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Dallas is latest house of horrors for SJ
Former Shark Niemi beats former team
10/31/15 - By Mike Lee -

Antti Niemi decided to dress up as an NHL goaltender on Saturday afternoon as the former Sharks netminder stymied his former team in Dallas in a 5-3 win. Niemi recorded his 7th win of the season, as the Stars extended their lead in the Western Conference, as the Sharks dropped their 5th game of the season to fall to .500. As the Sharks continnue to flounder, Niemi's performance exposed the fact that the Sharks still aren't a very good hockey team, and their misfortunes last season were likely more a result of poor defense rather then goaltending.

The Sharks continue to show sign of emerging from their funk for a few minutes, before slipping back into the lethargic state that has cursed them for the past year. Their hot four game start is now simply a distant memory as San Jose slipped to 5-5-0, and have fallen to the 10th spot in the West. They may be even farther behind by the time the weekend ends.

Top dollar players like Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau were non-factors once again. Mediocrity reigns supreme on a team that appears uninspired on the ice.

Give Dallas credit. They've built a team that plays with energy and isn't stacked with big name players. The Stars did what they needed to win, and the Sharks continue to play 10th place hockey.

The Stars jumped on the Sharks early, scoring 2:33 into the contest. Patrick Sharp deposited his 4th goal of the season from just outside the left post after a Jason Demers shot bounced off Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock. The Sharks literally backed themselves into trouble when defensemen Brent Burns and Paul Martin decided to give ground to Tyler Seguin and the Stars top line, rather than stand them up farther away from their own goal. Chris Tierney decided to try and block Seguin by dropping to a knee, which allowed the Stars forward to move the puck to Demers.

A Jamie Benn holding penalty 4:23 into the 2nd period set off a series of whacky goals. The first two came on the power play associated with the Benn penalty. Dallas capitalized when the Sharks forward assumed they would control the puck. Instead, Antoine Roussel setup former Sharks defenseman Jason Demers with a pass that was redirected from the doorstep for the stars second goal of the game. The Tally was Demers 3rd goal of the season.

The Sharks responded in a big way when Joe Pavelski tipped a Burns shot at the end of the Benn penalty to cut the Stars lead in half. Pavelski was simply parked in the slot, getting his stick on puck before it redirected past Niemi.

Justin Braun was sent off for closing his hand on the puck at 9:06 of the period and once again, the shorthanded team capitalized. This time, Tommy Wingels picked a loose puck off the right wing boards before racing up ice and setting up Matt Nieto who was breaking down the slot. Nieto had four strides to choose his shot, electing to lift the puck over Niemi's right shoulder for his 2nd goal of the season.

Dallas pounced on a Sharks mistake with 5 minutes left in the period, when Burns stumbled behind the net. Vern Fiddler carried the puck from behind the net before roofing a shot from outside the right post past Stalock for the 3-2 lead.

Radek Faksa put the Sharks back on the power play for hooking Joe Thornton with 2:40 to play in the period and San Jose made Dallas pay. Joel Ward scored his team leading 6th goal of the season on a put back after Patrick Marleau bounced a shot off Niemi's left pad. Ward was parked at the top of the crease and simply waved at the loose puck for this easy deposit.

Jyrki Jokipakka prevented a breakaway goal with 46 seconds left in the middle frame, after Tomas Hertl raced up ice following a turnover in the neutral zone. Jokipakka was whistled for hooking on the play, but San Jose should have been awarded a penalty shot as the Stars defenseman never tried to play the puck but rather slashed at Hertl.

The penalty carried over, but San Jose had nothing for Niemi. In fact, they seemed to pack it in after their big 2nd period. No bite or initiative in a 3rd period that was all Stars.

Roussel topped off his big 3 point night by scoring his 2nd goal of the season at 13:33 after the Sharks defense once again forced the issue in front of the Sharks net. John Klingberg fired a shot on the rush from the top of the right circle that Stalock got a piece of, but did not control. The puck fluttered over his shoulder into his crease, before Roussel swooped past a flat-footed Braun to push the puck over the goal line.

In another act of desperation, head coach Peter DeBoer burned his timeout to challenge the goal, arguing that the Stars were offside. Replays showed that the Stars entered the zone cleanly, certifying the goal. The Sharks were now without a timeout for the remainder of the game.

With time winding down, the Sharks shot themselves in the foot when Burns got caught at his own blueline and was forced to grab at Mattias Janmark to prevent a Stars breakaway. The penalty meant the Sharks would spend the last 1:49 of the game on the penalty kill, which all but killed any chance to tie the game.

DeBoer pulled his goaltender, which simply allowed Seguin to pad his stats with a power play empty-net goal to seal the deal.





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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 0 3 0 3
DAL 1 2 2 5
1st period - 1, DAL, Sharp 4 (Demers, Seguin), 2:33.
2nd period - 2, DAL, Demers 3 (Roussel, Fidler), 7:09, (sh). 3, SJ, Pavelski 5 (Burns), 8:23, (pp). 4, SJ, Nieto 2 (Wingels), 9:56, (sh). 5, DAL, Fiddler 1 (Roussel), 15:00. 6, SJ, Ward 6 (Marleau, Thornton), 17:57, (pp).
3rd period - 7, DAL, Roussel 2 (Klingberg, Fiddler), 13:33. 8, DAL, Seguin 5 (Sharp, Klingberg), 18:37, (pp)(en).
Penalties
1st period - Bench, SJ (too many men), 13:41; Donskoi, SJ (interference), 16:53.
2nd period - Benn, DAL (holding), 4:23; Goligoski, DAL (interference), 6:57; Braun, SJ (closing hand on the puck), 9:06; Faksa, DAL (hooking), 17:20; Jokipakka, DAL (hooking), 19:28.
3rd period - Burns, SJ (interference), 18:11.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Stalock 24 20
SJ - empty net 1 0
DAL - Niemi 29 26
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 9 9 11 29
DAL 10 6 9 25
Power Play Conversion
SJ 2 of 4
DAL 1 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Antoine Roussel
Vern Fiddler
Jason Demers
Attendance
18,178
Officials
Referees: Jackson, Rehman. Linesmen: Cvik, Murphy.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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