Looking to bounce back from back-to-back loses to Anaheim and Phoenix, the San Jose Sharks continued their three game road trip Monday night when they faced off against the Pacific Division leading Dallas Stars. But a Jason Arnott goal with 38 seconds remaining in overtime sunk the Sharks, as the Stars skated to a 3-2 victory.
Evgeni Nabokov returned to the net Monday after being replaced in the second period Saturday night in favor of Vesa Toskala. Opposing him was the newly named NHL Defensive Player of the Week, Marty Turco.
It was San Jose who got the first quality chance on goal when Jonathan Cheechoo did a good job of keeping a puck in the Sharks zone. Cheechoo fed Joe Thornton
behind the net and the centerman fired a pass to a crashing Nils Ekman, but Ekman’s attempt was swallowed by Turco.
Five minutes into the contest the Stars went on the first power play of the game when Josh Gorges was whistled for hooking. It took just under a minute for Dallas to take advantage of the power play when Philippe Boucher fired a one-timer past Nabokov. The Stars took the early 1-0 lead.
San Jose went on the power play midway through the frame when Niklas Hagman hooked Joe Thornton
, but San Jose could only manage one shot on goal during the two minute span.
With 4:38 left in the first, San Jose went back on the power play when Steve Ott was penalized for cross-checking, but once again the Sharks couldn’t convert.
The first period came to a close with Dallas out-shooting San Jose 10-5.
The Sharks came out of the locker room with good energy and were rewarded two and a half minutes into the second when they went on the power play after Ott was whistled for holding. Alyn McCauley was able to notch his first goal in 18 games just over one minute into the advantage when Niko Dimitrakos fired a slapshot on goal in which the center deflected past Turco. The score was now knotted at one.
Mark Smith was sent to the box for interference and Dallas was back on the power play, but they couldn’t muster any offense and they were unable to get a shot on goal during the span.
Less than 30 seconds after Smith got out of the box, it was San Jose’s turn to try their luck on the power play, as Stu Barnes headed to the box for hooking Joe Thornton
. The power play went awry without San Jose finding the back of the net.
With 1:18 left in the second, Tom Preissing was sent to the box for holding. The remainder of the period wound down and the teams headed to their locker rooms tied at one.
As the third period began, San Jose had 42 seconds left to kill in Preissing’s minor offense and they did just that.
Eight minutes into the third, Nabokov was tested by Sergei Zubov when the defenseman set up and fired a slapshot on goal, but the netminder was up to the task, keeping the game tied.
Just seconds after Nabokov’s save, Cheechoo gave San Jose their first lead in more than 165 minutes of play when he fired a wrister from the point top shelf past Turco. The Sharks led 2-1 with less than 12 minutes remaining in the contest.
Perhaps the biggest moment of the game came when San Jose was on the hook for 40 seconds of five-on-three penalty kill time after penalties to Smith and Kyle McLaren. The 40 seconds expired and Smith skated back on the ice, but with three seconds left in the McLaren penalty, Zubov tied the game at two when Bill Guerin fed him directly in front of the net. Nabokov was fooled on the pass and Zubov had a wide open net to bury the puck in.
With 3:31 left in the contest, Dallas went back on the power play after Scott Thornton was sent to the box for boarding. The Sharks got some help from the post when Jason Arnott put a shot on net that clanked off the crossbar. The power play expired and the teams were back at even strength.
The final 1:31 ticked off the clock and the game was headed to overtime after Nabokov made an unbelievable last second diving save.
It would be Arnott with just 38 seconds left in the overtime stanza that would end the game. Arnott was posted in front of the net and he flicked a backhander past a diving Nabokov to give the Stars the 3-2 overtime victory.
The sharks will travel to Anaheim Wednesday night to take on the Ducks at 7:30 p.m. The game can be heard on the Sharks Radio Network and sjsharks.com.