The San Jose Sharks scored four unanswered goals between the second and third periods as team teal went on to a 5-2 victory over the Dallas Stars. The Sharks in doing so swept the two game home and home set with one of their heated divisional rivals that commenced this past Saturday Night (with a 3-0 Sharks win over the Stars at The Shark Tank). With the victory team teals keeps possession of the 8th and final playoff seed in the Western Conference. Meanwhile team teal also deals a heavy blow to the post season hopes of the Dallas Stars who now trail the Sharks by three points in the overall conference standings while remaining in the ninth spot.
TJ Galiardi got the Sharks back into the game with a game tying goal just 32 seconds after Dallas’ Jamie Benn had put the Stars ahead over halfway into the second period. Logan Couture would later score a power play goal towards the end of the period that gave team teal a lead they would not relinquish. In the final period Sharks Captain Joe Thornton and Ryane Clowe added goals to put the game out of reach. Antti Niemi did well in net, though at times was maybe a little rocky as the defense had some problems clearing out pucks at various times thoughout the game. With the two victories over Dallas, the Sharks now shift their sights towards a regular season closing home and home series with the instate rival Los Angeles Kings, who sit atop the Pacific Division Standings by a point ahead of team teal (93-92).
Recaping The Sharks Texas Two-Step:
A Different Beginning- The Stars would start the game by getting a lot of pucks towards Antii Niemi who had to be on the ball early and was. Niemi ate up all early pucks which came his way, encluding some solid shots on goal from Vernon Fiddler, Michael Ryder and Philip Larson. The Stars overall would put 12 shots on Niemi, but just as in three periods in San Jose this past Saturday Night, none of their shots on goal got past Niemi. Meanhwhile Niemi’s counterpart Kari Lehtonen would not see that much action as the Stars defense early was able to slow up the Sharks, though never truly stopping them. A point blank shot by Pavelski, who scored in the same situation Saturday Night at the Tank, would not get the better of the exchance here as this time Lehtonen made the save.
With 7:51 remaining in the opening period, Daniel Winnik took the rebound of a hard slap shot from Brent Burns. Lehtonen made the save on Burns shot but did not have control of the puck as it bounced towards Winnik. From there it was Winnik who was able to knock the rubber biscuit over the Stars’ goalies shoulders and on into the net to give the Sharks the lead. The Sharks would hold onto this lead until Brendon Morrow with the puck burried deep in the Sharks defensive zone would steal it from Couture. Morrow then would skate over to a point to where he was able to get a clean backhanded shot that hit Niemi’s stick and went into the net to tie the game. As the first period was drawing near the end, the Sharks would be assessed for two penalties as Colin White was called for interference while just a moment later Burns would get two minutes for hooking. The Stars would wrap up the first period with a carryover of 38 seconds of a huge two man advantage to start the next period.
Standing Up To Adversity- Team teal would have their hands full early as the first order of business was to kill off the Stars two man advantage. However the Sharks took advantage of the break afforded them by the intermission and came out with a mission in mind to start the period. Durring the Dallas’ two man advantage, Niemi would see no official shots on goal from the Stars. Sheldon Souray and Ryder would get two shots on Niemi before Burns’ penalty ended. Later in the period, Martin Havlet put on a move to challenge Lehtonen who was on top of the play and turned away the Sharks sharp shooter at the crease. Later in the period the Stars would take advantage of a Sharks team that found themselves trapped on their defensive side of the ice. Jamie Benn would have control of the puck as he was looking for the right opportunity to shoot or pass while circling the Sharks zone. Benn would pass the puck from near the Sharks net over to Alex Goligoski who was wide open at the point. As the rubber biscuit got close to Goligosky, he then in return drilled it into the net past Niemi giving Dallas a 2-1 lead over team teal.
The Sharks now had the challenge to respond to adversity and did not waste time with their response. On the very next shift with the Sharks in control of the puck behind the Stars goal, Dominic Moore was able get a feed pass off to on rushing Galardi who “roofed” the puck over Lehtonen to tie the game just 32 seconds after Dallas had taken the lead. Team teal who durring the season had difficulty responding in situations this season after falling behind by a goal this time did not panic and continued to hammer away in the Stars zone which lead to the quick payoff and equalizer.
Ending A Slump - Late in the second period team teal would get another break as the Stars’ Ryder would be shown the penalty box for tripping. The Sharks here would need just 27 seconds of the two minute advantage as Havlet drilled a feed pass towards the slot where Couture was waiting and used his stick to redirect the puck past Lehtonen. The goal was Couture’s first tally in 11 games and 31st of the season came at a time where the Sharks to date needed it the most. This gave the Sharks a 3-2 lead that they would carry into the third period.
Four Minute Warning- The third period early on would be a test for the Sharks as they would get chances to add to their lead. However as the period went on, protecting a one goal lead was going to be as equally difficult. The Sharks did get a huge break when Mark Fistric drew the high sticking penalty on Thornton who ended up being cut with Fistric’s stick. Durring the four minute man advantage team teal had serveral good looks however could get thing past Lehtonen who was outstaning in the Stars penalty kill which kept them in the game. Meanwhile the Stars kept Niemi busy as well on the other end of the ice. Niemi was equally solid in the clutch making 10 more saves, including a point blank attempt by the Star’s Benn off a Dallas breakway.
The Sharks would soon increase their lead late in the contest when Thornton was able to drill the puck past Lehtonen after taking a corner feed pass from Patrick Marleau with 4:50 remaining. Ryane Clowe would add an empty net goal with seconds remaining to end any slight hope of a Stars rally. The Sharks secured the win and now head off for a what is in essense the real beginning of the playoffs. It acutally just started with these two games vs Dallas and will carry onto L A Thursday Night.
Game Analisys- These two games against the Dallas Stars were not only crucial, they were playoff games in their own right. The Sharks did have some early stuggles in the game which you can attribute to nevers when you consder what is at stake. The Sharks got points from 13 different players tonight. All the lines and units were on the same page. Despite giving up one bad goal, Niemi still finished this game strong. This is what is going to be required going up against the Kings. The Sharks have had the Stars number this year and to get past Dallas is now off of the check list, it’s done. The Sharks for the most part have been a very shaky group at times, so this is no done deal yet. The Kings have had a renaissance this season and I’m sure remember what happened in the post season last year. The Sharks will need their “A-Game” to this series, it’s good bet the Kings will bring their best games to…
GO SHARKS!!! TWO GAMES VS LA NEXT, PLAYOFFS START NOW!!!
The King Shark
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