The San Jose Sharks played the first period of their 4-2 loss against Dallas according to the script. They led 1-0 and were playing an extremely physical game, pounding the Stars whenever possible. However, the style did not continue and the Stars prevailed in the end.
“I think we carried the play until the two bad penalties in the second period,” said Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson. “We didn’t give ourselves a chance to kill off the five-on-three. That momentum changed the game. Until that point, we controlled the action.”
For the fans, it was a postseason environment and the Sharks players agreed.
“It was a playoff type atmosphere,” said Joe Thornton
. “It was a nice game to be a part of. There was good hitting and it was fast.”
“It certainly was more like a playoff game,” said Craig Rivet. “Two teams were battling for first place. Tonight we came up short.”
The Sharks won’t be overly concerned with one loss considering how well they’ve been playing overall, but they were disappointed they took a dip from first to second in the Pacific Division.
“It’s tough,” said Thornton. “These are big games. We’ll be in a dog fight until the end of the year with these guys and Anaheim. We’ll think about it for 15 minutes and then move on to tomorrow night.”
San Jose led following the first period, but couldn’t overcome their own one-goal deficit entering the third period.
“We just didn’t have a big enough push in the third,” said Patrick Rissmiller.
“We didn’t have the intensity to get the job done in the third,” said Wilson. “Not enough guys were going to the places to create offense. You have to be willing to be hit. We weren’t willing to pay the price.”
Midway through the first period, Craig Rivet was given a crosschecking, instigator, fighting and a misconduct penalty. His opponent was Steve Ott.
“When the whistle blows, play is supposed to stop,” said Rivet. “When you don’t stop and you’re hitting our best players, we have to stick up for each other. You have to prepare for the type of player he is. Some things need to be taken care of.”
Wilson had no problem with the penalties.
“Steve Ott hit Joe in the back right before,” said Wilson. “It was an aggressive penalty and we killed it off. I can live with the aggressive penalty.”
Steve Bernier delivered a massive hit in the first period that saw Dallas retaliate for a Sharks power play opportunity.
“The main goal is to always eliminate your man from the play,” said Bernier. “After that, some times you can recover the puck.”
3 IN A ROW
Sunday’s 5 p.m. contest against Anaheim marks the first of three games against the Ducks in a seven day time period. The two clubs will also play Thursday and Saturday in San Jose.
“They’re must wins,” said Thornton. “We’ll go to Anaheim to play there and then come back to play two tough games at home. They’re the defending Stanley Cup Champions. We always play them well and they play well against us.”
The Ducks are currently in third place in the Pacific Division, but Sunday likely marks the return of defenseman Scott Niedermayer.
“They’re a team not far behind us,” said Rivet.
Devin Setoguchi scored his eighth goal of the season on the power play and is now tied for third on the Sharks in goals (8). In five games against Dallas, Setoguchi has scored four times.
With an assist on Setoguchi’s goal, Rivet has a three-game point streak (1-13=14) and continues to lead the team’s defensemen in total points.
San Jose’s second tally came with Patrick Rissmiller swept around the net and tossed it to the front of the crease.
“I was just trying to throw it on net,” said Rissmiller. “I got a good bounce.”
As odd as Rissmiller’s goal may have been, the Stars first goal was even luckier. On the play, the puck came from behind the goal line, over the net, to drop just out of Nabokov’s reach on the far side.
“It was a weird bounce,” said Nabokov. “I tried to cover it as soon as possible. The ref probably saw the puck that is why he didn’t blow the whistle. It is one of those fluky goals.”
The 5 p.m. Anaheim contest on Sunday will be carried by FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.