Saturday, February 23, 2013 11:14 pm
Benn has goal, assist in Stars' win over Sharks
The Associated Press
Jaromir Jagr and Michael Ryder also scored for Dallas, and Cristopher Nilstorp was outstanding in making 31 saves for his first NHL win.
The Stars, 1-3 in their previous four games, snapped an 0-for-16, power-play skid and scored on consecutive opportunities to take a 2-0 lead early in the third period.
Patrick Marleau notched the only goal for San Jose, his 12th of the season, but the Sharks fell to 1-6-2 in their last nine. Antti Niemi made 25 saves.
With Kari Lehtonen missing his third straight game because of a groin injury, Nilstorp stepped up to earn the victory.
Benn, who fired up the Stars with a second-period fight against Joe Thornton, sealed the win with a wrist shot from the high slot that beat a screened Niemi with 2:11 remaining.
Jagr broke the scoreless tie and the Stars' four-game power play drought, with 57.3 seconds left in the second period. Benn fed a quick pass from the right circle in front to Jagr, who redirected it over Niemi's pad for his fifth goal of the season and 670th in the NHL.
The Stars immediately went on another power play when Douglas Murray was assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and 30 seconds into the final period, they struck again.
Ryder netted his sixth goal of the season when his wrist shot from the high slot beat Niemi past the blocker.
Dallas got into penalty trouble of its own after that, putting San Jose on a 5-on-3 advantage when Stephane Robidas was whistled for hooking at 2:17.
The Sharks needed just two seconds to capitalize as Thornton won the faceoff in the left circle and sent a pass to Marleau alone in front for a wrist shot that beat Nilstorp inside the right post.
Nilstorp then made a spectacular pad save on Thornton's breakaway attempt at 9:03. After falling on Nilstorp, Thornton managed to feed the puck in front to Logan Couture for an easy tap-in that would have tied the game, but the goal was waved off because of goalie interference.
The Stars nearly went up by two with 5:16 remaining, but Niemi made a fabulous pad save on Antoine Roussel's point-blank wrist shot.
The sellout crowd rose to its feet at 8:21 of the second period when Thornton and Benn engaged in a rare fight for the offensive stars. Both players casually dropped their gloves and removing their helmets before squaring off.
Less than two minutes later, the Stars nearly took the lead when Vernon Fiddler unleashed a slap shot on the rush from the left circle that beat Niemi over the glove but hit the far goal post.
The Stars had a prime opportunity when Marc-Edouard Vlasic's delay-of-game penalty for shooting the puck into the crowd gave them a 5-on-3 power play for 1:02, but they couldn't capitalize.
NOTES: Sharks LW Ryane Clowe sat out due to suspension, pending a hearing on Monday, for possibly coming off the bench to initiate an altercation Friday night with Chicago's Andrew Shaw. . Dallas D Aaron Rome left the game late in the first period because of a lower body injury and didn't return. ... San Jose D Brent Burns also left in the first period with an undisclosed injury and didn't come back. ... The Stars honored Taya Kyle, the widow of former Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, who was killed at a Texas gun range on Feb. 2.