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No show Sharks giveaway a win
3rd period implosion costs San Jose
4/3/18 - By Mike Lee -

If there was ever an example of checking out early, Tuesday night's Sharks game versus the Dallas Stars was it. After grabbing a commanding 2-0 lead in the opening period, the Sharks lulled themselves to sleep in the middle frame, before imploding in the third period. Dallas scored four unanswered goals, including three in that fateful final period to sink the Sharks. The loss also meant that the Los Angeles Kings climb to within two points in the standings with two games to play.

The Sharks mustered a single shot on goal in the 3rd period, which was indicative of the absence of much motivation. The Stars ran roughshod, controlling the tempo and the puck. Turnovers spelled doom for san Jose, contributing the last two tallies.

San Jose had entered play with one objective. Win two of their last three games and they would lock up 2nd place in the Pacific Division. That still can happen, but they need to win their two remaining games. Their play on Tuesday would suggest that this isn't happening.

A pair of goals in the 1st period looked as if the game would go swimmingly for the Sharks early. Logan Couture converted on a power play 9:21 into the contest. The Sharks forward ripped a shot from the top of the left circle, using several players from both teams as screens, blocking Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen's view.

Timo Meier scored his 20th goal of the season with 4:44 remaining in the opening period, grabbing a deflection near the bottom of the left circle, then pivoting to face the goal before whipping a shot that hit Lehtonen and deflected into the net.

Lehtonen's evening came to an end a minute later after he was injured while trying to defend a series of shots. The Stars inserted backup Mike McKenna, who hadn't played in an NHL game in three years. That was tantamount to a goalkeeper making his NHL debut, which is kryptonite to the Sharks.

As prescribed, the Sharks offense clammed up and never came close to scoring another goal. That allowed the Stars to go to work.

Jamie Benn cut the Sharks lead in half with 31 seconds left in the 2nd period. Benn cut down the slot as John Klingberg fired a pass from the right wing boards. Benn redirected Klingberg's pass past Martin Jones for his 30th goal of the season.

Gemel Smith punched home a deflection after Alexander Radulov crashed the net and tried to jam the puck past Jones. The wayward shot deflected over to Smith on the right side, for the easy put back as Jones lay sprawled out on the ice.

Benn put the Stars up two minutes later with 3:06 left in regulation after he picked Tomas Hertl's pocket just inside the Sharks blueline. Benn grabbed the puck he had poked away from Hertl, then raced in on net and swooped to Jones' left before sliding the puck home. Benn would score an empty net goal with 24 seconds left in regulation to seal the disastrous evening game.

Game Notes:

* Evander Kane was scratched for what the Sharks called rest. The team was mum on if Kane was suffering from any injury.

* Dylan Gambrell made his NHL debut for San Jose, logging 9:18 of ice time on 12 shifts. The rookie recorded a single shot on goal, and was 3-of-6 on draws. Gambrell wore number 14.

* Logan Couture finished the game a -4, even though he scored a power play goal. Tallies with an extra skater do not warrant a plus value, so Couture did not receive any credit for his goal. He was on the ice for all four Stars goals however.


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1 2 3 T
DAL 0 1 3 4
SJ 2 0 0 2
1st period - 1, SJ, Couture 33 (Burns, Herlt), 9:21, (pp). 2, SJ, Meier 20 (Burns, Pavelski), 15:16.
2nd period - 3, DAL, Benn 30 (Klinberg, Seguin), 19:29.
3rd period - 4, DAL, Smith 6 (Shore), 14:43. 5, DAL, Benn 31 (unassisted), 16:54. 6, DAL, Benn 32 (unassisted), 19:36, (en).
1st period - Methot, DAL (roughing), 8:15; Meier, SJ (tripping), 10:10.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - None.
Shots Saves
DAL - Lehtonen 14 12
DAL - McKenna 17 17
SJ - Jones 22 19
SJ - empty net 1 0
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
DAL 5 6 12 23
SJ 18 12 1 31
Power Play Conversion
DAL 0 of 1
SJ 1 of 1
3 Stars of the Game
Jamie Benn
Mike McKenna
Brent Burns
SAP Center - 17,451
Referees: Pollock, Rooney. Linesmen: Gibbons, Kovachik.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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