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Primeau's OT goal sinks Stars
Sharks reach 100 point mark for the first time in team history
3/28/04 - by Mike Lee

Sunday's game versus the Dallas Stars has been billed as the game that could possibly decide the Pacific Division. Much of the hype that had been building over the past few weeks subsided when the Stars starting goaltender Marty Turco was suspended for four games by the league for a slashing incident last week, but the Sharks made things interesting anyway with a 2-1 overtime win over the visiting Stars at HP Pavilion. Wayne Primeau, who had two other chances to put the Sharks on top earlier in the game, delivered 2:57 into the extra period to help the Sharks set a franchise record for points in a season with 100. The victory also pushed the Sharks lead over Colorado for the 2nd seed race in the Western Conference and it pulled San Jose to within three points of the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightening for the best record in the NHL with three games to play.

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Scoring
1 2 3 OT T
DAL 0 1 0 0 1
SJ 0 1 0 1 2
1st period - NONE
2nd period - DAL, P. TURGEON (13) (P. BOUCHER, B. GUERIN), 01:30 S.J, N. EKMAN (21) (A. MCCAULEY, T. PREISSING), 08:48
3rd period - NONE
Overtime - S.J, W. PRIMEAU (8) (J. MARSHALL), 02:57
Penalties
1st period - DAL, B. GUERIN, 02:43 - Slashing S.J, C. BROWN, 06:41 - Hi stick
2nd period - DAL, V. BURE, 09:27 - Interference S.J, T. HARVEY, 11:45 - Slashing
3rd period - DAL, B. MORROW, 03:28 - Tripping DAL, S. CORSON, 09:52 - Interference - Obstruction S.J, S. THORNTON, 12:17 - Hi stick
Overtime - NONE
Goaltending
  Shots Saves
DAL - Tugnutt 31 29
SJ - Nabokov 21 20
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
DAL 7 9 4 1 21
SJ 8 8 12 3 31
Power Play Conversion
DAL 0 of 3
SJ 0 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Wayne Primeau
Nils Ekman
Mike Rathje
Attendence
17,496
Turco's absence seemed meaningless the way veteran backup Ron Tugnutt was playing in net for the Stars. Tugnutt faced 31 shots, including twelve in the 3rd period, and kept his team in the thick of things by allowing a single goal in regulation.

Dallas was also missing Jere Lehtinen, Sergei Zubov, Jon Klemm, Scott Young, Stu Barnes and Teppo Numminen, who are all out with injuries.

The Stars had also lost in overtime the night before in Vancouver and didn't get into San Jose until early Sunday morning. The fatigue and a depleted roster was reason enough for the Stars to lay down, but they didn't.

Pierre Turgeon gave the Stars a 1-0 lead 90 seconds into the 2nd period when he redirected a pass from Phillipe Boucher past Evgeni Nabokov. Turgeon was able to get a stick on the puck after Sharks defenseman Kyle McLaren failed to tie him up at the top of the crease, after Boucher whipped a pass from the right corner.

Nils Ekman knotted the game up at 1-1 at 8:48 of the period when he lifted a backhand shot over an outstretched Tugnutt from outside the right post. Ekman was able to score on a rebound after Alyn McCauley sent in a shot from the right point that bounced off Tugnutt's left pad. Ekman appeared to get his stick on the initial shot, but Tugnutt made the initial save. The Stars netminder wasn't so lucky after the puck kicked back out to Ekman who was four feet out when he scored.

The Sharks turned up the heat in the 3rd period but they couldn't get one past Tugnutt. Primeau almost converted late in the game when he made a nice move to slip past a Stars defender while carrying the puck up the right wing boards, then sending a shot in on the Dallas goal. Tugnutt made the stop, but almost allowed Curtis Brown to swat the rebound home for what would have been the go-ahead goal.

Primeau wouldn't miss on his next attempt. The veteran winger took a breakout pass from Jason Marshall at the red line then steamed up the right wing, taking the same path as his near miss in the 3rd period, but this time he struck gold. Primeau carried the puck across the Stars blueline then put a move on Valeri Bure before uncorking a shot from the right circle that slipped under Tugnutt's right arm.

Primeau's teammates mobbed him along the glass just past the Dallas bench, as the dejected Stars streamed off the ice.

Play of the Game
Hard to ignore an overtime winner, especially when it comes against a division foe who trails by only four points with three games remaining in the regular season. The fact that it essentially seals the division for the Sharks makes Primeau's goal that much bigger. San Jose was only 1-6-12 in overtime games this season, and San Jose played for the tie late in the 3rd period. Their second OT win of the season was a big one.

The Turning Point
Ekman's answer to Turgeon's goal in the 2nd period kept the Sharks within striking distance and it allowed the Sharks to stick to their game plan, which was to wear down the fatigued Stars. The Sharks winger converted for the 22nd time, which moves him 3rd on the Sharks in goals scored this season.

Save of the Game
Nabokov made a pair of pad saves in the 3rd period after a pile of skaters clogged up the slot, keeping the game tied at 1-1. The Sharks netminder only faced 21 shots on the evening, but the Stars put up a noble fight considering their difficult travel schedule.

Box Scores Do No Justice
Contrary to reports Mike Modano was in the building on Sunday night. The Stars forward has struggled this season and things didn't get much better for him in San Jose. Modano had zero shots on goal and was on the ice when Primeau scored the game winner for the Sharks. His minus 19 ranks near the bottom of the NHL.

Honorable Mention
Defenseman Mike Rathje had a solid game on the blueline, but drew the ire of Stars forward Steve Ott for some reason. Ott tried getting under Rathje's skin throughout the game, but to no avail. On one play the, the 6'0", 185 pound forward tried laying a lick on the 6'5", 235 pound Rathje along the Sharks bench, but ended up bouncing off him and landing on his backside. The two would mix it up several times throughout the night.

Quotables
"The 100 points for this team, the way that people expected us to really falter coming into this season, it feels great. We felt that we had a good overall season. I think we've been peaking all year." - Wayne Primeau

"There's no better feeling than to win a game like this in overtime. I thought the right guy scored, too. He kind of epitomizes our team -- a bunch of guys looking for redemption. I think we've got a little more than redemption, but we've still got a lot of work left." - Sharks head coach Ron Wilson

"It's nice, especially doing it against Dallas. We knew the importance of this game. We talked about it for a couple of weeks, about how it's probably going to come down to this one." - Vincent Damphousse

"We're chasing points right now, and we didn't get them tonight. The schedule certainly wasn't in our favor, but we wanted to try and hang around this game, give ourselves a chance. We did that, but we needed a big play from someone. We didn't get it." - Dallas head coach Dave Tippett

Milestones
Jason Marshall played in his 500th NHL game.


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