Stars hook Sharks in shootout

SAN JOSE (Reuters) - Goaltender Andrew Raycroft made 31 saves and stopped two attempts during a shootout to give the Dallas Stars a nail-biting 3-2 Pacific Division win over the San Jose Sharks on Monday.

Following a scoreless overtime, Jamie Benn and Brad Richards converted shootout scores for Dallas and Raycroft saved San Jose's third and final attempt as the Stars (18-10-2) took over first place in the division.

Raycroft was making his fourth start in place of injured goaltender Kari Lehtonen, and came up with several big saves to push the game into overtime.

"Andrew showed he's a professional," Dallas coach Marc Crawford told reporters. "He made a couple of huge saves for us. He keeps showing the ability to rise to the occasion."

Benn opened the scoring at 6:17 in the first period before San Jose took a 2-1 advantage in the second where Derek Joslin and Ryane Clowe scored two minutes apart.

It was Clowe's fifth straight game with a point while Joslin recorded his first NHL goal.

Dallas center Mike Ribeiro netted a power-play goal with 2:20 left in the second to tie the contest.

In the competitive Pacific Division, San Jose (15-10-5) entered the night tied for last in the division yet trailed first-place Dallas by just two points.

"It was a good divisional game," said San Jose captain Joe Thornton. "There was a lot of passion in that game.

"You'd like those types of games to continue and just play forever. It was just too bad we lost in a shootout."

The Stars also edged the Sharks 5-4 in a shootout in their last meeting on November 18.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in LA; Editing by Alastair Himmer)