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Dallas Stars Defeat San Jose Sharks

DALLAS (AP) _ The Dallas Stars aren't ready to concede the Pacific Division title to the San Jose Sharks.

Even in a tumultuous season in which the Stars endured a coaching change and were in 10th place in the Western Conference less than a week ago, they are capable of outstanding performances.

Pierre Turgeon and Jamie Langenbrunner scored 37 seconds apart in the first period Sunday, and Dallas won its third straight game, beating San Jose 4-1 to move within five points of the division-leading Sharks.

``We've been where they want to be,'' Stars captain Derian Hatcher said. ``They've been chasing us, and now the situation is different. They're still in the driver's seat and we're chasing them. But we are putting some pressure on.''

Dallas has won five straight division titles, the last three in the Pacific Division.

In the only other NHL games Sunday, Chicago edged Anaheim 2-1, and Phoenix beat Columbus by the same score.

Hatcher scored a key goal and helped set the physical tone when he got into a hard-punching fight with Sharks defenseman Bryan Marchment in the final minute of the first period.

Marchment was given a game misconduct and faces a mandatory two-game suspension from the NHL after his third fight-instigator penalty of the season.

That came soon after San Jose's Todd Harvey slammed Brad Lukowich into the boards and then fought with John Erskine, who also duked it out with Scott Thornton in the second period.

Before the game got physical, Dallas took the first 14 shots and had a 2-0 lead. The Stars outshot San Jose 18-3 in the first, their most shots in a period this season.

Turgeon scored at 8:23 of the first when he almost whiffed, but got enough of the puck to pop over goalie Evgeni Nabokov and trickle past the line. Langenbrunner's rebound goal gave the Stars a 2-0 lead.

``Only one team came to play in the first period, and that was the difference,'' San Jose's Teemu Selanne said.

The Stars were 10th in the Western Conference after a 5-1 loss at Phoenix last Tuesday, their first game after the Olympic break. They haven't lost since, beating Northwest Division leader Colorado on Saturday after a 4-3 win at Vancouver.

``It's what we've been talking about for a while,'' said Stars coach Rick Wilson, who replaced the fired Ken Hitchcock on Jan. 25. ``There's a good feel for figuring out again how to be a good team.''

Dallas is tied with Los Angeles for sixth in the Western Conference and for second in the Pacific Division with 69 points. The Kings play in Dallas on Wednesday night.

``I don't think anyone in hockey has written them off,'' Sharks coach Darryl Sutter said. ``They are still a proven team.''

San Jose closed to 2-1 when Owen Nolan scored 2:04 into the second period, and seconds later Selanne's shot bounced off the post. Hatcher's goal late in the period gave Dallas a 3-1 lead.

Joe Nieuwendyk added an unassisted backhander in the third.

Marty Turco, making his second straight start ahead of Ed Belfour, stopped 17 Sharks shots.

Stars center Mike Modano strained his right knee and left in the second period.

Blackhawks 2, Mighty Ducks 1

Backup goalie Steve Passmore stopped 16 shots, and Steve Sullivan had a goal and an assist, helping Chicago beat visiting Anaheim.

Eric Daze scored his 30th goal for the Blackhawks, who had lost two consecutive games since the Olympic break. Daze has scored 30 or more goals in back-to-back seasons and in four of his seven years in the NHL.

The Blackhawks have not dropped three straight this season.

Anaheim's Matt Cullen scored with 37.1 seconds remaining to ruin Passmore's bid for his third career shutout and first since Oct. 13, 2000.

The Mighty Ducks have lost four of five following a six-game winning streak and have been held to one goal or less 21 times.

Coyotes 2, Blue Jackets 1

Ladislav Nagy and Daniel Briere scored first-period goals that stood up in Phoenix's home victory over Columbus.

Sean Burke made 24 saves as the Coyotes won for the second time in three games since the Olympic break, pulling into an eighth-place tie with Vancouver in the Western Conference playoff race.

Brett Harkins closed the Blue Jackets to 2-1 in the third when the Coyotes gave up the puck in their end during a Columbus power play.

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