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Couture bails out Sharks in Texas
Sharks let another 3rd period lead slip
12/16/10 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks season of inconsistency has had one constant the past few weeks. They can’t hold a 3rd period lead. San Jose would surrender a lead late for the second consecutive night, but would win in overtime on Logan Couture’s 15th goal of the season. The rookie centerman bailed out his teammates who were on the verge of another collapse after playing a solid game on the road. The 4-3 win wasn’t pretty, but it was two points that the Sharks desperately need. It also came against a division foe.

The biggest downside was that they allowed the Stars to earn a point by getting the game to overtime. San Jose trails Dallas by two points after the win, but could have pulled to within a single point of the Pacific Division lead had they finished the stars off in regulation.

San Jose still hasn’t ironed out their issues with finishing an opponent off, but the two points keeps them in the Western Conference hunt.

A high sticking call against Jeff Woywitka at 6:03 was followed by a delay of game penalty to Toby Petersen 21 seconds later to give the Sharks a lengthy 2-man advantage. San Jose would promptly blow the big advantage with a passive power play that seemed more intent on making the pretty pass than driving the puck on net.

The best scoring chance on the power play came off the stick off Woywitka who had a breakaway chance after his penalty expired.

Devin Setoguchi would help San Jose get over their power play failure by scoring his 3rd goal of the season at 10:05. Rookie defenseman Justin Braun carried the puck up ice and fired a shot off Stars netminder Kari Lehtonen. The rebound floated out to the right side where Joe Pavelski corralled it before sweeping a pass to the slot. The pass landed right on Setoguchi’s stick for the tap in goal.

A pretty decent opening 20 minutes on the road ended poorly after Stephane Robidas baited referee Francois St Laurant into issuing Jamal Mayers a hooking penalty after he grabbed Mayers stick and tucked it under his left arm. Dallas would convert on the ensuing power play with 50.2 seconds left in the period. Brendan Morrow deposited a Loui Eriksson pass with a one-time chance from the right side.

San Jose outshot Dallas 16 – 6 in the period, but the late letdown kept the game tied heading into the 1st intermission.

Jamie McGinn would put the Stars on the power play for the second time in the game at 8:35 of the 2nd period, and the league’s 23rd ranked power play promptly converted for the 2-1 lead. Ericsson tapped in a deflection of Antero Niittymaki for his 13th goal of the season.

Torrey Mitchell would answer 37 seconds later by sweeping a shot from the high slot past Lehtonen. The goal was Mitchell’s first tally in over a month.

San Jose regained the lead at 11:49 when Setoguchi deposited a shot from the high slot. McGinn distracted Lehtonen by parking himself in front of the Stars goaltender right as Setoguchi’s shot arrived.
Patrick Marleau missed on a chance in front of the net with the Sharks on a power play early in the 3rd period after Karlis Skrastins was sent off for hooking. The forward has been snake bit the past two weeks, and his backhand chance from 8 feet out sailed over the crossbar to keep the Stars within a single goal.

Dany Heatley misfired on a one-time chance from the right side of a wide open net moments later. San Jose’s failure to create any space between them and their opponent would allow the Star to hang around and eventually knot it up.

The lead would prove too slim for San Jose who surrendered the tying goal at 7:56, when Tom Wandell fired a shot past Niittymaki stick side after sweeping around the back of the net to the slot.

The Sharks would get another power play chance at 9:56 after Skrastins took his second minor penalty of the period and their fifth of the game, but once again the man-advantage proved fruitless. San Jose fanned on three shots during the power play and failed to put a single shot on Lehtonen.

James Neal missed on a wide open net with 4:26 to play, putting the puck off the left post to keep the game tied.

Mike Ribeiro would cut Dany Heatley with an ill-advised high stick with 29.5 seconds left in regulation, taking a double minor for drawing blood. The Stars would hold off the Sharks for the remainder of regulation, sending the game to overtime. With the penalty carrying over to the extra frame, Dallas was forced to defend with only three defenders.

Couture would end it with a shot from the slot that deflected off the right post and into the net.

Game Notes:

With his assist on Setoguchi’s first goal, Pavelski earned his 200th career point. Pavelski would earn the primary assist on both of Setoguchi’s scores. Douglas Murray was a injury scratch for the third straight game.



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Scoring
1 2 3 OT T
SJ 1 2 0 1 4
DAL 1 1 1 0 3
1st period - 1, SJ, Setoguchi 3 (Pavelski, Braun), 10:05. 2, DAL, Morrow 10 (Eriksson, Robidas), 19:09, (pp).
2nd period - 3, DAL, Eriksson 13 (Richards, Robidas), 9:26, (pp). 4, SJ, Mitchell 4 (Heatley, Huskins), 10:03. 5, SJ, Setoguchi 4 (Pavelski, Wallin), 11:49.
3rd period - 6, DAL, Wandell 3 (Ott), 7:56.
Overtime - 7, SJ, Couture 15 (Boyle), 1:20, (pp).
Penalties
1st period - Woywitka, DAL (high sticking), 6:03; Petersen, DAL (delay of game – puck over glass), 6:24; Burish, DAL (charging), 12:34; Mayers, SJ (hooking), 18:35.
2nd period - McGinn, SJ (tripping), 8:35.
3rd period - Skrastins, DAL (hooking), 4:24; Skrastins, DAL (tripping), 9:56; Ribeiro, DAL (high sticking – double minor), 19:10.
Overtime - None.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Niittymaki 18 15
DAL - Lehtonen 43 39
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
SJ 16 7 17 3 43
DAL 6 7 5 0 18
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 7
DAL 2 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Devin Setoguchi
Loui Eriksson
Joe Pavelski
Attendence
14,899
Officials
Referees: McCauley, StLaurent. Linesmen: Rody, Sharrers.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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