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Power Play Struggling In Last Few Games

by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks
San Jose appeared to have a 2-1 victory against Dallas locked up Tuesday night when out of mid-air, Philippe Boucher batted the puck past Toskala with 2.2 seconds left in regulation. It marked just the third time in 28 contests that San Jose had surrendered a third period lead that ended in the loss.


“You can’t be happy anytime you give up points,” said Joe Pavelski. “As close as we are to getting over the hump, we can’t give away points like that.”

The overtime stanza ended the Sharks NHL record streak of 49 consecutive games without going to overtime. It was the longest such single season streak since the five-minute overtime period was instituted in 1983-84. The previous mark was 41 games by Toronto in 1996-97.

The 3-2 loss would eventually come via the shootout, which provided too many bad memories for the Sharks last season. San Jose’s first two shooters were Ryane Clowe and Joe Pavelski, who both nailed their attempts. They were equaled on the other side of the ledger by Jussi Jokinen and Sergei Zubov, two of the most successful shootout specialists in NHL history.

Both clubs went with players who scored in regulation for their third shooter, but Marty Turco got just enough of Patrick Marleau’s shot to deflect it away and Mike Ribeiro found the back of the net to continue the Sharks shootout woes.

Ron Wilson showed a magic touch when he tabbed the two rookies to shoot first and struck gold. Both had played the shootout game in the AHL, but neither had the most stellar track record.

“I think I was 0-5, missing twice in one game,” said Pavelski. “This is a different league. They clean the ice (for you). I knew San Jose never had too good of luck in shootouts.”

“I know in my first shootout, I missed the net,” said Clowe.

POWER PLAY DROUGHT
Giving up one goal late with the netminder pulled will happen occasionally, but surrendering a two-goal third period lead doesn’t set well, even in the more wide-open NHL. Part of the problem is that the power play has not been up to its usual standards, going 0-7 against the Stars. Team Teal has scored just once on the man advantage in the last five games, settling in at 1-26.

“The people out on the power play were way too casual,” said Ron Wilson. “They think it’s automatically going to click. We got outworked. We were fortunate to be up 2-1 with less than a minute to go. At the end of the night, our better players have to play better for us to be a good team. We shouldn’t be looking at Vlasic, Pavelski and Clowe to be our leaders. Hopefully we learned our lesson and we’ll be ready for the next game. We should have buried them and didn’t and it came back to haunt us.”

“It’s not like he (Turco) was making a lot of big saves, we were just getting outworked,” said Clowe. “They were hungry in the third. It’s very frustrating. Obviously the power play was not clicking tonight at all.”

STILL STRONG IN NET
Evgeni Nabokov lost the previous contest 2-1 and the Stars game marked the Sharks second consecutive one-goal loss as Toskala took this one. Both netminders surrendered second goals that they were handcuffed on. Nabokov’s went in as it bounced off his own blueliner, while Toskala’s came with the extra skater pulled and Boucher standing unattended in front, grabbing the puck in the air.

“There was not much you could do,” said Toskala.

STILL HOT
With a goal in the second period, Marleau has now scored 21 points (9-12=21) in the last 12 games.
Thornton has now scored one point in 17 of his last 23 games (7-29=36).

NEXT GAME
The same Dallas Stars will return to HP Pavilion Thursday night for a 7:30 p.m. showdown. Limited tickets are still available at the HP Pavilion Box Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The game will be aired on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.

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