DALLAS – The Stars scored twice in the first period and held on to defeat the Sharks, 2-1, at American Airlines Center on Saturday night.
The Sharks outshot Dallas and had a territorial advantage for most of the game, but Stars backup goaltender Richard Bachman's 31 saves gave the Stars their fifth straight win to move into the top eight in the Western Conference.
It didn’t take long for Dallas to take the lead. Dan Boyle got caught in the neutral zone while Eric Nystrom raced ahead on a two-on-one and deposited a wrist shot far side past Antti Niemi at 1:57.
The Sharks killed off an Adam Burish boarding minor at 2:22, but Raffi Torres’ interference penalty put the Stars back on the power play at 6:38. They took advantage when Alex Chiasson tipped a Ray Whitney blast from the point inside the post at the seven-minute mark.
San Jose was unable to get on the board in the first two periods despite outshooting the Stars. In the first, Marty Havlat was stopped alone in front of the net with 14 minutes to go, and TJ Galiardi found Brent Burns by himself in the slot, but the puck bounced over Burns’ stick when he tried to make a move with seven minutes to go.
Bachman’s best saves came with Dallas shorthanded in the second period. He got his right pad on a one-timer from Joe Pavelski in the circle, and held his ground on Patrick Marleau immediate rebound attempt to preserve the Stars’ 2-0 lead.
San Jose finally broke through on a power play in the third period. Scott Gomez got the puck to TJ Galiardi in front, and Burns backhanded in the rebound of Galiardi’s attempt at 5:56.
For Burns, it was his seventh goal since he changed positions in March.
The Sharks pulled Niemi with 1:28 to go in regulation but had had trouble getting shots through, as the Stars blocked seven attempts while San Jose kept it in the zone for the entire time.
Dallas finished with 30 blocked shots.
The Sharks lost their second of three games on their road trip, which ends on Monday in Phoenix. They are 8-2-1 in their last 11.
The Sharks and Stars complete their final season series as division rivals on April 23 at HP Pavilion. Dallas has won the first three.
The Sharks were 1-for-2 on the power play, while Dallas was 1-for-3.
The Stars’ home penalty kill entered the game ranked 27th in the NHL.
Niemi made his 19th straight start, and allowed two goals on 19 Stars shots. He lost in regulation for just the second time against the Stars in his last 10 decisions (6-2-2), and fell to 20-10-6 on the year.
Stars starting goalie Kari Lehtonen remained out with a groin injury. Bachman picked up his sixth win of the year against three losses.
Sharks coach Todd McLellan mixed up his top three forward lines before the game. Galiardi played with Burns and Joe Thornton in the most notable change. The Sharks iced the same lineup they used on Thursday in Detroit. James Sheppard, Tim Kennedy and Matt Tennyson remained the healthy scratches.
The Sharks wrap up their four-game road trip in Phoenix on Monday, and will face the Kings the next night at HP Pavilion to open a four-game homestand. The Sharks have seven games remaining in the regular season.