DALLAS (AP) — The Stars' recent surge has been fueled by expected contributions from forwards Michael Ryder and Jamie Benn, and by the goaltending of Kari Lehtonen.
Dallas wasn't counting on production from Tomas Vincour, too.
Vincour scored his fifth NHL goal in the final minute of regulation, and then added the lone goal of the shootout in the fifth round to give the Stars a 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night.
Lehtonen made 45 saves through overtime and then was perfect in the shootout. He stopped Logan Couture in the final round to seal the win for Dallas.
Vincour gave the Stars the edge in the tiebreaker when he flipped a backhander past Antti Niemi in his second career shootout attempt, netting his first shootout goal.
"(We found) a new player to finish these games in (Vincour) with a great goal, and then the other goal in the shootout," Lehtonen said.
Although he has almost no shootout experience in the NHL, Vincour wasn't overwhelmed when he was picked by Stars coach Glen Gulutzan.
Vincour had several shootout attempts last season when he played for the AHL Texas Stars, Dallas' primary minor league club, then coached by Gulutzan.
"(Gulutzan) put me out there against Buffalo, too, when we played there on the road (this season), and last year I scored a few goals in the shootout, so I wasn't surprised," Vincour said. "I knew what I wanted to do before I went out there. I just went on the ice and knew that I was going to go backhand."
Pacific Division-leading Dallas won its fourth straight and improved to 79 points, four ahead of San Jose.
Joe Pavelski put the Sharks in front 3-2 when he pushed a rebound past Lehtonen with 3:32 left in regulation for his 24th goal. But with Lehtonen off for an extra skater, Vincour nudged the puck over the line at 19:45 to tie it. The goal was upheld by video replay.
"We just can't give up that last goal," Pavelski said. "There definitely was some good out there, but it's tough to accept when you don't get two points. We've got to find a way to win."
Pavelski had the best scoring chance in overtime, while the Sharks were on a power play, but Lehtonen denied his backhanded attempt from in close with just under 90 seconds to play.
Joe Thornton had three assists, and Niemi made 32 saves for the faltering Sharks, 2-7-3 in their last 12 games overall and 1-5-2 in their last eight on the road.