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Stars get nasty in finale
Cheap shots galore in 4-2 loss
4/6/08 - by Mike Lee

What should have been a casual closing to the regular season in a meaningless game between the Sharks and Dallas Stars was anything but that on Sunday. The two teams combined for 160 penalty minutes, which included nine fighting majors and two game misconduct penalties. Dallas decided to kickoff the playoffs early by playing an aggressive game that was filled with questionable hits and cheap shots, but wound up with a 4-2 win at the American Airlines Center. Jody Shelley set a new team record with 41 penalty minutes before the 2nd period was even over.

The game opened casually, with both teams settling in for the season finale, which had no bearing on playoff seedings. That would change 6 minutes into the game when Kyle McLaren and Krystoffer Barch dropped the gloves.

The real shenanigans started when Steve Ott took at run at Joe Thornton at 8:42 of the period. Thornton took exception to the play and went after Ott. The Sharks centerman was assessed cross checking and instigator minors to go along with 5 minutes for fighting and a 10-minute misconduct.

With the on-ice officials doing nothing to control the game, the Stars would continue to take cheap shots. Brandon Crombeen took a run at Milan Michalek at 12:40, which resulted in fisticuffs. Michalek was cut during the fight, sending him to the dressing room for stitches.

Things started to really get out of hand when Stephan Robidas plastered Joe Pavelski with a hit from behind in the corner. Robidas was assessed a 5-minute penalty for checking from behind and was tossed from the game for the infraction. A 4-minute high sticking penalty to Stu Barnes 2:31 later gave the Sharks a 5-on-3 power play.

Patrick Marleau would capitalize with his 19th of the season. The Sharks captain wrested a shot from 30 feet out that beat Stars goaltender Marty Turco.

With all the dirty play in the opening period, Sharks head coach Ron Wilson would pull starting goaltender Evgeni Nabokov to open the 2nd period as a precautionary measure, replacing him with Brian Boucher. Nabokov had stopped all 7 shots that he faced, but Boucher wouldn't fare as well.

Jonathan Cheechoo would push the Sharks lead to 2-0 at 5:46 of the period on a nifty move around Mat Niskanen before slipping a shot past Turco.

The bad blood spilled over into the period when Douglas Murray and Crombeen would drop the gloves at 8:58 of the 2nd, but it was quickly broken up when the two leaned up against the glass. Ryane Clowe was also sent off for roughing on the play, giving the Stars a power play.

Anti Miettinen would cut the Sharks lead to 2-1 at 11:35 of the period. Brendan Morrow sent an 80-foot pass from the left wing to Mike Modano, who dropped the puck for Miettinen.

Barnes would tie the game at 16:13 of the period on a power play after Torrey Mitchell was sent off for charging. Barnes skated in on the left wing and tucked the puck inside the right post.

Jody Shelley decided it was time to let Ott know what he thought of his hit on Thornton earlier in the game by engaging the Stars forward at center ice. Ott wanted nothing to do with Shelley, doing everything in his power to skate away from the Sharks enforcer. Shelley's persistence resulted in a couple of shots to Ott's head as he turtled and a trip to the dressing room after getting tossed with a game misconduct.

Shelley's infractions resulted in a 7 minute minor for the Stars. Mathias Norstrom would give the Stars the lead at 3-2 with a tap in after the Sharks were about to go down another man after Thornton leveled a Stars player in the Stars end.

The 3rd period felt like church mass compared to the first two stanzas of the game. The only thing of interest was figuring out who the Sharks would matchup against in the playoffs. When Colorado reached overtime in their game with the Minnestoa Wild, the 7th spot was locked up by the Calgary Flames. San Jose will host the Flames in the opening round of the Western Conference quarterfinals starting later this week.

Ott would score a meaningless goal late in the game on a 2-o-n-1 break after Sandis Ozolinsh coughed the puck up at his own blueline.

Game Notes:

The Sharks rested Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, Craig Rivet and Matt Carle, alon with forwards Mike Grier, Jeremy Roenick and Marcel Goc.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 1 1 0 2
DAL 0 3 1 4
1st period - 1, SJ, Marleau 19 (Campbell, Pavelski), 17:33, (pp).
2nd period - 2, SJ, Cheechoo 23 (Marleau, Michalek), 5:46, (pp). 3, DAL, Miettinen 15 (Modano, Morrow), 11:35. 4, DAL, Barnes 12 (Morrow, Niskanen), 16:13. 5, DAL, Norstrom 2 (Petersen, Hagman), 19:47.
3rd period - 6, DAL, Ott 11 (Lundqvist), 18:38.
1st period - McLaren, SJ (fighting major), 6:00; Shelley, SJ (roughing), 6:00; Shelley, SJ (cross checking), 6:00; Barch, DAL (fighting major), 6:00; Winchester, DAL (cross checking), 6:00; Thornton, SJ (fighting major), 8:42; Thornton, SJ (cross checking), 8:42; Thornton, SJ (instigator), 8:42; Thornton, SJ (10 min msconduct), 8:42; Ott, DAL (fighting major), 8:42; Ott, DAL (charging), 8:42; Rissmiller, DAL (roughing), 9:01; Semanov, SJ (10 min misconduct), 9:01; Michalek, SJ (fighting major), 12:40; Michalek, SJ (roughing), 12:40; Crombeen, DAL (fighting major), 12:40; Shelley, SJ (10 min misconduct), 14:47; Robidas, DAL (checking from behind major), 14:47; Robidas, DAL (game misconduct), 14:47; Daley, DAL (10 min misconduct), 14:47; Barnes, DAL (high sticking - double minor), 17:18.
2nd period - Lundqvist, DAL (charging), 0:25; Petersen, DAL (tripping), 4:36. Clowe, SJ (roughing), 8:58; Murray, SJ (fighting major), 8:58; Crombeen, DAL (fighting major), 8:58; Mithcell, SJ (charging), 14:13; Shelley, SJ (roughing), 16:47; Shelley, SJ (fighting major), 16:47; Shelley, SJ (10 min misconduct), 16:47; Shelley, SJ (game misconduct), 16:47; Miettinen, DAL (tripping), 17:49.
3rd period - Miettinen, DAL (high sticking), 2:26; Eriksson, DAL (slashing), 13:38; Marleau, SJ (holding he stick), 14:51; Nostrom, DAL (hooking), 19;09.
Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 7 7
SJ - Boucher 15 11
DAL - Turco 34 32
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 15 10 9 34
DAL 7 9 6 22
Power Play Conversion
SJ 2 of 6
DAL 0 of 9
3 Stars of the Game
Jody Shelley
Joe Thornton
Brendan Morrow
Referees: Kozari, Leggo. Linesmen: Racicot, Gibbs.

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