Stars-Sharks: San Jose Clinches Home-Ice Advantage With 3-2 OT Win

Gorman JonesCorrespondent IMarch 28, 2008

In a game in which the Sharks never had the lead, an overtime tally secured home ice advantage throughout the playoffs. The come from behind win was sealed by a Patrick Marleau redirect goal made possible by a pretty feed from Joe Thornton.

During a listless first period the Sharks fell behind 1-0 on a Brenden Morrow even strength goal shortly after the Sharks had successfully killed off a questionable Christian Ehrhoff crosschecking penalty.

Although Dallas has the best PK in the league the Sharks would tie the score on a Joe Pavelski power play goal with assists by Craig Rivet and Patrick Marleau. The goal, Pavelski’s 18th is a career season personal best. The assist for Rivet brings his season points total to 35, a career high for him.

While already short handed, the Sharks took a lack of concentration, too many men on the ice penalty. With quick puck movement on the resulting 5 on 3 PP, Dallas converted on a Jere Lehtinen shot.

Milan Michalek and Devin Setoguchi were both skating hard and getting chances but could not convert. Setoguchi even had a breakaway created by his exiting the penalty box at mid ice. The Sharks need both of these guys to get off the schneid BEFORE the playoffs begin. As a team you do not want to have slumping young players heading into the post season.

The Sharks would even the score when Mike Grier drew two defenders to him and he made a sweet no look pass to red-hot Joe Thornton who scored his fifth goal in six games. Regulation would end with the game knotted at two.

During the overtime Dallas Stars Marty Turco showed his complete lack of class when he struck Pavelski in the face with his stick. I am all for aggressive play but why is it that a goalie can pop a guy in the face with their larger size stick and get only a two-minute penalty? If that is not intent to injure, I mean he had to purposefully lift his stick up head high and he was looking right at Pavelski, then I don’t know what is. The league should take disciplinary action, as it should not be tolerated. During the resulting 4 on 3 Dallas took another penalty when Trevor Daley was called for hooking. As the rules require the Sharks then put another player back on the ice instead of taking one player off for Dallas. During the 5 on 3 Thornton made on of his textbook crisp hard passes to a well- positioned Marleau, who deflected it passed the classless Turco.

Dallas looked good on the PK but seemed to lack any real energy. They certainly miss all- star defenseman Sergie Zubov who is out of the lineup. Dallas does not appear to be the Dallas of old. And what is up with taking the C from Madano? Seems like a strange way to try and improve your team.

At first the Sharks matched the low energy of the Stars but found a way to ramp it up. Good hits by Jody Shelley and a solid three-period plus performance by Evgeni Nabokov led the energy surge. Good scoring chances by Setaguchi and Michalek pitched in as well. Nabokov was especially poised in the overtime stopping the dangerous Mike Madano up close.

With this win the Sharks extended their consecutive game points streak to 17. They are showing that they have learned how to win games by overcoming adversity and by never giving up, which is a departure from seasons past. Fans like me can feel the energy and the excitement building. Joe Thornton is having a blast on the ice and it shows. This kind of energy and enthusiasm is contagious and is precisely what they need to bring into tonight’s important showdown with the Ducks. This energy needs to be carried further into the post season to make a legitimate run at the cup. The Sharks have the elements, now they need to execute.