The San Jose Sharks had starting goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, who had missed the last eight games with upper body soreness, back in the net. They were playing the first of three straight home games at HP Pavilion at San Jose . The Sharks were also playing before their fifth sellout crowd (17,496) of the season on Saturday night.
Everything seemed to be in place. But the Dallas Stars prevailed as they won in a shootout, 3-2, on Verizon Super Pages Rally Towel Night.
Just two minutes into the game, San Jose went on their first power play of the night after Mathias Tjarnqvist was called to the box for interference. The stingy Dallas defense would not allow one shot on goal during the two-minute span, killing the penalty with ease.
Next it was Dallas who earned the man advantage when Milan Michalek was sent to the box for interference. One minute into the power play, Philippe Boucher gave the Stars the early lead when he took a pass from Mike Modano at the point and fired a one-timer from the blue line that sailed past Nabokov. Seven minutes into the game, the Stars led 1-0.
A scary moment came 10 minutes into the game when a wrist shot attempt from Bill Guerin was deflected by Scott Hannan. The puck deflected off the defenseman’s stick and right into his mouth. Hannan instantaneously went down to the ice, but skated off under his own power.
The Sharks started putting some good pressure on Turco when they went on the power play after a Jussi Jokinen penalty. Shots by Jonathan Cheechoo, Patrick Marleau
and Wayne Primeau were all turned away by the netminder. When Jokinen stepped out of the box, he was immediately fed a pass, leading a three-on-one charge. A hard wrist shot was swallowed up by Nabokov, keeping the score 1-0 for the time being.
But just seconds later, Jason Arnott would give the Stars a 2-0 lead. A puck turned over by Rob Davison at the Dallas blue line was led down the ice by the speedy Arnott. Davison attempted to catch up with the center, but slipped, leaving Arnott with a wide open shot on the defenseless Nabokov. With just over six minutes remaining in the period, the Stars led 2-0.
San Jose killed off 30 seconds of five-on-three play before heading to the locker room trailing by two. Dallas outshot San Jose in the first, 10-5.
The Sharks came out in the second half with Hannan back on the ice after he missed the rest of the first period after being hit in the face.
A back and forth period that saw few solid scoring chances went well into the eighth minute before either team could pose any real scoring threats. A brilliant save by Nabokov kept the game within reach for the Sharks.
A mad scramble in front of the Dallas net saw the best scoring chance of the night for the Sharks fall to the waste side when Brad Stuart just missed a wide open net, leaving the Sharks scoreless.
That didn’t last long, however, as Steve Bernier scored his first NHL goal when Mark Smith fired a shot on goal that bounced off Turco, right to the streaking rookie who backhanded a shot past the netminder. The Sharks crawled back within one goal and trailed 2-1 with eight minutes left in the second.
San Jose tied the game just one minute later when Marleau wristed a shot on goal that was tipped in by Alyn McCauley. The Sharks had killed the 2-0 deficit and were now back in the game with six minutes remaining in the period.
The Sharks had the power play briefly towards the end of the second period, but Hannan was called for interference with 10 seconds remaining. The clubs headed to their dressing rooms tied at two. San Jose outshot Dallas , 13-5, in the second period and held a slight edge in overall shots, 18-15.
Both teams had four skaters each to start the third period. Dallas had a brief power play after the first minute, but couldn’t muster a threat. At 5:32, Turco was called for a delay of game penalty when he knocked the puck over the glass. Despite numerous tries, the Sharks couldn’t get the puck in the net.
At 7:43, Dallas defenseman Phillipe Boucher and Marleau went into the box with coincidental minors and the teams skated four-on-four, but no one scored.
Despite scoring opportunities for both sides, regulation time ended with the score tied at two. However, the Sharks outshot the Stars, 9-2, and held the edge in shots for the game at 27-17.
Dallas came out strong in overtime as they took the first five shots on goal. San Jose couldn’t put one on net until Primeau got one with 23 seconds remaining. The game ended with San Jose outshooting Dallas , 28-22, and the score tied at two.
For the second time in franchise history, the Sharks took a game into a shootout. In fact, both shootouts have taken occured at HP Pavilion. On Oct. 29, Nils Ekman’s goal in a sudden death shootout gave the Sharks a 3-2 win over Calgary .
Sergei Zubov shot first for Dallas and scored by going left and then right on Nabokov. Marleau followed by going straight on and Turco made a pad save. Dallas rookie Jokinen kept the suspense going by taking his time before going to the net. Like Marleau, he went straight on the goaltender and put one through Nabokov’s five-hole.
Cheechoo was San Jose ’s last chance, but his backhand shot was deflected by Turco and Dallas wound up winning the game.
Hannan had a rough night on the ice. Not only did he take a puck to the face in the first period, he went down face first after being elbowed in the back by Dallas center Niko Kampanen. After briefly going to the dressing room, Hannan returned to the ice…Hannan was duly recognized for his efforts as he was awarded the game’s No. 1 star…Turco was No. 2 and Cheechoo took No. 3…Sharks healthy scratches included Niko Dimitrakos, Christian Ehrhoff and Vesa Toskala…Marleau’s assist on McCauley’s second period goal now gives him 344 points with the Sharks, just six shy of tying current Washington Capitals forward Jeff Friesen for second on the Sharks all-time list…The defeat was the third straight for the Sharks, while Dallas won its fourth in their last five games…The Stars also won their second shootout in as many tries. Their first win came on Nov. 5 at Colorado , 3-2… The Sharks lost their first game in four tries against a Pacific Division opponent…Tonight’s game was the first of back-to-backs for the Stars, who travel to Anaheim for two straight at the Arrowhead Pond starting tomorrow night and again on Nov. 16. The Sharks return to action on the same date at HP Pavilion against Vancouver .