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Giving one away, multiple times
Sharks fumble many opportunities to win in Dallas
3/8/12 - By Mike Lee -

The nightmare that is the second half of the season got a little worse on Thursday night in Dallas. The Sharks gagged up a pair of 3rd period leads, failed to capitalize on a power play in overtime, then missed on five shootout attempts en route to a 4-3 loss to the Stars. The division loss was tempered by losses by the Coyotes and Kings, but dropped another point behind Dallas, who leads the Pacific by 4 points. The loss was the Sharks 4th in a row and second in the shootout.

The inability to put opponents away has been a theme that has haunted the Sharks this season, but blowing two leads in the 3rd took things to an extreme. There is no swagger in the Sharks step right now, and Dallas took advantage late.

San Jose got off to a slow start, but picked up the pace after Stars centerman Ryan Garbutt was called sent off for roughing. San Jose immediately put five pucks on Kari Lehtonen during the power play, including a Patrick Marleau chance that the Stars netminder stopped with his left skate.

San Jose outshot Dallas 16-8 in that opening period, forcing Lehtonen to earn his paycheck in the latter half of the stanza.

The Sharks pressed in deep against Lehtonen with over 7 minutes to play, missing on a chance when Ryane Clowe pushed a shot up against the goaltender's right pad. Dallas immediately countered for the game's first goal. Michael Ryder took a Jake Dowell feed at center ice, then undressed both Dan Boyle and Marc-Edouard Vlasic before sliding the puck past Antti Niemi. Vlasic tried poke checking the puck from Ryder, but missed, allowing the winger to split the two defenders on his way to the net.

Joe Pavelski was almost decapitated by Vern Fiddler with 2:44 left in the period, but San Jose failed to do anything with the ensuing power play.

The Stars looked poised to take a 1-0 lead into the 2nd intermission, but Torey Mitchell shocked the American Airlines Center crowd by scoring his 7th goal of the season with 1.2 seconds left in the period. Mitchell took a Joe Thornton feed between the circles, before putting a pair of moves on Alex Goligoski and backhanding a shot past Lehtonen.

Marleau answered Jeremy Roenick's critique with his 27th goal of the season 25 seconds into the 3rd period. Roenick was critical of Marleau in an article that was posted on Thursday afternoon. Marleau cycled the puck into the right corner, before dropping it to Joe Thornton who returned the puck for the a shot from the slot.

Tommy Wingels was shaken up after getting hit into the glass from behind on the next shift.

Goligoski rang a shot off the post to put a scare into the Sharks, but the puck stayed clear of netting to preserve the slim 2-1 lead.

Lehtonen kept the Stars close with a big save on Andrew Desjardins 4:21 into the period, after the Sharks forward put a one-time shot from 10 feet out on net.

Jamie Benn tied the game at 6:42 of the period, sliding the puck past Niemi on a partial screen by Dan Boyle, who was tripped up as the Stars collapsed on the San Jose net. The Sharks didn't do themselves any favors by backing into their own zone, rather than standing Benn and the Stars up at their own blueline.

Joe Pavelski put the Sharks back on top with 3:32 left in regulation. Parked on the doorstep, Pavelski took a feed from Dan Boyle, pivoted toward the goal mouth, and flipped the puck over Lehtonen's right pad for his 24th goal of the season.

From the nothing comes easy storyline, Dallas countered with a goal with 75 seconds left in regulation. Tomas Vincour hacked at a puck after working himself inside of Boyle, that fluttered past Niemi who had fallen backwards into the net. Referee Dan Koharski lost site of the puck, and initially called no goal, but the play went upstairs where the play was over ruled.

The game went to overtime, where San Jose gagged on a gift from the penalty gods. Mike Ribeiro almost ended things with a breakaway chance, but Marleau back checked to stop him.

Ryder was called for holding, giving the Sharks the 4-on-3 power play, but San Jose just plain failed with the chance. The patty-cake approach burned clock while Lehtonen sat back and enjoyed the two minute break. The Sharks did nothing with the chance, forcing the fateful shootout.

Clowe, Pavelski, Wingels, Dominic Moore and Logan Couture all failed to put a puck past Lehtonen in the shootout. Vincour buried his chance with a backhand move that sent the Sharks packing.


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1 2 3 OT SO T
SJ 0 1 2 0 0 3
DAL 0 1 2 0 1 4
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, DAL, Ryder 29 (Dowell, Daley), 12:16. 2, SJ, Mitchell 7 (Thornton, Vlasic), 19:58.
3rd period - 2, SJ, Marleau 27 (Thornton), 0:25. 4, DAL, Benn 20 (Burish, Robidas), 6:42. 5, SJ, Pavelski 24 (Boyle, Thornton), 16:28. 6, DAL, Vincour 4 (), 18:45.
Overtime - None.
Shootout - Dal: Benn (miss), Eriksson (miss), Ribeiro (miss), Ryder (miss), Vincour (goal). SJ: Clowe (miss), Pavelski (miss), Wingels (miss), Moore (miss), Couture (miss).
1st period - Murray, SJ (holding the stick), 5:29; Garbutt, DAL (roughing), 11:48.
2nd period - Fiddler, DAL (high sticking), 17:16.
3rd period - Mitchell, SJ (hooking), 7:30.
Overtime - Ryder, DAL (holding), 2:37.
Shots Saves
SJ - Niemi 35 32
DAL - Lehtonen 48 45
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
SJ 16 14 13 5 48
DAL 8 9 15 3 35
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 3
DAL 0 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Kari Lehtonen
Tomas Vincour
Patrick Marleau
Referees: Devorski, StLaurent. Linesmen: Cvik, Heyer.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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