The San Jose Sharks got a perfect shot from Devin Setoguchi and perfect goaltending from Evgeni Nabokov.
Setoguchi scored with 12:05 remaining, Nabokov stopped 29 shots for his 45th career shutout, and the Sharks extended their winning streak to four games with a 1-0 victory over the Dallas Stars on Monday night.
Setoguchi stickhandled up the right side and skated around Stars defenceman Darryl Sydor to get free, then fired a low shot from the circle that beat Dallas goaltender Marty Turco to the stick side.
It was Setoguchi’s 25th goal of the season.
“I saw (Sydor), he kind of stopped at the blue line,” said Setoguchi, who scored his fifth regular-season goal in the last two seasons against the Stars.
“I had to make a quick move, and once I did I could get by him. He could see one of my teammates coming, and that made him indecisive on the blue line.”
Turco felt he should have stopped Setoguchi’s shot.
“Hindsight is always a beautiful thing and I wish I could have had that one back,” Turco said. “You’d like to be in good position and take away that spot.
“If I was one inch over to the right and in a perfect square position, I would have had a lot better chance of saving it.”
Nabokov registered his fifth shutout this season and improved his record to 32-7-7, helping the Pacific Division-leading Sharks improve to a league-best 91 points, good for a 26-point lead over the second-place Stars in the division.
“Fabulous,” San Jose coach Todd McLellan said of Nabokov. “He was the first, second and third star in my opinion.
“He allowed us to escape with the point. I’m happy for Nabby. On the last road trip, a lot of pucks went by him and it wasn’t his fault. This was really good for him as an individual and us as a team.”
Nabokov received a lift from a defensive effort that produced 17 blocked shots, and he also had luck on his side when Stars defenceman Stephane Robidas hit the post with a shot on the power-play with about 11 minutes remaining in the third.
“Any time they had a chance to play a rebound, we cleared the puck or blocked the shot,” Nabokov said. “It felt good, but the puck is really small.
“It can take any bounce. Anything could happen. You never have the feeling that you’re not going to give up a goal.”
The Stars had a prime scoring chance with 15:32 left but Nabokov smothered the puck on Brian Sutherby’s close-in attempt.
Turco made 23 saves for the Stars, who’ve lost all four meetings with the Sharks this season after knocking San Jose out of the playoffs last spring.
Dallas remains at 65 points, seventh in a tightly-bunched race for the final Western Conference playoff spots.
“We’re going to have to play like that to give ourselves a chance to make the playoffs,” Turco said.
Dallas put in the effort that was lacking in Saturday’s 3-1 home loss to Chicago.
“There were a lot of positives,” Robidas said. “The work ethic was there and we battled hard to the end. If we play like that, more often than not we are going to win games.”
The Stars were without three of their top players: centres Brad Richards (broken wrist) and Mike Modano (flu), and left wing Brendan Morrow (knee). Modano is day-to-day.
The Stars are hoping Richards and Morrow will return if Dallas qualifies for the playoffs.
“It was a tight game,” Nabokov said. “Give them credit. They were desperate to win and they played really hard even though they did not have a lot of their best players on the ice.”
Notes: The Sharks opened a four-game road trip after sweeping a three-game homestand. …Linesman Brad Lazarowich officiated his 1,500th NHL game. …The Stars were shut out for the fifth time this season. …Turco made his 30th straight start. …Dallas had been 10-4 in its previous 14 games. …Stars C Toby Petersen left early in the second period with a lower-body injury and did not return. He’ll be evaluated on Tuesday. With Modano and Richards already out, the Stars were short-handed at centre, having to move wingers Sutherby and Joel Lundqvist into the middle. …Dallas lost its third 1-0 game this season, the most in a season by that score in franchise history.