It's late, so of course this recap is going to be brief.
But the number 1 star of the night was clearly Marty Turco. He kept the Stars in it having only allowed two second period goals from Dany Heatley and Ryan Clowe. He shined during the third period, particularly with the game on the line after a late Mike Modano slashing penalty put the Stars a man down.
But he saved his best stop of the game for the second round of the shootout. Dan Boyle executed a series of splendid dekes to get Turco out of position. Or so Boyle thought. When he went to backhand the puck and tuck it inside the near post and Turco, the Stars' netminder flopped onto his back and with a last minute desperation move, kept the puck out with his glove hand.
And after Ryan Vesce had made it five consecutive shooters from both teams to not dent the twine, Stephane Robidas finally notched the first shootout win of the season for the Stars with an absolutely sick snapshot over Evgeni Nabokov's left shoulder into the top corner of the net.
Other quick thoughts:
- Once again, why doesn't the league use replay to correct mistakes on high sticking penalties? In the second period, they whistled Steve Ott off even though replays never conclusively showed he high sticked. Then in the third, Joe Pavelski was victimized when officials called him for high sticking James Neal, even though it was obvious that the Real Deal was the victim of some friendly fire from the stick blade of Nicklas Grossman.
The Sharks were able to take advantage of that phony call on Ott. But fortunately for the refs, the Stars weren't able to do anything with that late power play off the flat out bogus call on Joe Pavelski.
- "Crankshaft" appears to be a very appropriate nickname for San Jose's Douglas Murray.
- No doubt James Neal had a very strong game tonight for the Stars. And when he tries to take games by the bull horns like he did tonight, the Stars will be successful more nights than not.
But dare I suggest that if he continues to get chances in the shootout that he find another move since the one he has, while effective at beating goaltenders, keeps ringing the post?
- Speaking of Neal, I thought it was somewhat fitting that his goal canceled out the fluky goal that Ryan Clowe scored. And it continued to be fitting when Mike Modano's blast canceled out Dany Heatley's snipe from close range.
- Sure, San Jose deserved that 2-0 lead by virtue of their domination of the middle frame. But the first period was evenly played and the Stars dominated much of the third period and deserved to have this contest tied at 2-2 going into OT.
- About that ugly 1 for 34 against San Jose's penalty kill dating back to last season. Yeah, might want to get that one sorted out at some point during the season series, Stars.
Not like they weren't getting chances. But like Razor mentioned, when they did get chances on the man advantage, those chances fizzled into nothing without Nabokov having to do much to thwart them.
At the very least, I want the Sharks' best penalty killer to actually be the best penalty killer if the Stars are to not score on the man advantage. That rarely happened last year. Or tonight for that matter.
- Remember that point I made to Sevy two weeks ago about how good a job fighting does to bring closure to issues on the ice? Exhibit A from tonight's game certainly has to be Krys Barch's fight with Brad Staubitz.The Sharks' tough guy came in a little too late for the Stars' liking on Tom Wandell.
Barch challenged him to a round of fisticuffs, they settled right then and there. And you didn't hear another word about that hit for the rest of the game.
- There's a part of me that actually feels sorry for San Jose. Because no matter what they accomplish during the regular season this year, nobody in the hockey world outside of San Jose will give a damn until about the Sharks until they at least advance to the Western Conference Finals. And for some, that might not even be enough.