Sharks must wait again to clinch playoffs after 4-2 loss to Stars

The Sharks' late attempt at a rally fell short Saturday in their third consecutive regulation loss at home.|

SAN JOSE - This was just the kind of playoff preparation Dallas coach Lindy Ruff wanted. A physical game against a quality team that featured some tense moments late before his team held onto the win.

Mattias Janmark returned to the lineup from injury and posted his first career two-goal game and Antti Niemi made 34 saves against his former team as the Stars held off the San Jose Sharks 4-2 on Saturday.

Patrick Sharp added a power-play goal and Jamie Benn scored an empty-netter to help the Stars remain in first place in the Central Division by winning for the fourth time in five games.

Niemi, traded to Dallas last offseason after five seasons in San Jose, got the win in his first start in two weeks.

“Really exciting game, exciting day,” Niemi said. “It’s been a while since the last game and also since the last win so it feels pretty good.”

Joel Ward scored a short-handed goal and Tomas Hertl also scored for San Jose. But the Sharks’ late attempt at a rally fell short in their third consecutive regulation loss at home, once again delaying their playoff clinching. Martin Jones made 13 saves.

Dallas struggled to hold onto the 3-0 lead after two periods. San Jose’s comeback attempt started when Benn gave the puck away in his own zone to Ward with Dallas on the power play. Ward knocked it into the empty net to give the Sharks a spark.

San Jose then picked up the forecheck and added a second goal when Hertl knocked in the rebound of Joe Pavelski’s shot to make it 3-2 with 14:14 to go.

But Dallas killed two penalties later in the third to hold onto the win. The Stars killed all six penalties against the third ranked power-play unit in the league.

“If you give our PP unit that much time, we have to get one,” Pavelski said. “We have to really find a way to produce, not just chances but goals. We still be to be cleaner.”

The game got off to a chippy start when Dallas forward Antoine Roussel was hit hard twice within seconds by Roman Polak and Tommy Wingels. Roussel got up from the second hit and slashed Michael Haley in retaliation. As soon as Roussel got out of the penalty box, he started a fight with Wingels and appeared to pull his hair before the linesmen broke it up.

“I was embarrassed to be a part of that ongoing fiasco the entire game,” Wingels said. “Every shift after that, you are going to try and fight again, the refs don’t want that. I don’t think that belongs in our game.”

UPDATED: Please read and follow our commenting policy:
  • This is a family newspaper, please use a kind and respectful tone.
  • No profanity, hate speech or personal attacks. No off-topic remarks.
  • No disinformation about current events.
  • We will remove any comments — or commenters — that do not follow this commenting policy.