Joe Pavelski had a goal and two assists, Joe Thornton added another timely goal, and the San Jose Sharks won back-to-back games for just the second time in nearly four weeks, beating the Dallas Stars 5-2 Saturday.
Evgeni Nabokov made 23 saves, and Devin Setoguchi had a goal and an assist as the Sharks pulled within one point of Detroit for the overall NHL lead with their fifth win in six meetings with the Stars, who knocked them out of the playoffs in the second round last spring. Milan Michalek also scored, and captain Patrick Marleau added an empty-netter.
Loui Eriksson scored his 33rd goal for the Stars, who went winless on their three-game road trip. Stephane Robidas also scored, but Marty Turco wasn't sharp while making 25 saves for Dallas, which is running out of time to make a playoff push with just 10 regular-season games to go.
The Stars are in a three-way tie for 10th place in the Western Conference, but a 4-10-1 slump has them in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
San Jose avenged the Stars' 4-1 victory at the Shark Tank earlier this month with a comprehensive effort highlighted by two sequences of rapid-fire goals. Thornton and Setoguchi scored 29 seconds apart in the first period before Pavelski and Michalek got their goals 19 seconds apart in the second.
San Jose's performance in a rare Shark Tank matinee wasn't all positive. Defenseman Rob Blake left midway through the second period without explanation, and center Marcel Goc didn't return after what appeared to be a serious leg injury in the third.
The Sharks still improved to an NHL-best 29-3-4 at home with their third straight win at the Tank.
The Stars couldn't even get a boost from the return of Brad Richards, who had missed the last 15 games with a broken wrist. Dallas' third-leading scorer had been out for five weeks, but returned on a line with Brendan Morrison and Eriksson, who got the opening goal early in the first period with a wraparound shot that skipped over Nabokov's outstretched arms.
Thornton tied it with a power-play goal, the eighth score in 11 games for one of the NHL's elite passers. Setoguchi added his 26th goal moments later, tapping home a rebound of Brad Lukowich's shot from underneath Turco.
Pavelski got his 21st goal late in the second period with a quick shot when the puck bounced back to him after he won a faceoff in Dallas' zone. Later in the same shift, Michalek's shot into the crease deflected in off the skate of Richards, who was unsuccessfully attempting to slow Setoguchi's bull-rush to the net.
Robidas' shot slipped through a crowd early in the third period for his third goal of the year, but Dallas didn't generate many more scoring chances _ and a turnover during a power play allowed Marleau to skate unimpeded for a short-handed empty-netter, his career-best 37th goal.
Goc, the Sharks' German checking specialist, needed help to get to the locker room with about 10 minutes left when he collapsed in a heap behind Dallas' net. Goc, who only returned six games ago from a lower-body injury that kept him out for a month, appeared to be favoring his left leg.
Notes:@ Richards left the ice with about 10 minutes left. ... Sharks regulars Ryane Clowe, Jeremy Roenick, Mike Grier, Tomas Plihal and Claude Lemieux already are sidelined by injuries. ... Dallas C Brian Sutherby missed his first game since Dec. 20 with a lower-body injury.
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