SAN JOSE –- Mattias Janmark scored twice and former Sharks goalie Antti Niemi made 34 saves, as San Jose failed to clinch a playoff spot for the third straight game in a 4-2 home loss to the Stars on Saturday afternoon.
San Jose could officially punch its postseason ticket later Saturday if the Flyers beat the Coyotes, but it has now lost three straight games in regulation, all at SAP Center. The Sharks are 2-3 on a six-game homestand that concludes on Monday, and 16-18-3 overall in their building.
The Sharks took an unsightly 0-for-6 on the power play, and outshot the Stars for the game, 36-17.
Dallas scored the first three goals, and held off the Sharks’ late push.
The game had a nasty edge from the start, thanks in large part to the Stars’ Antonie Roussel. Less than eight minutes in, he drew a roughing penalty on Brenden Dillon after mixing it up with Roman Polak behind the net.
At 14:05 of the first, Roussel was on the receiving end of two heavy hits. Polak ran him into the glass, and second later Wingels came flying in to deliver another significant blow, knocking Roussel over. He and Wingels fought after that, and replays showed Roussel yanking at Wingels’ hair after linesmen had separated the pair.
Shortly after that, Jordie Benn’s low wrister was redirected by Janmark at 15:28, opening the scoring.
Martin Jones kept it 1-0 just before the break, stopping Patrick Sharp on a breakaway in the final seconds, but Dallas added a pair of second period scores to take a commanding lead.
Janmark got his second of the afternoon at 4:22. Jason Spezza pulled Jones out of the crease before sliding the puck to the slot where Janmark easily pushed it into the empty cage.
A power play goal at 14:19 upped the Dallas lead to 3-0, when Sharp smacked in a one-timer on Spezza’s cross-ice feed with Joe Pavelski in the box for boarding.
Playing his third game against his former club this season, Antti Niemi was solid. In the second, he gloved a Pavelski wrister at 3:22 and snagged a Dainius Zubrus attempt from the high slot at 10:38 on two of his better stops.
The Sharks pressed in the third, though. Joel Ward was gifted a shorthanded goal when he collided with Niemi, knocking him over, and then was handed the puck by Jordie Benn before depositing it into the empty net at 3:44.
San Jose continued to pressure Dallas after the goal, and Tomas Hertl swiped in a Pavelski rebound at 5:48.
The Sharks never could find the equalizer, though. Niemi got a piece of Pavelski’s power play shot with about 6:20 left, while Nick Spaling rang it off the crossbar with a little more than four minutes to go. Jamie Benn’s empty net goal capped the scoring.
Dallas and San Jose split the first two meetings of the season series. The Stars lead the Western Conference with 99 points (45-22-9).
Ward’s score was its sixth shorthanded goal of the season. Ten of the Sharks’ shots came on their six power plays.
The Stars are 34-for-35 on the penalty kill over their last 11 games.
Dallas was 1-for-3, ending a run of four straight games where the Sharks had not allowed a power play goal-against.
Niemi improved to 2-0-1 in his career against the Sharks, and is 23-12-7 on the season.
Jones took the loss, with three goals allowed in 16 shots.
Joonas Donskoi, who left the Sharks’ game on Thursday in the second period with a lower body injury, was not healthy enough to play despite taking warmups. He missed his first game since Oct. 24.
Zubrus, a healthy scratch on Thursday, returned on the wing with Logan Couture and Melker Karlsson.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic remains out with a lower body injury. The Sharks are 2-5-1 when missing their best defensive defenseman.
The Sharks close out their homestand on Monday, hosting the Kings in the final head-to-head matchup between the Pacific Division rivals in what may be a potential preview. San Jose is 2-1-1 against Los Angeles this season.