Stars win again, tie for playoff spot
Eric Nystrom and rookie Alex Chiasson scored goals, Richard Bachman made 31 saves and the Dallas Stars extended their winning streak to five games Saturday night with a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks.
Chiasson scored his sixth goal in just his sixth career NHL contest since being recalled from AHL Texas on April 2, helping the Stars improve to 45 points, even with Detroit and Columbus for the Western Conference's eighth and final playoff spot.
Bachman has been outstanding since stepping in for the injured Kari Lehtonen early in the Stars' 5-1 win over Los Angeles on Tuesday, stopping 79 of 82 shots and winning all three contests.
Lehtonen remains day to day with a strained groin.
Brent Burns scored for the Sharks, who were coming off a 3-2 shootout win in Detroit on Thursday and are 8-2-1 in their last 11 contests.
Antti Niemi, starting his 19th straight game, made 17 saves.
The Stars have outscored opponents 19-9 during their winning streak, not including the shootout goal they were awarded when they rebounded from a 4-2 third-period deficit to defeat the Sharks 5-4 in San Jose last Sunday.
San Jose controlled the action for most of the third period, outshooting the Stars 13-5, but the Sharks were only able to get one past Bachman.
With Dallas leading 2-0, San Jose pulled to within one on Burns' power-play goal at 5:56 of the final period. Bachman stopped T.J. Galiardi's shot from the edge of the crease, but the rebound spit out front, ricocheted off the skate of Stars winger Loui Eriksson and right to Burns, who swiped a backhander past Bachman's glove.
Bachman made several key saves to preserve the Stars' lead as the period went on, including a huge pad stop on Patrick Marleau's one-timer from in front, off a pass from Martin Havlat behind the net at 12:42.
The Sharks swarmed the Dallas zone after pulling Niemi in the final minute, but were unable to get most of their shot attempts through, as multiple Stars dropped to the ice to block shots. Bachman did get the knob of his stick on Marleau's blast from the high slot with just four seconds remaining to secure the win.
Dallas jumped out quickly, taking the lead just 1:57 into the opening period on Nystrom's seventh goal of the year. After receiving a quick pass from Trevor Daley at the Dallas blue line, Nystrom led a 2-on-1 rush into San Jose territory, firing a wrist shot from the left circle that beat Niemi inside the right post.
Chiasson continued his recent run of success at 7:00 with his sixth goal in the last five outings. Just 22 seconds into a Dallas power play, Ray Whitney drilled a one-timer from the right point that Chiasson deflected from the slot past Niemi's blocker, just inside the left post.
The Stars were just 1 for 20 on the man-advantage over the previous six contests.
The Sharks nearly broke through on their own man-advantage in the second period, but Bachman made three fantastic saves within 9 seconds. First, he denied Joe Thornton's wrist shot from the high slot. Than at 11:41, he robbed Joe Pavelski on a wrist shot from in front, before managing to smother Marleau's rebound attempt.
Notes: With an assist on Nystrom's goal, Dallas C Vernon Fiddler extended his career-long scoring streak to six games, during which he's totaled two goals and 10 points. ... The Stars honored former D Derian Hatcher as part of their 20th anniversary all-time team. Hatcher, who played his first two seasons in Minnesota before the North Stars relocated to Dallas in 1993, skated for the Stars through 2003, helping them win the 1999 Stanley Cup. He was the first American to serve as captain of a Cup-winning team.