<
>

Sharks bounce Stars in battle for second in Pacific

DALLAS (AP) -- The San Jose Sharks didn't waste any time bouncing
back from a lopsided defeat.

Joe Thornton scored his 200th career goal and added two assists
to help the Sharks snap a three-game losing streak with a 4-2
victory over the Dallas Stars on Sunday night.

Joe Pavelski, Jonathan Cheechoo and Patrick Marleau also had
first-period goals for the Sharks, coming off a season-worst 8-0
road loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night.

"We had a lot to talk about, mainly about effort," Pavelski
said.

Coach Ron Wilson had a lengthy game-day tape session with his
players and the emphasis was on defense.

"First of all, scoring the first goal for the first time in a
long time was huge for us," Wilson said. "Last night we were down
3-0 after the first period. Tonight we get a three-goal lead with
the same effort."

Vesa Toskala made 21 saves for the Sharks, who have 52 points,
two more than the Stars, for second place in the Pacific Division.

Sergei Zubov and Niklas Hagman scored for the injury-depleted
Stars, who had won four of their previous five.

Out for the Stars were left wing Brenden Morrow (severed tendons
in his right wrist), center Eric Lindros (upper body injury), and
their most skilled offensive player, center Mike Modano (hip
flexor/groin injury), who missed his 13th straight game. Dallas is
7-6 since Modano's injury.

The Stars expected an early onslaught from the Sharks, and San
Jose delivered, building a 17-7 first-period edge in shots.

"We knew they were going to play a desperate game," Stars
coach Dave Tippett said. "This was our fourth game in six nights
and we got behind the eight ball early. It takes a lot more energy
to chase a team than to protect a lead."

Pavelski's rebound at 1:25 of the first period got the Sharks
off to a fast start, scoring the Sharks' first goal against Dallas
in the teams' last three meetings. That broke Stars goalie Marty
Turco's 143:45 scoreless streak against the Sharks.

"He's been great against us," Thornton said. "We just wanted
to get as many shots as we could and crash the net."

Cheechoo's 12th goal on a power-play rebound at 5:18 of the
opening period made it 2-0.

Zubov's power-play goal got Dallas within 2-1 at 7:17.

But San Jose made it 3-1 on Marleau's power-play rebound for his
17th goal at 9:05 of the opening period when Dallas again failed to
clear the front of the net.

"Cheechoo's goal was a second chance and mine was a third,"
Pavelski said. "I think we were just getting to the front. We had
to work a little bit harder. With the new rules, it's harder to box
you out. It seemed like every goal was a second or third try."

At that point, Tippett removed Turco and replaced him with
rookie Mike Smith.

"That first goal was big," Turco said. "We didn't have a
response. There were battles in front of the net and I couldn't
keep those rebounds out."

The Sharks continued the barrage when Thornton notched his 11th
goal of the season at 11:36 to extend the lead to 4-1.

"We were just trying to stop the bleeding and look for a change
in momentum," Tippett said of the goalie change.

Hagman's goal from the slot at 10:03 of the final period pulled
Dallas within 4-2.

Game notes
Modano skated briefly at practice Saturday, but is expected
to be out another two weeks. ... The Stars played at home on New
Year's Eve for the ninth straight season. ... D Kyle McLaren was
back in the San Jose lineup after missing three games due to the
flu. ... Stars RW Matthew Barnaby was a healthy scratch for his
third straight game. ... Out for the Sharks were RWs Ville Nieminen
(lower body injury) and Ryan Clowe (groin). ... Mathias
Tjarnqvist's assist on Hagman's goal was his first point of the
season.