Joe Pavelski helped the San Jose Sharks deliver the perfect response to a sloppy game.
Pavelski scored twice, backup goalie Aaron Dell made 29 saves to win his fourth straight start, and the Sharks rebounded from a lackluster loss to beat the Dallas Stars 5-1 on Sunday night.
“We needed a bounce-back game,” Pavelski said, referring to the Sharks’ 3-1 loss to Nashville on Saturday night. “We turned over too many pucks, we weren’t committed in a lot of areas yesterday. Today, we got the response we needed from a lot of guys.”
Patrick Marleau, Joel Ward and Chris Tierney also scored to give the first-place Sharks their sixth win in eight games. San Jose remained seven points ahead of Anaheim in the Pacific Division with a game in hand.
Logan Couture and Paul Martin each had two assists.
“It’s getting to that point in the season where we know what position we’re in as far as standings right now,” Martin said. “But for our push and the way that we want to play hockey down the stretch, we need to make sure that we’re staying at that high level.”
Dell has been outstanding of late as he has given coach Peter DeBoer the confidence to rest starter Martin Jones. Dell has stopped 113 of 118 shots during his streak and improved to 6-0 at home this season.
Remi Elie scored his first career goal for the Stars, who got off to a rough start to a four-game road trip.
Kari Lehtonen allowed three goals on eight shots before being pulled for the second straight game in favor of Antti Niemi, who stopped 16 of 18 shots. Dallas is tied with Colorado for allowing the most goals in the NHL this season with 220.
“It’s embarrassing,” captain Jamie Benn said. “It’s hard to put into words. If you’re going to play like that and have those numbers you’re not going to get too far.”
The Sharks broke the game open in the second period. Couture got his second assist of the game early in the period when he set up Ward in the slot for his eighth goal.
Coach Lindy Ruff then wanted to pull Lehtonen, but Niemi wasn’t ready to come into the game and had to wait until the next stoppage 25 seconds later to relieve Lehtonen.
It didn’t help at all as the Sharks added to the lead midway through the period when Esa Lindell lost control of the puck at the point with Dallas on the power play. Pavelski took possession and skated in on a breakaway for his 26th goal of the year.
Tierney scored on a rebound of Dylan DeMelo’s shot early in the third to seal the win.
The Stars had controlled the play in the first period, outshooting the Sharks 15-6, but found themselves on the short end of the score as San Jose scored on two of its first four shots.
Couture set up Marleau with a pass from the corner for the first goal early in the period. After Elie tied the game, Pavelski restored the lead late in the first when he chose to shoot on a 2-on-1 with Jannik Hansen and beat Lehtonen.
“We turned the puck over in the neutral zone, that got us into trouble,” Ruff said. “You dominate a period, but you don’t put the puck in the back of the net and then you make a couple of mistakes that end up in the back of your net.”
The Stars have used two goalies in an NHL-high 12 games this season. … D Marc-Edouard Vlasic played his 800th career game, joining Marleau and Joe Thornton as the only Sharks to do that. … San Jose F Melker Karlsson with a lower-body injury, giving Marcus Sorensen a spot in the lineup.
Stars: Visit Edmonton on Tuesday.
Sharks: Host Buffalo on Tuesday.