Stars 4, Sharks 2

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Goaltender Antti Niemi made 34 saves, Mattias Janmark scored two goals, and the Dallas Stars held on for a 4-2 victory against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Saturday afternoon.

Patrick Sharp scored in the second period for the Stars (45-22-9), who clinched a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Tuesday and lead the Central Division with 99 points. Jamie Benn scored an empty-net goal with 1:08 left to play, his 37th goal of the season.

Martin Jones made 13 saves for the Sharks.

The Sharks (41-28-6) squandered their third straight chance to clinch a playoff spot.

Joel Ward and Tomas Hertl scored third-period goals for the Sharks, who entered the period trailing 3-0.

Ward scored a short-handed goal at 3:44 of the third, his 21st goal of the season. Niemi came out of his crease to play the puck, and Ward banged into him then put the puck into a wide-open net.

Hertl scored at 5:48 of the third, knocking a rebound past Niemi as the Sharks cut Dallas' lead to 3-2.

The Sharks went on their sixth power play of the game at 13:24 of the third, but the Stars made it six straight penalty kills. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski had a shot from the slot, but Niemi made a glove save with just over six minutes left to play.

Jones left the net with 1:39 to play, giving San Jose an extra attacker.

Niemi, a former Shark, started for just the second time in the past 11 games, and improved to 2-0-1 against San Jose this season. Niemi has 40 starts to 36 for Kari Lehtonen, but a late-season slump has cost him playing time.

Janmark returned to the lineup after missing six games with an upper-body injury and skated on the second line with center Jason Spezza and Valeri Nichushkin.

The Stars grabbed a 1-0 lead at 15:28 of the first period when Janmark scored his 14th goal of the season, redirecting defenseman Jordie Benn's point shot past Jones.

Dallas had a great chance to extend its lead in the closing seconds of the first period after a Sharks' turnover in the neutral zone ignited a breakaway for Sharp. But Jones made a glove save of Sharp's shot from close range.

San Jose outshot the Stars 12-5 in the first period, but Niemi stopped every shot he faced.

Janmark scored again at 4:22 of the second period, giving Dallas a 2-0 lead. Spezza took the puck below the goal line and fed a pass to Janmark in the low slot. Janmark's wrist shot deflected off of Hertl's skate and past Jones.

Sharp scored a power play goal at 14:19 of the second period with Pavelski in the penalty box for boarding Johnny Oduya, making it 3-0. Sharp took a cross-ice pass from Spezza in the left circle and beat Jones with a slap shot to the far side. The goal was Sharp's 18th of the season.

NOTES: Sharks RW Joonas Donskoi (lower body) took pregame warmups but was scratched. Donskoi was injured seven minutes into the second period Thursday against Edmonton during a collision with Sharks C Logan Couture and did not return to the game. … Sharks F Dainius Zubrus returned to the lineup after missing one game as a healthy scratch. … Stars D Kris Russell (lower body) missed his third straight game. “I would think the next game he'll play,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “We're just trying to give him a little extra time.” Dallas' next game is Tuesday against Nashville at American Airlines Center. … Stars LW Mattias Janmark returned to the lineup after missing six games with an upper-body injury. Janmark replaced RW Brett Ritchie in the lineup. … Stars G Antti Niemi, a former Shark, made his first start since March 12 against St. Louis.