Support TheFeeder, visit our sponsors
  HOSER of the WEEK
  Contact Us
  Meet the Staff
  Join the Team
  Our Sponsors

Sharks take Game 1 with OT thriller
Dimitrakos punches home game winner
4/8/04 - by Mike Lee

The Stanley Cup Playoffs officially kicked off in the Bay Area on Thursday night with a nail biting chess match between the Sharks and the visiting St Louis Blues. When the smoke cleared, the Sharks walked away with a 1-0 overtime win, courtesy of a Niko Dimitrakos goal midway through the first overtime period. San Jose jumps out to an early 1-0 lead in the best of seven series, which looks to be an important first step because of how evenly the two teams match up. An early mistake by Dimitrakos limited his ice time early in the game, but he more than made up for it with his late heroics.

What did you think of this game? Post your comments on the Feeder Forums
1 2 3 OT T
STL 0 0 0 0 0
SJ 0 0 0 1 1
1st period - None
2nd period - NONE
3rd period - None
Overtime - S.J, N. DIMITRAKOS (1) (V. DAMPHOUSSE, S. HANNAN), 09:16
1st period - STL, M. BARON, 15:50 - Roughing S.J, J. CHEECHOO, 16:58 - Holding STL, D. WEIGHT, 18:34 - Holding stick
2nd period - S.J, N. DIMITRAKOS, 09:50 - Hi stick S.J, N. DIMITRAKOS, 09:50 - Hi stick STL, D. WEIGHT, 14:41 - Tripping S.J, M. RICCI, 17:35 - Holding stick
3rd period - S.J, S. HANNAN, 06:06 - Interference STL, K. TKACHUK, 17:59 - Interference - Obstruction
Overtime - None
  Shots Saves
STL - Osgood 29 28
SJ - Nabokov 26 26
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
STL 6 12 6 2 26
SJ 11 5 9 4 28
Power Play Conversion
STL 0 of 5
SJ 0 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Niko Dimitrakos
Evgeni Nabokov
Chris Osgood
Round one of this battle has the makings of a long series between the two teams. San Jose opened the game with a high tempo approach that had them controlling the puck for much of the 1st period. The Sharks had several quality scoring chances early on, but Blues goaltender Chris Osgood weathered the storm with a strong performance.

The Sharks came within inches of taking a 1-0 lead just 40 seconds into the game after Osgood stopped a blast in front of the right post, but the rebound trickled behind him. Jonathan Cheechoo spotted the loose puck and tried stabbing at it as he dove toward the Blues net, but he whiffed on the attempt at wound up in the net himself.

San Jose out shot the Blues 11-6 in the opening frame, but they couldn't solve Osgood.

Momentum shifted in the 2nd period, but Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov topped Osgood's 1st period performance by stopping all 12 shots he faced. Nabokov and his teammates held on a four penalty penalty-kill after Dimitrakos cut Blues center Mike Danton with a high stick midway through the period.

The Blues looked primed to convert early in the 3rd period, but Nabokov made two key saves. First he shut the door on a scoring chance by Eric Boguniecki, then he stoned Doug Weight who was parked all alone on the Sharks doorstep. Nabokov tried cutting off Weight's angle by skating at him and throwing out his pads with a kick save that kept the game scoreless.

The two teams would combine for a perfect 9-for-9 on the penalty kill including a single 2rd period chance for each team. Keith Tkachuk took a bad interference penalty with two minutes remaining in regulation, but the Blues kept the Sharks at bay with a solid kill.

The evening almost turned sour for the Sharks when Tkachuk skated in two-on-one early into the overtime period, but his shot from the left circle sailed wide of the net.

Dimitrakos would end things minutes later on what could have easily been a stoppage for the Blues. Vincent Damphousse sent a hand pass skittering through the neutral zone, but Weight tried grabbing the loose puck which nullified the stoppage. Scott Hannan chipped it into the Sharks zone before Damphousse and tried to Blues defenseman Christian Backman tried grabbing it along the right wing boards.

Dimitrakos grabbed the puck and raced in on Osgood as Patrick Marleau skated toward the far post. Osgood had to contend with the Dimitrakos as well as a potential pass to Marleau across the slot. Dimitrakos made the right decision by snapping a shot over Osgood's glove hand. His teammates mobbed him along the far boards as the arena erupted with cheers.

Play of the Game
It doesn't get much more exciting than a game tying goals with 2.3 seconds remaining in regulation 17 seconds after you just scored to pull your team to within a goal. Stuart's heroics make Jonathan Cheechoo's rabbit out the hat goals in Dallas two weeks ago seem like a second rate achievement in the thriller department. It makes you wonder if the Sharks are on the verge of pulling off one of the biggest magic tricks in NHL history or if they've used up all their magic this season.

The Turning Point
There were several turning points in this game. Cheechoo's sure goal that wasn't gives San Jose a 1-0 lead less than a minute into the game. He muffs on the poke shot and the game ends up going to overtime 0-0. Weight's near goal at the start of the 3rd period also changes the complexion of the game if he converts. Finally Tkachuk's 2-on-1 in overtime may have cost the Blues a chance at advancing. Whole different series if the Blues head back to St Louis down 2-0.

Save of the Game
Nabokov's play on Weight wasn't pretty, but it did keep the puck out of the net. Given the fact that both teams were focused on defense, scoring goals in this series will be far a few between. So when players are all alone in front of the net with the puck, they must convert. Weight didn't and the Blues are down 1-0 in the series.

Box Scores Do No Justice
Keep an eye on Alyn McCauley to see if he even sees the ice in Game 2. the Sharks forward went crashing in the end boards late in the 3rd period and headed straight for the dressing room clutching a sagging right arm. McCauley appeared to hit the boards with his right shoulder. He returned to the ice in the overtime period, but his shoulder could be an issue later in the series.

Honorable Mention
It looked like a bad way to kickoff a playoff series but the Sharks have to be thankful that injury was avoided when Vincent Damphousse tripped on one of the teeth attached to the huge Sharks head the players skate through before the opening faceoff. Damphousse went crashing to the ice, his helmet flying. The smoke that streams out of the Shark head may have impaired Damhousse's vision, causing the pre-game mishap.

I couldn't have dreamed this up any better. This is definitely the biggest thing I've ever done in hockey. To score a goal in overtime is something that I dreamed about, playing on the street." - Niko Dimitrakos

"I knew Patty was going to the back post, and I knew (Osgood) knew it," Dimitrakos said. "I just thought I had enough room over his shoulder, and I was right." - Dimitrakos

"You definitely want the first game, and we had our chances. We couldn't find that second or third effort to put it in. That was the difference. These are the games we want to play: good technical, defensive hockey. We obviously want to get the split." - Keith Tkachuk

"It's a different feeling, playing in the playoffs. Everything seems a little different, but we have to keep preparing and working the same way. Both teams were coming pretty hard tonight, shooting everywhere. It wasn't like a (normal) 1-0 game." - Evgeni Nabokov

"I'm used to San Jose coming out and playing good, especially in their building. I felt pretty good. My job was to keep us in the game. I tried to cover as many as I could." - Chris Osgood

The shutout was Nabokov's second in the playoffs. His first came against the Blues in 2001.

The contest was the first NHL playoff game for Jonathan Cheechoo, NIls Ekman and Tom Preissing.

What did you think of this game? Post your comments on the Feeder Forums


Privacy Statement   |   Contact Us   |   Advertise
Copyright 2004 All rights reserved.
This website is an unofficial and independently operated source of news
and information not affiliated with any team, or league.