Stars 4, Sharks 2
The San Jose Sharks (49-23-10) responded to a series of challenges from the Dallas Stars (45-30-7) on Sunday afternoon, controlling the game physically and racking up 95 penalty minutes despite dropping the meaningless game, 4-2, at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
The game took a surprisingly physical tone just six minutes in when Kyle McLaren and Dallas forward Krys Barch dropped the gloves after an altercation in front of the teams’ benches. McLaren earned the decision in the bout while Jody Shelley was whistled for an extra minor in the scrap.
The early scrap was unexpected, but was only a small sign of things to come.
Two and a half minutes following the McLaren/Barch bout, Dallas agitator Steve Ott ran Milan Michalek from behind with a leaping check from behind on the half-boards in the Sharks zone. Michalek’s linemate, All-Star center and former League MVP Joe Thornton
, shouldered Ott letting him know that his actions were unacceptable.
As the two tied up, Ott threw a sucker punch to the side of Thornton’s head, prompting Thornton to drop the gloves and hammer him to the ice. Ott turtled, but could not avoid the left-hand blows. Despite Ott’s initial punch, Thornton was called for the extra cross-checking minor and received an instigating minor, sending Dallas on their second power play of the period.
Twenty seconds following Thornton and Ott’s fight, the two teams again came together as Patrick Rissmiller and Dallas forward Antti Miettinen became involved. Alexei Semenov stepped in alongside Rissmiller and despite the altercation involving multiple players on both teams, Rissmiller was called for the extra minor while Semenov was sent off for a 10-minute misconduct, resulting in 1:39 of five-on-three time for Dallas.
The Sharks killed the two-man advantage, no more than a minute after the teams returned to even strength the fisticuffs continued. Michalek, who had been run from behind earlier by Ott, finished his hit on Dallas forward Brandon Crombeen and the two dropped the gloves. Each player received five minutes for fighting, and for the fourth consecutive altercation, the Sharks earned an extra roughing minor.
Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas fanned the flames between the two teams when he blatantly boarded Joe Pavelski
with a vicious hit from behind with 5:23 to play in the first. The play resulted in a five-minute power play of the Sharks and led to the first tally of the game.
|Dallas Stars defender Mattias Norstrom (4) and San Jose Sharks right wing Jonathan Cheechoo (14) battle for puck as Dallas goalie Marty Turco, left, looks on in the third period of their NHL hockey game Sunday, April 6, 2008, in Dallas. Dallas won the game 4-2. (AP Photo/Tim Sharp)
While on the power play, Ryane Clowe
was clipped and cut with an errant stick giving San Jose two-plus minutes on a five-on-three advantage. Captain Patrick Marleau
capitalized on the power play, beating Marty Turco five-hole for the 1-0 lead.
The raucous opening period ended with the Sharks leading 1-0.
The Stars seemed committed to their game plan of running the Sharks and continued to do so just 25 seconds into the second. Joel Lundqvist charged Douglas Murray
sending the Sharks back on the power play.
The Sharks were unable to convert initially, but on their second power play chance of the period, Jonathan Cheechoo scored to make it 2-0 in his first game back after missing six games following the cross-check to the back of the head delivered by Anaheim’s Chris Kunitz.
After Cheechoo scored with 14:14 to play in the second, it was all Dallas as the Stars scored three consecutive goals on Brian Boucher, who replaced Evgeni Nabokov after the first period, to take the 3-2 lead. Goals by Miettinen at 11:35, Stu Barnes at 16:13 and Mattias Norstrom at 19:47 were mixed in among another two fights to close the second period.
Murray and Crombeen got involved in one bout with at the midpoint of the period while Shelley and Ott got involved with three minutes to play in the second. Shelley challenged Ott to a fight, but the Stars tough guy refused to drop the gloves then turtled for the second time in as many periods when Shelley engaged.
The Stars closed the second and opened the third with a 3-2 lead and on a lengthy power play as a result of Shelly/Ott altercation as the game finally calmed down.
The two teams continued to come together after whistles and during the course of the final period, but the fisticuffs were largely contained and the third continued with few stoppages.
The Stars piled on another goal to close out the game and the regular season with a 4-2 win.
SHELLEY WEARS THE ‘A’
Jody Shelley wore the “A” on Sunday afternoon, denoting him as one of the alternate captains for the Sharks. By rule, each team is permitted to denote one player as the captain and two players as alternate captains. With Mike Grier and Craig Rivet each getting the day off to rest, Shelley and Joe Thornton
donned the “A” alongside Captain Patrick Marleau
Michalek – Thornton – Cheechoo
Marleau – Pavelski – Setoguchi
Rissmiller – Mitchell – Clowe
Shelley – Brown – Plihal
Murray – Campbell
Ozolinsh – McLaren
Semenov – Vlasic
Nabokov – Boucher
The San Jose Sharks will open the playoffs as the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, hosting the Calgary Flames for Games One and Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinal series. The schedule will be released on Sunday evening once first-round match-ups are determined and broadcast schedules are set.
From the AP Wire
DALLAS (AP) -- Stars defenseman Mattias Norstrom doesn't mind rough-and-tumble games, especially when he scores the winning goal.
Norstrom's rare goal put his team ahead for good late in the second period as the Dallas Stars rallied to beat the San Jose Sharks 4-2 on Sunday in a physical regular-season finale that included 160 penalty minutes, 95 for the Sharks.
The game meant nothing to either team in terms of the final standings, but a physical tone was set early with a series of fights that contributed to a playoff feel.
"Once in a while a game like that is fun," Norstrom said. "We showed we're professionals and have personal pride. We weren't going to take it easy on them and they did the same. We both showed up to battle."
Dallas erased a 2-0 deficit on goals by Antti Miettinen, Stu Barnes and Norstrom in the final 10 minutes of the second period.
With the game tied at 2 and the Stars with an extra attacker on a delayed Sharks penalty, Norstrom fired Toby Petersen's cross-ice pass into an open net with 13 seconds remaining in the second period for Norstrom's second goal of the season and 18th in 14 seasons.
"It was a great pass by Toby to set me up," Norstrom said. "We didn't have a lot going for us early, but coming back from two goals down, it's great to have that character in our team."
Steve Ott's 11th goal of the season, a blast from the right circle with 1:22 left, extended Dallas' lead to 4-2.
Patrick Marleau and Jonathan Cheechoo had power-play goals for the Sharks, who closed out the regular season with consecutive losses following an 18-0-2 run that earned them the Pacific Division title and No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
San Jose will play seventh-seeded Calgary in the first round of the playoffs.
Brenden Morrow had two assists and Marty Turco stopped 32 shots for the Stars, who ended the regular season in a 4-8-2 tailspin that pushed them out of first place in the Pacific and into the No. 5 playoff seed. Dallas faces No. 4 Anaheim in the first round, and the Stars expect a rough series against the Ducks.
"The physical element is a huge part of what's coming up," Stars defenseman Philippe Boucher said. "We showed we're willing to hit hard and play physical. It was good to see."
There were 105 penalty minutes in the first period, 57 to the Sharks who collected three 10-minute misconducts and three fighting majors. Dallas' Stephane Robidas received a game misconduct and a five-minute major for checking from behind during the opening 20 minutes.
Joe Thornton, Alexei Semenov, and Jody Shelley of San Jose, and Trevor Daley of Dallas all received misconduct penalties in the opening period. Shelley was assessed a game misconduct in the second period.
"It got heated," Shelley said. "Once the playoffs start, all that stuff that happened today will be forgotten. Of course, if we play (Dallas) in the second round, it will all resurface."
The Sharks took exception when Ott traded punches with Thornton, San Jose's top scorer, at 8:42 of the first period. That led to a series of altercations.
"When you get cheap shots, when guys are taking runs at us, we're not trying to prove we're tough but we've got to respond," Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray said.
San Jose had 2:29 worth of a 5-on-3 near the end of the first period, and the Sharks capitalized with Marleau's 19th goal of the season from the right circle at 17:33.
The Sharks had two more power plays in the first five minutes of the second period and they took advantage on the second one when Cheechoo notched his 23rd of the season from the right circle at 5:46 for a 2-0 edge.
Dallas pulled within 2-1 at 11:35 of the second period on Miettinen's 15th of the season, a one-timer from the high slot off a setup by Mike Modano.
Barnes tied it at 2 at 16:13 of the second period, skating down the right side and beating goaltender Brian Boucher to the glove side for Barnes' 12th of the season.
Notes: For the third straight game, Dallas was without C Brad Richards (soreness) and C Mike Ribeiro (flu). The Stars expect both to be healthy for the playoffs. ...Dallas called up RW Konstantin Pushkarev from the AHL Iowa Stars prior to the game, but Pushkarev was among the Stars' scratches, along with RW Jere Lehtinen (flu). ...Out for the Sharks were D Craig Rivet, C Jeremy Roenick and RW Mike Grier. ...Cheechoo returned to the lineup after missing six games with a head injury.
|Three star selections