the second fight, the Sharks stretched their advantage to 3-0 when Winchester flipped the puck into the top right corner of the net for his second goal of the season on a shot that seemed to fool Raycroft.
"They lost four in a row, gave up a couple of goals, and frustration set in," Vandermeer said of the second-period fights. "I thought we did a good job of not reacting too much to it." McGinn's second goal of the season made it 4-0 at 4:34 of the final period. Afterward, Gulutzan said that in his opinion, his team isn't getting an even break on penalty calls. He also admitted that the problems are compounded when the Stars complain to the referees.
"I might sound like a whiny coach and I'll go out there and say it, but I had some beefs with the officiating when we were 11-3 and now that we're 11-8, I still have them," Gulutzan said. "I think those beefs are warranted. We've kind of been keeping a log of it. I think we're on the wrong end of a lot of calls, but I think it's our fault.
"We whine like little babies throughout the game. ... We're going to change that culture here and we've got to do it by zipping our mouths one step at a time. The refs are human and if you whine that much, you're not going to get the calls."
NOTES: The Stars haven't been shut out in three straight games since Jan. 30 to Feb. 4, 1988, when the franchise was in Minnesota. ... Raycroft was making his fourth start of the season, first at home. ... Dallas had been outshot by 34 in the first period of their previous four games, but the Stars held a 14-10 shots edge in the opening 20 minutes against the Sharks. San Jose then dominated the second period with an 18-7 advantage in shots. ... The Pacific Division rivals played the first of six games between them this season. ... D Alex Goligoski (broken thumb) and forward Adam Burish (hand) were out for Dallas