DALLAS – The perfect record is now a thing of the past, as the San Jose Sharks surrendered three separate leads in falling to the Dallas Stars in a shootout on Thursday night, 4-3.
[INSTANT REPLAY: Sharks suffer shootout loss in Dallas]
The inability to extend any of their one-goal advantages, coupled with an infective power play, led to San Jose’s first loss of the season. The Sharks fell to 6-0-1, but still remain the NHL’s only team not to suffer a regulation defeat, thanks to a Colorado loss to Detroit.
No one is going to panic after the Sharks’ dominant start saw them win five of their first six games by at least a three-goal margin. But, that doesn’t mean they’re in cheerful moods regarding the outcome, which prevented them from winning seven straight out of the gate for the second straight season.
“We just didn’t play well,” said Logan Couture, whose six-game point streak came to an end. "This is the first game where guys didn’t have it tonight. We tried to battle through it and get two points, but came up short.”
Todd McLellan said: “It’s not about the [winning] streak. It’s about living for today, and we’re disappointed we didn’t get the two points. We probably didn’t play well enough. We weren’t as crisp and as fast as we had been earlier, and sometimes a good team can do that to you.”
Each of the three Stars goals in regulation came from close range. Tyler Seguin found a loose puck in the first period after a point blast by Stephane Robidas; Trevor Daley had a puck deflect to his tape in the slot off of Matt Irwin; and Cody Eakin redirected a pass off of Antti Niemi’s pads by Alex Chiasson.
“A couple of their goals, Nemo makes the first save and we’ve got three guys back, and they’re putting the rebound in the net. That’s something we need to tighten up,” Couture said.
McLellan said: “That’s us not getting the job done. … We’ve got some work to do there.”
Couture nearly ended the game in the Sharks' favor in the closing seconds, after San Jose was awarded its fifth power play on a boarding penalty to Sergei Gonchar with a little more than a minute in overtime still on the clock. Dan Ellis held his ground with three seconds left, though, disrupting Couture’s attempt from the front of the net and forcing a shootout.
“Good chance, just tried to spin and get it on net. He pushed off and made a good save,” Couture said.
Joe Thornton said: “Logan had a good shot at the very end. … It would have been nice to finish that off in the last minute of the game.”
In the shootout, Ellis stopped Joe Pavelski and Couture fired high on the Sharks’ two attempts, after Dallas’ Jamie Benn and Seguin failed on their breakaways. But Chiasson found space under Niemi’s glove, and Ellis smothered Brent Burns to give Dallas its third win.
The Sharks were playing their first full game without Dan Boyle, who was back in San Jose after his scary collision into the boards Thursday in St. Louis. That emotional match, a 6-2 Sharks win in what was a battle of two unbeaten teams, could have had an effect on San Jose’s sloppy-at-times play against the Stars.
“It shouldn’t have been,” Couture said.
Perhaps the biggest goal of the night was Eakin’s second period marker, just 28 seconds after Patrick Marleau’s wraparound gave the Sharks a 3-2 lead.
“It’s tough, especially when you score a goal and they come back and score on the next shift,” Thornton said. “Those are the ones you want to bear down and make sure they don’t score.”
Couture said: “We didn’t play very well. We didn’t play well enough to win.”