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Sharks rebound with a 6 spot of their own
SJ beats Stars on Thornton and Pavelski's strong night
3/15/11 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks responded to their 6-3 shellacking in Chicago on Monday night, by putting a 6 spot on the Dallas Stars to take their own 6-3 decision on Tuesday. San Jose capped their brief back-to-back night road trip by taking a 4-3 lead down to the wire in Dallas before scoring a pair of empty-net goal late to knock off their division rivals. Joe Thornton scored a pair of goals, and Joe Pavelski added four assists to lead San Jose.

Games on back-to-back nights was an excuse primed for the taking, and falling behind 2-0 on the road made it easy for the Sharks to pack it in. They'd do exactly the opposite, ripping off four straight goals to grab a nice lead in the 3rd period before Dallas cut the lead to a single goal late. Niemi buckled down late, to win his 27th game of the season.

With Los Angeles also winning on Tuesday night, the Sharks still maintain a slim three point lead in the Pacific Division.

The opening 20 minutes was lacking any drama or energy that typically comes with a Sharks - Stars contest. Neither squad looked inspired as they skated to a 0-0 draw after one period.

The one bright spot for San Jose was rookie defenseman Justin Braun's play in the period. Braun replaced Jason Demers, who had a rough night in Chicago 24 hours earlier. Braun made several stops and was cool as a cucumber. Some of that may have been attributed to Dallas' lack of fire in the period.

The Dallas Stars were the benefactors of an egregious non-call early in the 2nd period after Jamie Lagenbrunner laid out Niklas Wallin with a hit from behind that sent the Sharks defenseman to the locker room. With Wallin hobbling on the ice, Dallas took advantage.

Mike Ribeiro converted on the unofficial man-advantage by carrying the puck around the back of the Sharks net, before circling to the front and snapping a shot past Antti Niemi. Wallin actually got back to the net, but he was prevented from getting out to Ribiero by Brendan Morrow, allowing Ribiero to skate freely.

Loui Eriksson would get knocked out of the game 30 seconds later after he stretched to tip a puck near his blueline and was bulldozed by Douglas Murray. Eriksson joined Wallin in the locker room, but Steve Ott decided to take matters into his own hands by engaging Murray.

That decision would earn the Stars pest an instigator penalty and the rest of the period off, setting up an opportunity for the Sharks to get back in the game. Instead, the Sharks power play gagged up the puck and allowed 4th line centerman Toby Petersen to score his 2nd goal of the season.

Defenseman Dan Boyle wiped out Niemi chasing Jamie Benn behind the net. With the Sharks netminder scrambling to get back in the net, Benn circled to the right corner and fed Petersen in the slot for the easy deposit.

San Jose cut the Stars lead in half more than a minute later when Joe Thornton deflected a Dan Boyle shot past Kari Lehtonen at 6:23 of the period. Thornton was cutting through the slot just Boyle unloaded his shot from the left point.

Morrow was sent off for high sticking at 11:07, then Benn would follow him to the box a minute later for throwing the puck over the glass. San Jose made the most of this power play, when Dany Heatley deposited his 23rd goal of the season past Lehtonen off a rebound from the top of the crease.

Joe Pavelski would setup a go-ahead goal for the Sharks 2 minutes into the 3rd period, after he stripped Jeff Woywitka of the puck along the Stars end boards. Pavelski then slipped a pass to a cutting Ryane Clowe in the slot for the one-time chance that beat Lehtonen.

Pavelski would setup another goal 100 seconds later, grabbing a Jamal Mayers drop pass along the left wing, then making a feed to Torrey Mitchell in the slot for the redirect goal. Mayers did a nice job to gain possession of the puck after beating defenseman Niklas Grossman to it near the Stars bench. Mitchell saw Pavelski grab the pass, so he made a bee-line to the slot where he converted his 6th goal of the season.

Ott made his return to the ice and missed a chance to cut into the Sharks lead when his shot from the left side hit the post.

A hooking penalty to Marleau at 7:04 put the Sharks hospitable penalty kill on the ice, and they promptly surrendered another goal. Benn pushed his 20th of the season past Niemi after the Sharks failed to clear the puck.

Heatley would take a foolish penalty with 4 minutes left in regulation, taking a shot at Ott with an elbow away from the puck and putting a fractured penalty-killing unit back on the ice. Logan Couture chipped a deflection out to Thornton for a breakaway, but Lehtonen stoned the Sharks captain with a kick save.

The penalty kill held as Heatley's penalty expired, but Couture sent a puck over the glass to put Dallas right back on the power play with 2:01 left. Stars head coach Marc Crawford pulled Lehtonen for the extra attacker, but that would backfire as Thornton sent a shot from the Sharks zone down the length of the ice for the short-handed empty-netter.

Heatley followed that up with his own short-handed empty-netter 5 seconds later right off the faceoff to ice the game.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 0 2 1 3
DAL 0 2 4 6
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, DAL, Ribeiro 16 (Benn), 3:28. 2, DAL, Petersen 2 (Benn, Skrastins), 5:08, (sh). 3, SJ, Thornton 18 (Boyle, Marleau), 6:23. 4, SJ, Heatley 23 (Marleau, Pavelski), 12:40, (pp).
3rd period - 5, SJ, Clowe 23 (Pavelski), 1:51. 6, SJ, Mitchell 6 (Pavelski, Mayers), 3:31. 7, DAL, Benn 20 (Ott, Langenbrunner), 8:11, (pp). 8, SJ, Thornton (unassisted, 18:52, (en) (sh). 9, SJ, Heatley 24 (Pavelski), 19:19, (en) (sh).
1st period - None.
2nd period - Murray, SJ (fighting major), 4:12; Ott, DAL (instigator), 4:12; Ott, DAL (fighting major), 4:12; Ott, DAL (10-min misconduct), 4:12; Morrow, DAL (high sticking), 11:07; Benn, DAL (delay of game - puck over glass), 12:09; Mayers, SJ (tripping), 16:08.
3rd period - Marleau, SJ (hooking), 7:04; Heatley, SJ (elbowing), 15:54; Couture, SJ (delay of game - puck over glass), 17:59.
Shots Saves
SJ - Niemi 37 34
DAL - Lehtonen 37 33
DAL - empty net 2 0
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 15 16 8 39
DAL 9 15 13 37
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 3
DAL 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Joe Pavelski
Jamie Benn
Joe Thornton
Referees: McCreary, Rehman. Linesmen: Champoux, Galloway.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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