Stars top Sharks, grab Pacific lead

SAN JOSE, CA -- The Dallas Stars' fifth straight win in San Jose left them alone atop the Pacific Division.

Mike Ribeiro and Brenden Morrow each had a goal and an assist in the Stars' 4-2 victory over the Sharks on Saturday.

Dallas, which has a two-point lead over the Sharks for first place in the Pacific, hasn't lost in San Jose since Dec. 21, 2006.

"It was an intense and hard fought hockey game," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "They are a big strong team and we're certainly not as big as they are, but we didn't back down physically.

"This is a game a team can build off for the rest of the season."

Dallas took advantage with two goals on six power-play opportunities. The Sharks racked up 31 penalty minutes, 19 stemming from an altercation between defenseman Craig Rivet and Stars center Steve Ott.

"This was a four-point game for the lead," Ott said. "Our power play was clutch."

Ott, who was slashed above the left eye in the game's waning moments of the game, scored an empty-net goal to seal the victory.

"It certainly had the atmosphere of a playoff game," Rivet said. "You have two teams that are battling for first place in our division. This (Dallas) is a team that has played well (11-4) in their last 15 games. We wanted to come out with some intensity, and I thought we did. We just came up short."

San Jose has an NHL-high 11 road wins, but only six victories in 15 home games.

"It's funny I wish I could explain our success here," Tippett said. "They've had our number on home ice and we have theirs here (in San Jose)."

Morrow scored the Stars' first goal on a flukey play in the second period after San Jose had taken a 1-0 lead in the first on Devin Setoguchi's goal.

Morrow and Patrick Marleau were fighting for the puck when it was flipped over the net and landed in front of goalie Evgeni Nabokov. As a crowd of players gathered in front, Morrow pushed the puck in for his 12th goal of the season.

"I'd love to tell you a great story," said Morrow, "but it was just an ugly pass that I tried to make. It went up and over the net. I thought it might land on Nabokov's back and roll in but it touched down in front of him. But I got free and was able to get the puck in there."

Marty Turco made 16 saves in his 17th win against San Jose in 26 games. Nabokov, playing in his 31st straight game, stopped 17 shots.

Antti Miettinen put the Stars ahead for good with 3:04 left in the second period with a slap shot from the blue line. Ribeiro scored his 16th of the season to tie it 2-all six minutes earlier when Dallas was on a 5-on-3 power-play.

Patrick Rissmiller added a second-period goal for the San Jose.


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