Vincour's shootout goal lifts Stars

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 09, 2012
Tomas Vincour scored in the final minute of regulation, and then added the lone goal of the shootout in the fifth round to give the surging Dallas Stars a 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night. Kari Lehtonen made 45 saves through overtime and then was perfect in the shootout. He stopped Logan Couture in the final round to seal the win for Dallas. Vincour gave the Stars the edge in the tiebreaker when he flipped a backhander past Antti Niemi. Pacific Division-leading Dallas won its fourth straight and improved to 79 points, four ahead of San Jose. Joe Pavelski put the Sharks in front 3-2 when he pushed a rebound past Lehtonen with 3:32 left in regulation for his 24th goal. But with Lehtonen off for an extra skater, Vincour nudged the puck over the line at 19:45 to tie it. The goal was upheld by video replay. Pavelski had the best scoring chance in overtime, while the Sharks were on a power play, but Lehtonen denied his backhanded attempt from in close with just under 90 seconds to play. Niemi made 32 saves for the faltering Sharks, 2-7-3 in their last 12 games overall and 1-5-2 in their last eight on the road. Dallas returned from a 3-0 road trip and is 8-0-1 in its last nine. Patrick Marleau notched his 27th goal of the season from the slot 25 seconds into the third period to put the Sharks in front 2-1. But Jamie Benn's 20th drew Dallas even at 2 at 6:42 of the third when he backhanded a pass from Adam Burish past Niemi. The Stars took the lead when Michael Ryder netted his 29th goal at 12:16 of the second, but Torrey Mitchell tied it at 3 when he got around defenseman Alex Goligoski and beat Lehtonen from close range with 1.6 seconds remaining in the second period. The Sharks opened a four-game trip with the fourth of six meetings with the Stars. San Jose won the first three by a total score of 14-5, although the Stars used backup goalies in all of those games while Lehtonen was either rested or injured. Dallas held an early 7-4 edge in shots, but San Jose finished with a 16-8 advantage in the scoreless opening period. Ryder had given the Stars the lead when he skated in alone and fired a shot past Niemi. Seconds earlier, Lehtonen had denied Ryane Clowe's prime scoring chance with a sliding pad save. NOTES: Dallas D Sheldon Souray was done after two periods because of an undisclosed lower body injury. ... Sharks RW Martin Havlat (hamstring) missed his 36th consecutive game. ... Lehtonen has started 16 of 18 games. ... LW Steve Ott (back spasms), LW Brenden Morrow (neck, shoulder) and C Jake Dowell (finger) were out for Dallas. Ott missed his first game since Nov. 15. Morrow, the Stars captain, sat out his 18th straight game, but he is practicing with the team and is nearing a return to the lineup.
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