Sharks 3, Stars 2, OT
SAN JOSE, Calif. --- Joe Thornton
scored back-to-back goals, including the game winner in overtime, to secure the Sharks 3-2 OT win over the Dallas Stars and clinch home ice advantage in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs on Thursday night at HP Pavilion.
San Jose's victory snapped a six-game home losing streak against the Stars and allowed the Sharks to improve their record to 15-0-2 in their last 17 games.
Jonathan Cheechoo missed another game due to the hit from behind against Anaheim and Evgeni Nabokov and Marty Turco stood between the pipes.
Mike Grier drew the game’s first power play, but it was the Stars offense with the top opportunity. A two-on-one set Jere Lehtinen up in the slot, but Nabokov was in the right spot and the game remained scoreless.
San Jose could not score on a second power play midway through the first, but when Christian Ehrhoff was sent to the box, Dallas was able to connect. On a play where Nabokov had to scramble back toward the net, Brenden Morrow banked the puck off the Sharks netminder and across the line.
Marcel Goc‘s drive to the net gave Team Teal a third advantage of the period, but when Milan Michalek’s shot just missed the net, the power play would carry into the second.
Surprisingly the Sharks were outshot in the first period 11-7 and trailed 1-0 after 20 minutes.
Early in the second, Kyle McLaren collided with Toby Peterson and the Stars forward fell to the ice. B.J. Crombeen immediately went after McLaren and started a fight. Crombeen could not land any major retaliatory punches and only succeeded in taking the instigator and giving San Jose a power play.
That would prove costly Patrick Marleau
found Joe Pavelski
across the ice and while up a man and the Wisconsin native’s shot was in before Turco could slide over.
When Detroit went on a power play midway through the second, it appeared as though the Sharks take the lead. Curtis Brown skated in on a breakaway and had Turco beat, but his backhander clanged off the post.
With 50 seconds left in that power play, San Jose was whistled for too many men on the ice and Dallas made them pay. A simple pass through the crease found Lehtinen open on the far side and he pushed it in.
Dallas made the 2-1 lead hold up through 40 minutes.
For the first six minutes of the third, San Jose was having trouble generating chances, but then Mike Grier carried the puck across the blueline, drew two defenders and fed an open Thornton. Jumbo Joe wasted no time in cranking up his slap shot and the score was tied at two.
With six to go in the game, it looked like Team Teal would take the lead. Michalek snuck behind the defense for a loose puck and beat Turco to the part side. However, Turco got just enough of the shot that it stopped just in front of the goal line and a defender was able to help clear it.
San Jose was in a precarious situation with 3:34 left when Douglas Murray
was called for tripping and Dallas took to the power play. The Stars held the zone for almost 1:30, but Marc-Edouard Vlasic
came up with a huge clear and Dallas didn’t get set up again during the two minutes.
At even strength with just over a minute remaining, it looked like Nabokov would face an uncontested shot from 10 feet out, but a diving Craig Rivet got his stick on the puck and the shot never reached Nabokov. Regulation ended tied at two, ensuring the Sharks of at least one point on the night.
With 3:45 left in overtime, Turco made a critical mistake when he highsticked Pavelski in the face for a double minor. While up a man, San Jose allowed Mike Modano to skate in alone on Nabokov. The Sharks netminder came out attacking and prevented even a shot. Modano was first to the loose puck and almost stuffed it in, but Nabokov was able to pull it back.
With 2:14 left, another Stars penalty allowed San Jose an unusual five-on-three overtime power play that would last for two complete minutes. The Sharks only needed 11 seconds of the five-on-three to net the game-winner as Joe Thornton
found Captain Patrick Marleau
for the tally. Big Joe received the puck on the wing from defenseman Brian Campbell and immediately fired it to the net where Marleau fought off defenders to knock it home.
OFF THE IR
skated in warm-ups and was taken off the injured reserve list. He did not play in the contest and is still not expected to play until next week.
San Jose will play at Anaheim on Friday night and the game will be on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com
From The AP Wire
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -Joe Thornton banked a power-play goal off the Dallas defense with 2:02 left in overtime, and the San Jose Sharks inched closer to a Pacific Division title with a 3-2 victory Thursday night, snapping a six-game home losing streak against the Stars.
Thornton also scored the tying goal early in the third period and Evgeni Nabokov made 23 saves, including a handful of jaw-dropping stops, as the Sharks earned a point in their 17th consecutive game. They're six points ahead of second-place Anaheim with a game in hand on the Ducks, who host the Sharks on Friday night.
San Jose needs three points from its last five games to clinch the third division title in franchise history and a No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
Captain Brenden Morrow and Jere Lehtinen scored for the falling Stars, who lost for the eighth time in nine games and finally lost any mathematical chance of winning the division they led just a few weeks ago.
Marty Turco made 24 saves but took a four-minute high-sticking penalty early in overtime, eventually leading to Thornton's score. Captain Patrick Marleau appeared to think he had deflected home Thornton's pass in a crowd in front of Turco, but several minutes after Marleau took a bow in front of the sellout crowd, the official scorers awarded the goal to Thornton, the NHL assists leader who has seven goals in five games.
Turco slashed Joe Pavelski across the face with his stick just 75 seconds into overtime, but Mike Modano missed a shorthanded scoring chance moments later when his attempt to stuff the puck across the goal line improbably was stopped by Nabokov's stick. Modano, who jokingly dubbed his team "the San Jose Stars" on its last trip to the Bay Area, had two assists.
Pavelski scored an early goal for the Sharks, who have won 15 of their last 17 games. They haven't lost in regulation since Feb. 20.
Lehtinen put the Stars ahead 2-1 during a two-man advantage in the second period, but Thornton tied it early in the third when Mike Grier did his best Thornton impression, flipping a cross-ice, no-look backhand pass to the Sharks' leading scorer.
The Sharks played their second straight game without goal-scoring forward Jonathan Cheechoo, who's still recovering from a hit to the head in last Friday's win over Anaheim. Cheechoo isn't expected to miss much more time, but Jeremy Roenick took his place on the Sharks' top line with Thornton and Milan Michalek.
Defenseman Philippe Boucher returned to the Stars' lineup after missing six games with a right shoulder injury.
Notes: LW Ryane Clowe, who injured his knee Oct. 27, skated with the Sharks in pregame warmups only. San Jose still says the bruising power forward won't return to the lineup until next week at the earliest, but hopes he'll be available in the postseason. ... Dallas RW Antti Miettinen and D Nicklas Grossman were healthy scratches. Grossman, who was replaced by Boucher, had missed just two games since early November. Miettinen, currently in a five-game scoring drought, hadn't missed a game since Dec. 7. ... The clubs finish the regular season against each other in Dallas on Apr. 6.
|Three star selections