San Jose Sharks Drop Third Straight In Loss To Stars

Mar 26, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski (8) blocks Dallas Stars defenseman Johnny Oduya (47) into the ice behind the net in the second period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Kenny Karst-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 26, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski (8) blocks Dallas Stars defenseman Johnny Oduya (47) into the ice behind the net in the second period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Kenny Karst-USA TODAY Sports /

The Sharks continued their losing spell Saturday afternoon in their 4-2 loss to the Dallas Stars on a day they out-shot Dallas 36-17.

In one of the more physical games of the year which featured a staggering 15 penalties, the Dallas Stars managed to take advantage of few scoring opportunities while the San Jose Sharks could not take advantage of many. San Jose has now lost three straight, all of which came at home, for the first time since Dec. 12th.

While he did not register a point, Stars forward Antoine Roussel may have made the biggest impact of anyone in the game. Roussel drew an early roughing penalty on Brenden Dillon, then received a slashing penalty against Micheal Haley a few minutes later, then seeing five minutes in the sin-bin along with Tommy Wingels for fighting shortly after.

Two huge hits on Roussel by Roman Polak and Wingels eventually led to Roussel’s slash on Haley and the fight with Wingels. Roussel’s time in the box wasn’t done, though, as both he and Haley saw two minutes in the box early in the second period.

Roussel may have crossed the line several times, including tugging on Wingels’ hair on the ice after their fight, but it may have sparked the Stars. Dallas scored twice during 4-on-4 action, both goals coming from Mattias Janmark. The Sharks thoroughly outplayed Dallas in period one, despite trailing 1-0 at the break, leading 12-5 in shots.

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San Jose could thank Martin Jones for not being down 2-0 at the break with his fantastic save on a breakaway. Jones should be at no fault for the loss, standing no chance at saving Dallas’ second and third goals due to some Sharks being out of position in their own zone.

Goal number two for the Stars came on a beautiful move by Jason Spezza while Chris Tierney and Paul Martin were caught puck-watching, losing track of the trailing Janmark behind the play who notched his second of the night.

Later in the period, the Stars got another past Jones, this time on a power-play, on another great look from Spezza to an open Patrick Sharp for the one-timer. Joe Pavelski was in the penalty box at the time for his not-so-smart hit from behind on an unsuspecting Johnny Oduya.

The fins would fight back, though, providing a much better effort in period three. Cody Eakin gifted Joel Ward a shorthanded goal on an odd decision, passing to nobody in particular and giving Ward an open net to work with.

Tomas Hertl then knocked the puck in on a rebound to score his 19th goal of the campaign off a Brent Burns slapper to cut Dallas’ lead to one.

But the Sharks couldn’t get one more past Antti Niemi, as the former Sharks net minder made a few great saves down the stretch to prevent the comeback victory for San Jose. Niemi was great all night, saving 34 of the 36 shots that came his way. Jamie Benn would add a late empty-netter to seal the victory for the Stars, who are now comfortably atop the Western Conference with 99 points.

One of my keys to the game for San Jose was to give effort and play smart for 60 minutes, and for the second straight game, that was not the case. Yet again, it was the second period that doomed team teal, who were outscored 2-0 in the second.

It wasn’t necessarily the shots on goal (Sharks led 12-9 in period two), but more so the bad penalties they took, lack of composure with Roussel and losing track of opponents, which directly led to the second goal. Jones didn’t see a ton of action in net, but when he did, his team put him in difficult positions to make saves.

The Sharks have one more chance to get a win during this six-game home stand on Monday night, when they’ll play the division-leading Kings. Elsewhere, the Ducks scored four goals in the third period to defeat the Senators, pushing them ahead of San Jose by four points with a game in hand. More importantly, though, the Sharks need to play cleaner and earn some points before time runs out and the season ends, or else they will be going into the playoffs with no momentum.

Game notes

Brent Burns recorded double digit shots for the second time this year, finishing the afternoon with 10 on goal.

-Burns also has the most shots on goal (324) in a season ever by a San Jose Shark, passing Jonathan Cheechoo.

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-Joe Thornton is an assist away from moving to 14th all-time in assists. He’s currently tied with Mark Recchi at the 956 mark.

-Martin Jones allowed more than two goals for the first time since Feb. 24 at Colorado.

-The Coyotes play tonight vs. Calgary – a ‘Yotes regulation loss would clinch a playoff berth for the Sharks.