San Jose once again called upon All-Star goaltender Evgeni Nabokov and faced Dallas goaltender Marty Turco.
Nabokov was sharp in the early stages of the first as the Sharks sustained heavy pressure by the Stars. Dallas nearly connected on three separate one-time plays in the game’s first 10 minutes, but Nabokov stalled Dallas forwards Mike Ribeiro and Joel Lundqvist (twice) with key saves while moving laterally.
The opening period’s pace was slowed considerably when a sheet of plexiglass was dislodged in a collision involving Douglas Murray
and Lundqvist with 18:48 to play in the first. The glass landed on one of the Stars Ice Girls and delayed the game for nearly five minutes.
The Stars drew the first two power plays of the game when Craig Rivet caught Ribeiro with a high-stick in the ear hole at 4:48 of the first, then Jonathan Cheechoo was called for interfering with Antti Miettinen on an offensive zone faceoff at 10:09.
Rivet’s penalty saved a goal as Ribeiro was looking at a wide-open net after Jere Lehtinen looked off Nabokov, then made a perfect pass to the far-side of the net. Ribeiro could not finish the play and the Sharks would kill both minors keeping the game scoreless.
After surviving the initial push by the Stars, the Sharks went on the attack and drew the next two penalties. Stephane Robidas was called for tripping Captain Patrick Marleau
while Cheechoo was in the box, ending Dallas’ power play and sending the Sharks on the man-advantage.
|San Jose Sharks Joe Pavelski (8) reaches for the puck as Dallas Stars goalie Marty Turco (35) defends the goal during the first period of Game 6 of a Western Conference semifinal playoff hockey series in Dallas, Sunday, May 4, 2008. (AP Photo/LM Otero) |
The Sharks were unable to register a shot on their first power play, but with 1:01 to play in the period, Trevor Daley was called for tripping Ryane Clowe
. With one second remaining in the period, Brian Campbell broke in on the off-wing, then ripped a wrister on net, but Turco made the glove save keeping the game scoreless after 20 minutes.
San Jose opened the second period with 59 seconds of power play time, but could not capitalize while up a man.
The Stars however would strike first at 4:49 of the second, taking the 1-0 lead on Miettinen’s first of the playoffs. Nabokov made the initial save on a point shot by Sergei Zubov, but a textbook screen by Niklas Hagman in front of the Sharks cage prevented Nabokov from controlling the rebound. Miettinen swooped in and put it into the open net for the game’s first tally.
Two minutes after Dallas made it 1-0, San Jose nearly responded when a shot by Campbell handcuffed Turco, then Pavelski found the rebound on a sharp angle and forced the shot towards the net, but neither was able to find mesh.
Keeping the pressure on, Cheechoo broke into the Stars zone just over one minute later and drew a tripping penalty on Mattias Norstrom at 8:22 of the second. Milan Michalek grabbed the loose puck on the delayed penalty and lasered a backhand shot on net, but Turco stood tall as Dallas touched up sending the sharks on their third power play.
Just after Norstrom’s penalty had expired, Thornton was inches away from tying the game when he tipped a Murray shot from the blueine, then forced Turco to make a second save on the rebound.
A holding call on Torrey Mitchell
in the offensive zone gave Dallas their third power play of the game, but San Jose’s penalty kill remained perfect on the evening and canceled the man-advantage.
After 40 minutes, the game was headed to a decisive third period with Dallas leading 1-0.
One minute and 39 seconds into the third, Clowe collected his first point of the series in a huge moment, tying the game at 1-1. An innocent looking play at the point by Rivet turned into a big play for the Sharks when Clowe gloved down the puck, turned and beat an unsuspecting Turco. Tomas Plihal provided enough of a screen to sneak the puck in for the equalizer.
|San Jose Sharks right wing Ryane Clowe (29) celebrates his goal with teammates Matt Carle, left,and Craig Rivet (52) during the third period of Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinal playoff hockey series against the Dallas Stars in Dallas, Sunday, May 4, 2008. (AP Photo/LM Otero) |
The Sharks, buzzing after Clowe’s tally, nearly grabbed the lead when a tip by Mike Grier followed a shot by Marleau. But Turco sprawled for both saves and kept the game knotted at one.
As the game headed to overtime, San Jose faced a scary moment for Michalek. As the clock was about to expire he took a full on hit and was down on the ice. After attention from the training staff, he would use their assistance to make it to the lockerroom. He would not return after that and no update was provided.
Tomas Plihal stepped into Michalek’s spot on Thornton’s line for the overtime.
Nabokov made what may go down as the Sharks best playoff save ever early in the overtime. When a shot by Dallas deflected to the right side of the ice directly to Brad Richards, the former playoff MVP could see nothing but net. However, by the time the shot arrived, Nabokov had begun sliding over and put his glove in just the right spot to keep the Sharks playoffs alive.
Turco made a game saver of his own with eight minutes to go in the first OT when he robbed Patrick Marleau
of a shot that was ticketed for the upper corner. With 5:45 left, he stopped Pavelski on a shot very similar to the OT winner in Game 5.
Nabokov was the true first overtime star as he stopped 17 shots including one with just 1:14 left against Ribeiro. A turnover sent the Stars forward in on Nabokov and there was not a defender around for 20 feet. San Jose’s Vezina candidate matched the attacker move for move until a simple shot was simply turned away.
|San Jose Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov (20) of Kazakhstan catches the puck shot by Dallas Stars forward Brad Richards (91) during the first overtime period during Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinal playoff hockey series in Dallas, Sunday, May 4, 2008. (AP Photo/LM Otero) |
Three previous games in the series had gone to overtime, but this would be the first to hit double overtime.
In the second overtime, the Sharks jumped out early with two prime chances. First Thornton jumped on a turnover and rifled a shot on Turco. Then Roenick had a blast from the wing.
Midway through the second extra period, 90 shots had been posted with just two goals allowed.
Later, Thornton had another excellent chance when he took a drop pass from Cheechoo on a three-on-two, but the shot hit the side of the net. Plihal almost banked the rebound off Turco, but the Dallas netminder made the stop.
Team Teal outshot Dallas 11-2 in the second overtime, but a third would be necessary. It marked just the second triple overtime contest in Sharks history.
During triple overtime, San Jose drew a power play when Grossman was forced to hook Marleau going to the net. Unfortunately for Team Teal, they could not take advantage of the man advantage and the game kept going.
Roenick, Thornton and Plihal had an extended shift that had Dallas on their heels, but Turco turned them away.
With 11:05 left in triple overtime, Ribeiro found the puck and a bit of daylight in the slot, but he could not find daylight between Nabokov and the goal line.
Shortly after, with 10:11 remaining, Mitchell and Clowe led a rush. While being dogged by a backchecker, Clowe managed to get a shot off and briefly raised his arms in celebration, but Turco covered the puck and video review showed nothing conclusive.
|Dallas Stars forward Mike Modano (9) skates for the puck as teammate Niklas Hagman (15), of Finland, blocks San Jose Sharks Joe Pavelski (8) during the third period of Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinal playoff hockey series in Dallas, Sunday, May 4, 2008. (AP Photo/LM Otero) |
Roenick continued to show his young legs when he created space in the slot for a shot, but Turco handled that as well.
With five minutes left in the third overtime, Nabokov squared off with Daley and Modano on a two-on-one. Nabokov not only stopped Dailey’s shot, but turned the rebound away from the charging Modano.
The longest game in Sharks history would continue to a fourth overtime, but their fate would be unkind. When Campbell was called for tripping with 11:46 on the clock and the Stars made quick work of the power play.
Morrow slipped near the top of the crease and tipped home a pass from in close, ending the Sharks season and the eighth longest game in Stanley Cup Playoffs history.
Patrick Rissmiller made his return to the lineup, swapping places with Devin Setoguchi. Rissmiller opened the game skating on a line centered by Curtis Brown and with Mike Grier on the right side.
Michalek – Thornton – Cheechoo
Marleau – Pavelski – Clowe
Rissmiller – Brown – Grier
Plihal – Mitchell – Roenick
Vlasic – Campbell
Murray – Ehrhoff
Carle – Rivet
Nabokov – Boucher
From the AP Wire
DALLAS (AP) -The Dallas Stars have finally made it back to the Western Conference finals. It took the eighth longest game in NHL history to do it.
Brenden Morrow scored a power play goal 9:03 into the fourth overtime by deflecting a pass from Stephane Robidas as the Stars eliminated the pesky San Jose Sharks 2-1 in a game that ended early Monday morning - the longest game in the NHL playoffs this season, and the longest in San Jose history.
"Robie made a good, heads-up play, faked the defender down and I was there for an easy one. I shouldn't miss that one," said Morrow, the Stars captain. "At that point of the game, you don't really know what you've got left."
|Dallas Stars goalie Marty Turco (35) makes a save in the second period of Game 6 of a Western Conference semifinal playoff hockey series against the San Jose Sharks in Dallas, Sunday, May 4, 2008. (AP Photo/LM Otero) |
The Stars are going to the conference finals for the first time since 2000, when they returned to the Stanley Cup finals the year after winning the franchise's only championship. They play Game 1 on Thursday night in Detroit, which wrapped up its second-round sweep of Colorado on Thursday night.
After winning the first three games in the series, the Stars finally knocked out the Sharks on the third try and avoided having to go to San Jose for another game. The win came after having two apparent goals by Morrow disallowed following video reviews in Game 5, and Evgeni Nabokov's sensational glove save early in the first overtime of Game 6 - well before midnight.
It was the fourth overtime game in the series, and the fifth game decided by one goal.
"This whole series was a coin flip," Sharks center Jeremy Roenick said.
The deciding game lasted 5 hours, 14 minutes - ending the third-longest in Stars history. They lost the other two, but Morrow made sure that didn't happen again with his seventh goal of the playoffs.
"That was as fitting as anything I've every seen in sports, that Brenden Morrow got the game-winner," coach Dave Tippett said. "It's been a long time since I've seen somebody have a series like that. That's him taking the team on his back and carrying us. Turco was great too."
Marty Turco had a franchise-record 61 saves for the Stars. Nabokov stopped 53 shots, but not the one set up after Brian Campbell was called for tripping Loui Eriksson close to the Dallas net.
"You're trying to battle for a puck. From my point, he started flopping," Campbell said. "I can't do much about it."
Coach Ron Wilson didn't dispute the call.
"Well, it was tripping," Wilson said. "It was a trip, we had to kill it off, and we didn't."
|San Jose Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov, of Kazakhstan, watches the puck during the second period of Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinal playoff hockey series against the Dallas Stars in Dallas, Sunday, May 4, 2008. (AP Photo/LM Otero) |
San Jose thought it had a game-winner midway through the third overtime, with Ryane Clowe poking a puck around Turco. Clowe and nearby teammates wearily lifted their arms, but the puck was under the goalie's glove and not in the net. The Sharks even had a power play in the third overtime when Nicklas Grossman was called for hooking, but couldn't convert.
Nabokov's incredible glove save 1:31 into the first overtime kept the game going and prevented a series winner by Brad Richards.
Nabokov made a stab of Richards' one-timer, grabbing the puck with his glove sweeping just inside the post and the puck above the goal line. Referee Tim Peel was behind the net and quickly waved off the goal even though the red light lit up. The play was reviewed by off-ice officials, who determined the puck didn't completely cross the goal line.
Mike Ribeiro had three chances to score in the final 75 seconds of the first overtime. He was rejected on a pair of bang-bang attempts, then with 47 seconds left had another shot that deflected off Nabokov and then the crossbar.
Turco was sprawling out of the crease when he stopped two shots by Sharks captain Patrick Marleau with just over 8 minutes left in the first overtime.
"It's nice to be on this side of it for once," Turco said. "We've had some long ones before. But none of them was more memorable than this one. It was 99 percent fun tonight."
San Jose played in overtime without Milan Michalek, who was face down on the ice when regulation ended after taking a hard hit from Morrow. Michalek, who scored the go-ahead goal in Game 4, had to be helped off the ice and never returned to the bench. He was later shown on TV leaving the locker room with his left arm in a sling.
"We have nothing to hang our heads in shame about. We showed character and kept going," Wilson said. "We were down a player, played overtime without him - a full game with a short bench. Our guys kept going and going and going. We had a ton of chances."
Wilson refused to discuss the injury, saying "it's irrelevant" since the season is over.
After some spectacular saves by Turco, he appeared off-guard when the Sharks got even 1-1 only 1:39 into the third period. Craig Rivet knocked down the puck in the right circle, then Clowe spun and knocked it toward the net. The puck skirted the inside of the right post and went in for Clowe's fifth goal of the playoffs.
At the end of the second period, three Sharks were swarming near the net when Turco pushed away a shot by Jonathan Cheechoo with his stick. That came about a minute after his pad save on a shot by Tomas Plihal.
Antti Miettinen scored on a rebound 4:49 into the second period to give Dallas a 1-0 lead.
Sergei Zubov took a shot that ricocheted off Nabokov, who then collided with Niklas Hagman. There was no whistle, and Nabokov lost his stick in a desperate dive to his right trying to stop Miettinen's putback.
Turco got a break soon after that, when a shot by Pavelski from the side slid through the crease between the posts and the goalie on his back.
Notes: The previous longest game this postseason was Game 4 of the Eastern Conference series between Philadelphia and Washington that lasted 86 minutes, 40 seconds. ... Stars C Stu Barnes missed his third straight game since taking a hard hit to the head in Game 3 on Tuesday night. ... Zubov was in his 108th playoff games for Dallas, the third most in team history behind Mike Modano (167) and Neal Broten (115).