The San Jose Sharks looked for a quick rebound following their bad loss to Phoenix Saturday night and that is exactly what they found with a hard fought 4-2 win in Dallas.
Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson sat Mark Bell, Steve Bernier and Matt Carle and dressed Scott Parker, Rob Davison and Doug Murray to shake things up. In addition, the Sharks had several meetings during the day which included everyone from the players up to Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson.
Just a minute and a half into the contest, the Sharks accomplished what they hadn’t in seven previous games by scoring the opening goal.
Strong work by Joe Pavelski
saw the rookie circle behind Marty Turco for a wraparound effort. The save was made, but the puck lay loose in the slot. Milan Michalek and Jonathan Cheechoo were whacking at it, but it was Pavelski, who was lying on the ice, who managed to knock in the goal.
Dallas looked to quickly respond on a Scott Parker penalty, but Team Teal easily killed the two minutes and when the Sharks were put on the power play, they made it 2-0. San Jose was completely controlling the zone when goal number two occurred. First Josh Gorges had a shot from the right side of Turco, and when the rebound squirted behind the net, Joe Thornton
was there to control it. He quickly found Jonathan Cheechoo who drilled it off Turco and in.
Turco had shut out San Jose in their two previous meetings, but he was now down 2-0 just five minutes into the game.
Dallas entered the night even with San Jose in the standings for a reason and they quickly cut the gap in half. Working their second power play effort, Sergei Zubov blasted one from the point that found the upper corner on the screened Vesa Toskala.
The power play dual continued when Cheechoo was dragged down behind the Dallas net. Immediately into the power play, San Jose struck again. Thornton fed Marleau in the slot and his bomb fell in front of the crease. Thornton, Cheechoo and Marleau all crashed the net, but Marleau was the first to reach it and he poked it beyond Turco’s reach.
Dallas Coach Dave Tippet used the opportunity to switch up the momentum and remove Marty Turco with the Stars trailing 3-1.
When new netminder Mike Smith faced his first shot, the results were no different. This time Thornton skated into the slot with the puck and planted it five-hole. It marked Thornton’s 200th career NHL goal and Marleau’s assist on the play was his 246th, setting a new Sharks franchise record, which he previously held in conjunction with Owen Nolan.
San Jose took that 4-1 lead into first intermission, following just one tally short of the franchise record for the first period. It was more than enough scoring for Toskala on the night.
The action didn’t slow down early in the second. First Doug Murray flattened Jere Lehtinen in the race for a loose puck behind the net. Then Cheechoo rang one off the post.
Near the midway point of the middle stanza, the Sharks killed off a Stars power play and avoided a momentum change. No scoring came the remainder of the second and San Jose maintained their three-goal lead through 40 minutes of action.
Four minutes into the third, the Sharks were back on the power play. Dallas’ Smith turned away a Marleau shot on a two-on-one and a Mark Smith follow-up, but a slash on the play put Team Teal up a man. They could not find goal number five though.
With less than ten to go in regulation, Dallas finally closed the gap. A quick release by Niklas Hagman found its way behind Toskala and the lead was down to two.
Things tightened up a bit when Dallas drew a penalty with 3:51 remaining and had a prime chance to close the gap to one. Turco was pulled for the six-on-four advantage, but Toskala and company held firm and closed out the 4-2 victory.
POST GAME QUOTES
On the Win
"Obviously the last couple of games haven't gone our way and it's our own fault. So we just talked about that a little bit. Obviously we came out with a good start and that has been lacking the last six seven games."
"[Turco] has been great against us, we just wanted to get as many shots as we could and crash the net and ultimately that's what the three goals were, just crashing the net and banging away, so that's how you score goals in this league, just get to the net."
After their Last Loss
"The main thing was that we said everybody trusts everybody to do their job and we have to hold each other more accountable."
"We have great players and we have to show it and tonight we showed it."
On the Win
"We got to [Turco] early and first of all, scoring the first goal for the first time in a while was huge for us and allowed us to relax."
"We had a pretty short bench, especially when Parker got hurt. We only had eleven forwards dressed and one goes down so you have ten. But, I was proud of the effort, a lot more focus, guys talking, just paying attention which we haven't been doing."
Goaltender Marty Turco:
"We have to play on the edge and we have to be ready to play. We've been playing well lately, but it's those nights where we are not peaking with the intensity that we should and that comes back to haunt us."
Goaltender Mike Smith:
"It wasn't the best warm-up shot to have their best scorer come in alone on me. I just want to play my role and give the team a chance to win when I go in there."
"When you have a loss like they did last night, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to know they'd come out flying. We're going to learn from this and bounce back for the road trip. We felt good about our game lately and it'll sure help when we get some of our injured guys get back. It's frustrating not being able to put a streak together so we need to have more consistency."
Head Coach Dave Tippett:
"They were scrambling after losing three games after Christmas. We got ourselves behind early and we also were playing our fourth game in six nights and were chasing the game all night. Once we got down, we couldn't drag it back. The goalie change was just a try to change the momentum."
On Stu Barnes leaving the game in the 3rd period:
"'We kept him out for precautionary reasons. He had a stomach issue so we held him out in the third."
Scott Parker hurt his knee early in the game and did not return for the third.
The Sharks will return to HP Pavilion on January 4 against Detroit and a limited number of tickets are available at the HP Pavilion Box Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The 7:30 p.m. PST contest will be aired on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.