Backup Goalie Dominates Sharks- The San Jose Sharks once again demonstrated Saturday Night in Dallas comebacks generally are not their thing. After falling behind two goals in the first five minutes of the game, the Sharks once again found themselves playing catch up. Once again despite their best efforts the only thing team teal came away with was another confounding regulation loss. Richard Bachman made 31 saves in net to support early goals from Eric Nystrom and rookie Alex Chiasson as the Stars beat the Sharks for the third time this season 2-1. The Stars were dominant from the opening faceoff and had no problems challenging the Sharks for the puck in the first moments of the game. Nystrom’s goal was drilled past Niemi just 1:57 into the opening period. After Chaisson’s goal at the 5:03 mark during a power play, the Sharks spent the rest of the first period skating in circles despite later scoring opportunities.
Early Issues- Nystrom’s goal came as former Shark Ray Whitney was able to pass the puck to him from behind the Dallas blue line. Nystrom just carried the puck up ice while three Sharks not named Niemi failed to pick him up. Nystrom’s wrister was good enough to beat Niemi to his left. If Niemi gets over even a few inches to his right, he most likely makes the save. The Sharks then got themselves in immediate penalty trouble when Adam Burish was called for boarding. The Sharks successfully killed that penalty. Just a moment later, Raffi Torres would go to the penalty box for a questionable interference call. The Sharks penalty kill for one of the few times this season would get schooled when the Stars maintained complete control of the puck during this second opportunity. With 22 seconds gone in the power play time, Whitney drilled a slap shot that got tip away from Niemi and into the net by Chaisson. The Stars were up two goals and were in complete control of the game. The Sharks would start to push the Stars as the period wore on. Joe Thornton and Logan Couture has a couple of good scoring chances that Bachman turned away. This would only be the beginning of what would be a very long and tough evening for team teal.
Bachman Stars- Despite pushing the play in the second and third periods the Sharks would only find themselves in for one of their most frustrating nights of the season. After racking up 12 saves in the opening period, Bachman would deny the Sharks on net 19 more times over the last two periods. The Sharks did have ample opportunities to get on the board through the middle of period and just were not able to get it done. With 9:04 left in the middle period Brad Stuart had a shot on goal that got deflected towards Logan Couture who was not able to get the rubber biscuit past Bachman despite his odd angle shot. Bachman’s best save of the period and perhaps of the game came when he denied both Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski at the doorstep. Niemi meanwhile was doing his part in trying keep the Sharks in the game as he made eight saves in the first period and 11 more over the final two periods. His best save of the night came early in the third period after he stopped a point blank shot on goal by the Stars’ Ryan Garbutt off of a Sharks turnover by Dan Boyle.
Too Little Too Late- The Sharks finally broke through in the third period as Brent Burns put in the rebound of a Scott Gomez shot during a power play opportunity with 14:04 remaining in the game. The Sharks had hope at 2-1 however this would be as close as they would get despite heavily outshooting the Stars 13-5 in the final frame. Bachman was just stellar for the evening as he smothered all team teal scoring chances and opportunities. The game would end with the Sharks getting a couple of ill timed penalties with just seconds remaining when Burns was called for interference. Andrew Desjardens would also get called for unsportsmanlike conduct. After the final horn, there were tempers fairing out. The Sharks and Stars started exchanging unpleasantries as they both left the ice. Sharks Captain Thornton on a post game interview summed up then day for the Sharks by stating, ” Our work ethic was there. We had the chances. It was just one of those nights where you probably should have gotten the two (points) but just didn’t.” **
Shark Bytes- The Three Stars of the Game: 3) Joe Pavelski-SJS; 2) Eric Nystrom-DAL; and 1) Richard Bachman-DAL. The Stars 3-0-0 versus Sharks this season, and have won five consecutive games overall. The two teams meet one more time on April 25th at the Shark Tank, a game that could very well be a must game for both the Sharks and the Stars. The Sharks will remain in 5th place in the Western Conference Standings despite the regulation loss, however the Stars enter the playoff picture with 45 points and will be in 8th place, one point past Detroit (who falls to 9th place, below the cut off line for the post season). The Sharks ECHL affiliate San Francisco Bulls inaugural season ended tonight as the lost Game 5 of the Western Conference playoff series to the Alaska Aces. The Aces won the series 4 games to 1.
Next Sharks Game- Monday Night April 15th in Glendale, Arizona versus the Phoenix Coyotes. This will be the Sharks first of two trips to the Valley of the Sun. The Sharks have won two of three versus the Coyotes this season and have five of a possible six points available in the three meetings. Puck drop in the desert will be 7pm PT (MST).
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