SAN JOSE -- Sharks captain Joe Thornton admitted Saturday night he wasn't thrilled to be picked by coach Todd McLellan for the shootout after four of his teammates had failed in their attempts.

Thornton certainly didn't look uncomfortable, as he beat goalie Kari Lehtonen with a wrist shot to help give the Sharks a come-from-behind 3-2 shootout win over the Dallas Stars.

Goalie Alex Stalock stopped 44 shots in regulation time and overtime, and stopped all five shots he faced in the shootout as the Sharks won for just the third time in their past nine games.

"You don't really want to know what my reaction was when," McLellan called his name, Thornton said. "When my name was called, I was like, 'All right.' ... I just saw a little bit of net and put it in."

The game was the first for the Sharks since they lost rookie forward Tomas Hertl to a knee injury that will keep him out for at least a month, and possibly much longer.

In response, McLellan grouped his top three scorers -- Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, and Thornton -- on one line. McLellan also had Logan Couture on a line with Brent Burns and Marty Havlat. Hertl had been on a line with Thornton and Burns for much of the season.

All Sharks lines and their defensive pairings were spotty for the first half of the game, as Dallas grabbed a 2-0 lead on goals by Ray Whitney and Antoine Roussel. Another would-be goal by Colton Sceviour, who tapped a loose puck past Stalock, midway through the second period did not count as the whistle had already been blown.

After that, the Sharks seemed to find some momentum. Jason Demers scored his first of the season shortly after the non-goal by Sceviour, and the Sharks applied a lot more pressure on the Stars in the third period.

Thornton and Pavelski accounted for the Sharks' second goal. Trailing 2-1, Thornton reached to keep the puck in the Stars' end and found Pavelski along the boards. Pavelski did the rest, skating to the middle of the ice and beating Lehtonen with a backhander that tied the score with 15:36 left in the third.

The Sharks may have been fortunate to be trailing just 2-1 entering the third, as Dallas outshot San Jose 31-22 through 40 minutes.

"We haven't won many thirds in a long stretch," Pavelski said. "This was another chance for us."

Stalock made his first career start at home Saturday, but couldn't stop the third shot directed his way. After the Sharks failed to clear the zone, the puck found its way to Whitney, whose backhand shot went through Brad Stuart's legs and over Stalock's left shoulder for a 1-0 Stars lead with 15:12 left in the first period.

The Stars made it 2-0 early in the second period. After gaining the Sharks' zone with not much defensive resistance, Dallas' Alex Goligoski fed the puck in front of the San Jose net and it deflected off Roussel and past Stalock.

After that, Stalock, who entered the game with a 2.06 goals against average and a .930 save percentage this season, seemed to settle down. Stalock's last start came Dec. 6 in a 4-3 loss at Carolina, as Antti Niemi has been in the San Jose net for the past six games.

INSIDE
Sharks rookie Tomas Hertl will miss at least a month -- possibly the season -- with a knee injury. page 5


Monday's game
Colorado (23-10-2) at Sharks
(22-8-6), 7:30 p.m. CSNCA