NHL Game Summary - Dallas at San Jose
(Sunday, April 9th)
Final Score: San Jose 4, Dallas 1
San Jose, CA (Sports Network) - Jonathan Cheechoo scored his 49th goal of the season and Joe Thornton had two assists to lift the San Jose Sharks into the Western Conference playoff race with a 4-1 win over the Dallas Stars at HP Pavilion.
Thornton increased his league-leading assist total to 85 and his team-leading point total to 113, as San Jose moved from the ninth spot and outside the playoff picture to the seventh position with 91 points. The Edmonton Oilers, who lost to the St. Louis Blues on Sunday 2-1, also have 91 points, but the Sharks currently hold the tiebreaker.
"We've been trying to set a tone for last forty games," said Thornton. "We've been hunting teams down the last forty games. We know what is at stake. We have to win every game to be in the playoffs. Really, every game has been a playoff game for us for so long, and we've been playing real well lately."
Vesa Toskala made 21 saves for the Sharks, who have won four straight, outscoring their opponents 14-4 over that stretch.
Sergei Zubov had the lone goal for the Stars, who had a two-game winning streak stopped.
Marty Turco ended with 32 saves for Dallas, which can't catch the conference's top seed Detroit due to the setback, but has the second spot all wrapped up.
The Sharks started the scoring at the 6:44 mark of the first period. After receiving a pass from the right side boards from Marcel Goc at the bottom of the right circle, Steve Bernier spun and from one knee wristed a shot over the left shoulder of Turco.
Patrick Rissmiller made it 2-0 in favor of San Jose in the second period when he deflected a Christian Ehrhoff pass by Turco 4:47 into the stanza. The goal came on the power play.
Zubov's slapper nearly eight minutes later cut the deficit in half, but the Sharks quickly put the game out of reach with a pair of goals within a 1:44 stretch.
At the 14:03 mark Cheechoo took a pass from Thornton at the point and slapped it by Turco for a 3-1 advantage.
Patrick Marleau then made it a three-goal game on the power play when he one- touched a cross-ice pass from Thornton into an open net, as Turco could not get over the to other post in time.
"You try to give yourself a chance to win and there are certain things when you play the night before that you try and take care of," said Dallas head coach Dave Tippet. "One of those things is discipline. And when you put a desperate team on the power play nine times in the first two periods, you get what you earn. We got what we earned."
Marleau's power play goal was his team record 20th of the season. He has 34 goals total this season...Cheechoo is one goal away from becoming the first San Jose player to record 50 goals in one season...The Sharks have five games remaining and Edmonton has three left, giving San Jose the current tiebreaker. The Sharks also have more wins than the Oilers...The Sharks and Stars split the eight games this season, but San Jose held the points advantage 10-8.
04/10 00:04:03 ET