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Luckless Sharks pushed to brink
No luck, no answers
4/29/08 - by Mike Lee

The San Jose Sharks can't buy a break in their Western Conference Semi-Final series with the Dallas Stars, but that won't be an issue much longer if the bad breaks persist. San Jose let a 3rd straight game slip through their fingers on Tuesday night, dropping a 2-1 overtime decision in Dallas. After a would-be goal was taken away, the Sharks grabbed the lead, only to surrender that lead after taking bad penalties in the 3rd period.

The ultimate bad beat came in overtime when a Mathias Norstrom shot bounced off defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic and into the Sharks goal, pushing San Jose to the brink of elimination in the best-of-7 series.

Sharks captain Patrick Marleau appeared to give the Sharks an early lead after he punched home the puck 4 minutes into the game. Joe Thornton crashed the net and tried jamming a shot past Stars goaltender Marty Turco, but the puck sat in the crease for Marleau who swooped in punched it home. Referee Don VanMassenhoven lost sight of the puck and quickly blew his whistle, disallowing the goal.

Torrey Mitchell busted up the middle 3 minutes later on a scoring attempt, but he was hauled down on the way to the goal, resulting in a penalty to Stephane Robidas. San Jose failed to muster any shots on goal during the ensuing power play, which turned out to be another major theme for the Sharks. San Jose would enjoy 3 power plays in the opening period of play, but could put no rubber on Turco.

Some of San Jose's bad luck rubbed off on Stars forward Joel Lundqvist who bounced a shot off the crossbar with 4 minutes left in the period. That miss would be enhanced by a Sergei Zubov gaff with 35 seconds left in the period. The Stars defenseman mishandled the puck near the Sharks blueline, where Marleau scooped it up and raced up the ice to beat Turco with a shorthanded goal.

The missed opportunities would abound for San Jose in the 2nd period. Devin Setoguchi squeezed a shot that found its way through Turco pads, but the puck trickled just outside the left post at 3:31 of the period to keep the Sharks lead at a single goal.

Nabokov preserved the paltry lead with several key saves, including a big stop of Brendan Morrow at the 5:30 mark after Douglas Muray coughed up the puck deep in the Sharks zone.

A hooking penalty by Sharks defenseman Alexei Semanov with 54 seconds remaining in the period, carried over to the 3rd, but more importantly, it setup another Stars 3rd period comeback. .Christian Ehrhoff would follow up Semanov's infraction with a hooking penalty on Brendan Morrow just 35 seconds into the 3rd period to give the Stars 33 seconds of 5-on-3 time.

Dallas wasted no time with the 2-man advantage, scoring just 12 seconds into Ehrhoff's penalty. Sergei Zubov pumped a shot from the top of the right circle that found its way to the back of the net, courtesy of a screen from Morrow.

Sharks defenseman Craig Rivet went down at the 7 minute mark after catching the back of Brian Campbell's helmet in the chops after Morrow collided with Campbell. Rivet was skating behind the two, and Morrow's momentum forced Campbell into his linemate.

The Stars would be awarded with a penalty shot on a questionable call by referee Mike Hasenfratz, who ruled that Christian Ehrhoff hauled down Niklas Hagman on a partial breakaway. Erhoff was even with the Stars winger and got his stick on the puck before engaging Hagman. Nabokov threw his hands up in frustration on the call, but to no avail.

The Sharks goaltender would respond however, stoning Hagman on the free play. The Stars forward tried a deek to his right, but Nabokov slid to his left and smothered the puck to keep the game tied.

A precarious play with a minute remaining in regulation almost ended things, when Lehtinen stepped in front of a breakout pass at the Sharks blueline, then got an uncontested shot on goal from 25 feet. Once again Nabokov stepped up to the Sharks bacon, and the two teams would head to the locker room deadlocked at 1-1.

Jonathan Cheechoo just missed on a wraparound chance 2 minutes into the overtime. The puck slid off his stick and trickled through the crease and between Marleau's skates. Cheechoo would end his shift with a hit that crumpled Stu Barnes in the neutral zone. Barnes would skate off on his power, but ducked into the locker room moments later.

Sitting on their heels most of the overtime period, the Sharks looked destined to give away another game. Norstrom answered with his fluke goal 4:37 into the extra frame.

Game Notes:

Patrick Rissmiller earned a seat in the press box after his Game 3 performance. Defenseman Matt Carle joined Rissmiller after a disaster of a performance in the 5-3 loss on Sunday. Tomas Plihal and Alexei Semanov replaced the pair in the lineup.



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Scoring
1 2 3 OT T
SJ 1 0 0 0 1
DAL 0 0 1 1 2
1st period - 1, SJ, Marleau 3 (unassisted), 19:25, (sh).
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 2, DAL, ZUbov 1 (Ribiero, Richards), 0:47, (pp). DAL, Hagman missed penalty shot), 10:50.
Overtime - 3, DAL, Norstrom 2 (Ribiero, Niskanen), 4:37.
Penalties
1st period - Lehtinen, DAL (high sticking), 3:20; Robidas, DAL (tripping), 7:25; Michalek, SJ (roughing), 16:19; Ott, DAL (roughing), 16:19; Daley, DAL (roughing), 16:19; Thornton, SJ (cross checking), 18:41.
2nd period - Semanov, SJ (hooking), 19:06.
3rd period - Ehrhoff, SJ (hooking), 0:35.
Overtime - None.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 29 27
DAL - Turco 20 19
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
SJ 6 7 4 3 20
DAL 6 9 9 5 29
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 3
DAL 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Brendan Morrow
Mike Ribiero
Sergei Zubov
Attendence
18,532
Officials
Referees: Hasenfratz, VanMassenhoven. Linesmen: Arnell, Sharrers.

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