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Away Ice Advantage

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks
San Jose Sharks center Patrick Marleau, right, crashes into Dallas Stars goalie Marty Turco in the first period in Game 2 of an NHL hockey Western Conference semifinal playoff series, Sunday, April 27, 2008, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Based on the regular season records of Dallas and San Jose in 2007-08, maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Stars took the first two games of the Western Conference Semifinals at HP Pavilion. Dallas won the first three games of the regular season series in Silicon Valley.


However, the Sharks won the first three at the American Airlines Center. If the regular season is an indicator of things to come, then the Sharks should be reasonably confident heading to Dallas for Game Three on Tuesday night.

“We have to embrace that part of it,” Captain Patrick Marleau said of his club’s success in Dallas. “One would hope it would continue the next two games. We need to go in there and get the first one and then hope to get two. We’ve had past success in there.”

“We’ve played very well in Dallas all season long,” Coach Ron Wilson said. “We’ll just have to push the pace in Dallas and play as a desperate hockey team.”

In the first meeting on Oct. 29, rookie Devin Setoguchi made his National Hockey League debut with two goals – include the tying and game-winning tallies – in a 3-2 win.

Two weeks later, San Jose captured a 4-3 shootout victory. Torrey Mitchell, Marleau and Setoguchi scored in regulation and Setoguchi nailed the shootout winner.

The last victory came on Dec. 5. Joe Thornton set up Jonathan Cheechoo and Marleau before scoring the game-winner in 3-2 decision.

San Jose’s lone loss (4-2) in Dallas came in a fight-filled (160 penalty minutes) regular season finale on April 6.

San Jose Sharks' Devin Setoguchi, second from right, scores past Dallas Stars' Trevor Daley, from left, Marty Turco, and Mattias Norstrom, of Sweden, in the first period of their NHL hockey game on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2007, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
And it’s not like the Sharks were only comfortable in Dallas. San Jose’s 27-10-4 away record was the tops in the National Hockey League.

“We enjoyed the road and had success in Dallas,” Thornton said. “We feel comfortable in their building.”

A Game Three win would not just stop Dallas’ momentum, but put the Sharks right back in the series. As they saw in the quarterfinal series vs. Calgary, momentum doesn’t necessarily carry over from one game to the next or from one period to the next.

“We’re down 2-0, but we can get right back in it,” Thornton said.

“We have to take it a game at a time, win the next one and go from there,” Nabokov said.

“We’ve been counted out a number of times this year,” Wilson said. “We’re the best road team in the NHL and now we have the chance to prove it.”

TO THE LONE STAR STATE

The Sharks took a late morning flight to Dallas on Monday.

NEXT GAME
Game Three will be at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday and will be on CSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.


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