San Jose looked to improve on their five-game winning streak as they concluded their most recent road trip in Dallas against the Pacific Division rival Stars, but Marty Turco was in the way for his third career shutout against the Sharks as he earned his 150th career victory. Evgeni Nabokov was the opposite netminder for Team Teal on the night, but he was done in by a brilliant power play tally and the Sharks inability to come up with a power play of their own.
The expected tight defensive battle between the perennial rivals began with no goal and minimal scoring opportunities presenting themselves through the first seven minutes.
That would quickly change when a hooking penalty put the Stars on their first power play of the night. Sharks nemesis Mike Modano took a pass from Brian Boucher and one-timed it to the back of the net before Nabokov could slide over.
Rookie Joe Pavelski
had the Sharks top chance of the period, but he was rebuffed by Turco late in the stanza.
Dallas would make the 1-0 lead hold up after 20 minutes and looked to add to their 8-1 regular season mark when leading after one period.
Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson looked to jump-start the offense in the second by putting Joe Thornton
and Patrick Marleau
on the same line for a bit.
When John Klemm was whistled for boarding near the game’s midway point, it provided the Sharks with their second power play of the game. The league’s most dangerous unit while up a man could not create the tying tally though despite a close opportunity from Steve Bernier.
The clubs exchanged late power plays in the second, but the score remained the same, which was not surprising considering the shot total was just 13-9 in favor of San Jose after 40 minutes. Dallas would be forced to play the final 20 minutes minus Modano, who left with a lower body injury.
Turco was terrific when he needed to be in the third as he first highjacked Ville Nieminen and then Marleau of a first Sharks goal.
With seven minutes left in regulation, Jonathan Cheechoo put a shot on Turco that forced the on-ice referee to go to the video goal judge, but the ruling stood and the Stars one-goal lead was in tact.
Pavelski, the rookie hero from the other night in Detroit, almost came through again after Nabokov was pulled for the extra attacker. The Wisconsin native jumped on a Brian Boucher turnover and a lucky stab by Turco prevented the Sharks goal.
A Turco penalty with 48 second remaining gave San Jose a six-on-four skating advantage in the closing moments. Milan Michalek shot one just wide, Bernier tipped one that was stopped and then, on the final push, Sergei Zubov was able to clear the puck and preserve the victory.
25 Sharks shots, including 12 in the third, were turned away by Turco who ended the Sharks five-game winning streak.
The Sharks did not play their best contest of the season, but they put the credit where it belonged after the contest.
"We had our chances, we had a few missed shots and Turco played unbelievably for them," said Kyle McLaren. "We had our chance, we just didn't bury them. There are a lot of positives we can take out of tonight."
Cheechoo echoed those comments.
"I thought we came out well and limited their chances," said the Moose Factory native. "Turco was stopping the first shot and we weren't doing a good job getting to the second puck and putting another shot on net. He was able to make some saves and their defense cleared it."
The Sharks will return to the friendly confines of HP Pavilion Thursday night to host the Colorado Avalanche. A limited number of tickets are available through the HP Pavilion Box Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The contest will be carried on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.