Thanks to two goals separated by 30 seconds in the third period, the San Jose Sharks clinched a playoff spot with a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.
Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture netted the two goals in the third period as the Sharks will be in the postseason for a ninth straight year. With 57 points, the team jumped into a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference with Los Angeles.
"It was a crazy year. It's obviously not over yet," Couture said. "Just the 48-game schedule, so many games back to back and inconsistency of the seven- game winning streak, the big losing streak and then the stretch we've gone on now. It's been a weird year. Our main goal from day one was to get into the playoffs. We've done that now so I guess that's all that matters going forward."
Raffi Torres had the other goal and Antti Niemi made 24 saves for the Sharks, who have won four of their last five games.
Dallas was dealt a severe blow in its attempts to get into the postseason. With two games left on their schedule, the team has 48 points and sits three back of the Columbus Blue Jackets for the eighth spot in the Western Conference.
"Desperation. Do or die," Stars center Jamie Benn said. "Just like tonight. We needed these points and didn't get them. There are still four out there that we can get."
Loui Eriksson and Antoine Roussel each had a goal for the Stars, who have dropped three straight. Kari Lehtonen gave up all three goals on 37 shots in the loss.
Dallas held a 2-1 lead in the latter stages of the third period, but the Sharks tied the game with 5:37 to play as Brad Stuart threw a quick shot on net from the right point and it was tipped in by Pavelski to tie things up.
Moments later, a turnover in the Dallas end saw the puck go back to the right point where Justin Braun got it down low. The disc eventually found its way to the left side where Couture put it in for his 20th of the season with 5:07 left.
Dallas pulled Lehtonen with over a minute to play, but time ran out before the team was able to net the equalizer.
The Sharks scored the first goal of the game while on the power play as a nice passing play was finished off when Scott Gomez sent it from the left wing to the slot on the rush and Torres tipped it in.
Dallas tied it less than two minutes later as Cody Eakin got the puck on net from the right circle and Roussel poked the rebound past the left leg of Niemi.
Just 17 seconds into the second period, the Stars made it a 2-1 game while on a 5-on-3 advantage as Alex Goligoski's shot from the left point was stopped, but Eriksson was in front to bang in the rebound.
San Jose, which went 17-2-5 at home, plays its final two games of the regular season on the road at Phoenix on Wednesday and Los Angeles on Saturday ... Dallas went 11-11-2 on the road and closes its regular season with home games against Columbus and Detroit on Thursday and Saturday, respectively ... Dallas won three of the four games against San Jose this season ... Dallas was 1- for-3 on the power play while San Jose was 1-for-2.