Last season, it was the Dallas Stars who hammered home the final nail in the coffin of the Sharks' season with a quadruple OT win in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinal series between these two rivals.
Today, the Sharks may have very well returned the favor as five different players scored goals for San Jose in a 5-2 win over Dallas.
The Stars, who have had plenty of success in San Jose over the years, got the start they wanted as they applied plenty of pressure on Evgeni Nabakov and the San Jose defense. That pressure paid off when Loui Eriksson caught Rob Blake flat footed, then carried the puck around the net and whipped it in under the stick of the late arriving Nabakov to give Dallas a 1-0 lead.
But the game turned on the first power play of the game. 37 seconds after Stephane Robidas was whistled off for hooking, Joe Thornton tied the contest on his 34th goal of the season. 29 seconds later, the Sharks had the lead for good as Devin Setoguchi poked him a rebound to the right of Marty Turco that the Stars netminder thought he had covered.
Dallas couldn't mount much of an offensive attack in the second period and after the Stars were whistled for a questionable icing call at the 14:14 mark, the Sharks broke the game open in the next 22 seconds.
First, they took advantage of a horrible decision by Trevor Daley, who tried to clear the puck off the faceoff but wound up kicking it right over to Joe Pavelski, who wristed a shot from point blank range past Turco and into the net. 19 seconds later, Michalek took advantage of a broken play from 11 feet out and slapped another past Turco to make it 4-1 in favor of the hometown Sharks.
Stephane Robidas was able to score through a crowd 5:17 into the third, but Dallas couldn't do much with whatever momentum was gained from that goal and the Sharks salted it away with a minute left on a Patrick Marleau goal.
And as you already know from the post Brandon threw up (afterwards, he probably threw up) linking to Mike Heika's blog post on Dallasnews.com, Brad Richards broke his left hand with about 10 minutes left in the third.
You know the Hockey Gods are trying to tell you something when they smite a team player like B-Rich, who came back early from breaking his right wrist 33 days ago against Columbus.
Gravypan's Three Stars of the Game:
3. Joe Thornton, SJ - His Power Play Goal killed whatever momentum the Stars had generated up to that point in the first.
2. Devin Setoguchi, SJ - Had energy and intensity all game long in picking up a goal moments after Thornton's PPG and had an assist on the goal that broke the game open at 4-1.
1. Joe Pavelski, SJ - The former Badger was the victim of a highly questionable intent to injure penalty the last time these two teams met earlier in the month. He kept himself out of trouble in this one in picking up two assists and, as mentioned, was Johnny on the Spot when Trevor Daley turned the puck over off a faceoff and scored on a 30 foot wrist shot to start another scoring spree for the Sharks in the second.