SAN JOSE — For 59 minutes, Dallas Stars goalie Marty Turco had been roaming his team's zone like a third defenseman, successfully retrieving pucks, then sending the offense up ice with lengthy passes.
Then in that final minute, he flubbed a clearing effort. Sharks captain Patrick Marleau was there to pounce on the puck and instead of being 28.3 seconds away from overtime, the Sharks had a 2-1 victory over the team that dumped them from the playoffs last May. The win improved San Jose's record to a perfect 9-0 at HP Pavilion this season.
"You live by the sword, you die by the sword," Sharks Coach Todd McLellan said afterward. "Marty has a lot of courage to go out and play the puck, which is a great quality. But sometimes it comes back to haunt you and tonight was one of those nights."
The victory bumped the Sharks' NHL-best record to 13-2. And it gave backup goalie Brian Boucher — starting in place of injured Evgeni Nabokov — his third victory in three tries. Boucher did see his personal shutout streak this season end at 163:41 minutes when Stars left wing Loui Eriksson scored on a freak bounce early in the third period. But that was the only one of 24 shots to get past him.
"You can't get disappointed when a goal goes in," Boucher said. "You just have to shrug it off, move on and get ready for the next play."
Nabokov wasn't the only regular out of the lineup. Right wing Jonathan Cheechoo missed his
Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle's third goal of the season gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead at 7:13 of the first period. Boyle was trailing on the play and benefited when center Joe Thornton sent the puck his way.
Boucher really wasn't tested until the second period, when he came up big several times. He stopped Dallas veteran Mike Modano's backhand with a pad save, then frustrated rookie Fabian Brunnstrum when he tried to stuff it into the net on a power play.
The Stars got their goal at 3:41 of the third period on a play that started with a giveaway by Sharks defenseman Brad Lukowich. And just when it looked as if the game were heading to overtime, Turco made his mistake. This time it was a pass from Lukowich that started the big play.
"I started cutting across the middle and Lukey threw a hard pass," Marleau said. "I just tried to get it in deep, but it went right on net."
Turco tried to backhand the puck away from the pursuing Shark, but failed.
"I really don't know what I was thinking," the goalie said, "At that particular time of the game, I shouldn't be thinking high over the middle."
Marleau called it a fortunate play, saying the puck "hit my skate, went up to my stick where I took a couple whacks at it. That's what you're kind of hoping for, forcing him to make a play before he's read to make a play."
To McLellan, the style of play was "maybe more like a playoff game."
"It was tight checking," he added. "It wasn't a free-wheeling, lot of passing type of game. There was a lot of board work. It was good for us to play that kind of game."
Contact David Pollak at firstname.lastname@example.org.