SAN JOSE, Calif. --
San Jose opened up a four-game homestand against Pacific Division rival Dallas on Thursday night at HP Pavilion. Milan Michalek had a goal and an assist on the night, but back-to-back goals by Mike Modano secured the 4-2 victory for the visiting Stars.
Evgeni Nabokov, despite taking a night off in Anaheim, had still started every home game this season and looked across the ice at Marty Turco in the opposite crease. Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson inserted Alexei Semenov back into the lineup as Sandis Ozolinsh and Rob Davison were the healthy scratches.
Semenov was critical to the game early. After being whistled for two minutes early in the first, a Dallas shot came all the way out of the zone and Semenov, who was skating to the Sharks bench, suddenly found himself leading a two-on-one with Curtis Brown. The initial pass made it through in the air to Brown and the veteran winger was able to stab at the puck. It moved to the slot where a hard-charging Michalek slammed it in for the 1-0 lead.
The lead would last just over five minutes when Dallas struck for their own tally. Strong skating by Niklas Hagman created a two-on-one rush with Louie Eriksson. Eriksson hit the wide-open Hagman in stride and he beat Nabokov to tie the contest.
In the first period’s final minutes, Craig Rivet hammered Brendan Morrow with a big hit, leaving the Stars captain flat on the ice and bleeding. Trevor Daley immediately went after Rivet and the two exchanged punches. The end result was an extra instigating minor to Daley and the Sharks closed out the first on the power play.
Team Teal was pressuring on the power play, but as time expired, Joe Pavelski
was called for goalie interference and the Sharks would play shorthanded to start the middle stanza.
After the intermission, Dallas came out gunning and notched the first seven shots of the period. Midway through the second, there were not goals, but Stephane Robidas tripped up Marcel Goc and the Sharks went on the power play. They could not convert and the game remained tied.
Late in the period, Sharks nemesis Mike Modano would provide Dallas the go-ahead goal. As Eriksson worked hard for possession behind Nabokov, he centered Modano coming down the slot and he one-timed it in for the lead.
Team Teal’s penalty killers faced a giant challenge when successive penalties to Semenov and Torrey Mitchell
provided Dallas with almost four minutes of power play time. Although Dallas would carry 18 seconds of the second power play into the third, the men in teal did their job shorthanded.
|Stars goalie Marty Turco makes a save on Sharks right wing Jonathan Cheechoo in the second period on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2008.(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) |
As the power play concluded to begin the third, Dallas’ Jeff Halpern led a two-on-one with Joel Lundqvist. Halpern threaded the pass between the back and closing defenders, but Lundqvist somehow missed the easy tap-in.
San Jose tied it 3:23 into the third. Dallas had possession of the puck, but the Sharks were hammering away on the forecheck. First, Michalek kept Modano from getting the puck out, and on the other side of the ice, an oncoming hit from Steve Bernier forced an errant pass that Michalek recovered.
The Czech winger found Thornton heading down the left wing and set up the club’s top assist man. As Thornton threw the puck across the slot, Matt Niskanen looked to intercept it and tipped the vulcanized rubber behind Turco.
At the 12:54 mark, Dallas once again took the lead. This time it was Dallas attacking and preventing the Sharks from clearing the puck. When Modano finally took possession alone near the faceoff circle, he ripped a one-timer behind Nabokov. The Sharks would be forced to play catch-up again.
As the game moved under the five-minute mark, a Sharks turnover gave Mike Ribeiro the puck alone in the offensive zone, but Nabokov made a stellar stop with Morrow parked in front. San Jose would make it more difficult on themselves to mount a rally when Halpern was allowed to skate in and score, giving Dallas a 4-2 lead with a little over two minutes remaining.
In the final minute of play, Nabokov tried to leave the net twice, but was forced back to his crease each time. Finally, with 30 seconds remaining, the Sharks were able to regain possesion and get Nabby out of the net for the extra attacker. The effort was in vain and the Dallas Stars held on to win 4-2 at HP Pavilion.
Nabokov-Greiss NEXT GAME
The Sharks will play hosts to Detroit on Saturday night at HP Pavilion and limited tickets are available at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The game will be available on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.