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Yet another shootout flub
Stars & Sharks stay consistent in SO
3/18/06 - by Mike Lee

If the Sharks miss the playoffs this season, they can look back to the seven points that they gave up in shootout losses this season. Every point is a make or break during the playoff run in March and April, so Sunday's 4-3 shootout loss to the visiting Dallas Stars was another missed opportunity for a team that doesn't have much room for error. The scenario is one all too familiar for both teams. Dallas capitalized on another two points in the NHL's new overtime format, while the Sharks stumble yet again.

San Jose should be thankful for the fact that they salvaged a point from a game that looked as if it was a one sided affair from the opening faceoff. Dallas had the Sharks against the ropes for much of the first half of the game, before a burst of scoring changed the complexion of the game.

"I'm not happy with the way we played in the first half of the game, but we took control and got a number of scoring opportunities," Sharks head coach Ron Wilson said.

Down 2-0 late in the game, San Jose blitzed Dallas goaltender Marty Turco with three goals in a 1:19 span. Ville Nieminen, Patrick Rissmiller and Milan Michalek all scored goals to turn a lopsided game that Dallas had dominated into a nail-biter.

Nieminen started the Sharks comeback with a goal at 17:09 of the middle period after following up a shot in traffic. The newly acquired forward tried to snap a shot from the bottom of the left circle, then gathered up his own rebound and whipped it over Turco's right shoulder.

Rissmiller would score his first NHL goal 22 seconds later, redirecting a Nieminen shot just inside the left post. The play was setup by Mark Smith, who first won a faceoff just outside the Stars blueline, then helped out on the forecheck with a hit that knocked the puck over to Josh Gorges. Nieminen would fire a shot from the top of the left circle to Rissmiller, who's stick changed the direction of the puck.

Michalek would bag his 14th of the season on a play that showcased his speed. The winger took a long pass from Steve Bernier, then ripped around Stars defenseman Jon Klemm on the right win, before cutting back across the slot and slipping a shot past Turco.

Mike Modano would knot things back up early in the 3rd period on a similar play, burning past Scott Hannan, then forcing Vesa Toskala to commit as he whipped across the slot from right to left. The Sharks goaltender tried to stack his pads while stretched out in front of his goal, but Modano lifted a shot that easily beat Toskala.

Each teams traded power play chances in the extra session, but neither could capitalize. The Sharks looked as if they may even reverse the shootout habits of both teams, when Toskala stopped the first two Stars shooters, including Jussi Jokinen, who had been perfect in nine previous shootout attempts entering Saturday's game.

Michalek converted on his chance, which meant that the Sharks would win if the Stars third shooter (Modano) was stopped, or the Sharks third shooter (Jonathan Cheechoo) scored. Neither happened, forcing an extra set of shooters.

Antti Miettinen would convert on his chance, and Nils Ekman flubbed with one of his patented head scratching attempts which never came close to getting past Turco.

"They're fun, a great challenge," Turco said of shootouts. "We've been fortunate all year. That opportunity to get that win is right in front of you."

Dallas took an early lead on a peculiar goal that also had many of the sellout HP Pavilion crowd scratching their heads. Jere Lehtinen scored a power play goal from close range after Jason Arnott slammed into Toskala to his knees taking away any chance of making a save. Referees Stephane Auger and Don Koharski ruled that Arnott was checked into Toskala, thereby allowing the goal.

Niko Kapanen would convert on another Stars power play opportunity midway through the 2nd period after Rob Davison was sent off for interference.

"We had a chance to win it, but they're one of the best teams in the NHL," Nieminen said. "We're disappointed, but we're glad to get a point and keep some of our momentum going."

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1 2 3 OT SO T
DAL 1 1 1 0 1 4
SJ 0 3 0 0 0 3
1st period - 1, Dallas, Lehtinen 30 (Modano, Arnott), 15:55, (pp).
2nd period - 2, Dallas, Kapanen 9 (Modano, Zubov), 11:07, (pp). 3, San Jose, Nieminen 6 (J.Thornton, Ekman), 17:09. 4, San Jose, Rissmiller 1 (Nieminen, Gorges), 17:41. 5, San Jose, Michalek 14 (Bernier, McLaren), 18:28.
3rd period - 6, Dallas, Modano 26 (Lehtinen, Boucher), 6:29.
Overtime - None.
Shootout - Round 1 - DAL - S. Zubov - No Goal (0-0) Round 1 - SJ - S. Bernier - No Goal (0-0) Round 2 - DAL - J. Jokinen - No Goal (0-0) Round 2 - SJ - M. Michalek - Scores (0-1) Round 3 - DAL - M. Modano - Scores (1-1) Round 3 - SJ - J. Cheechoo - No Goal (1-1) Round 4 - DAL - A. Miettinen - Scores (2-1) Round 4 - SJ - N. Ekman - No Goal (2-1)
1st period - Jokinen, DAL (tripping), 12:56; Parker, SJS (hooking), 15:37; Morrow, DAL (hooking), 17:54; Ekman, SJS (goalie interference), 19:22.
2nd period - Ott, DAL (roughing), 4:11; Davison, SJS (interference), 9:33.
3rd period - Arnott, DAL (hooking), 11:07; Mitchell, DAL (tripping), 19:14.
Overtime - Cheechoo, SJS (holding), 4:17.
  Shots Saves
DAL - Turco 28 25
SJ - Toskala 22 19
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
DAL 11 7 4 0 22
SJ 5 15 6 2 28
Power Play Conversion
DAL 2 of 4
SJ 0 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Mike Modano
Ville Nieminen
Jere Lehtinen
Referees: Stephane Auger, Don Koharski. Linesmen: Derek Amell, Jean Morin.

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