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Turco Silencing Critics as Stars Take Control of Series

 

Game 1 – Dallas Stars 3 – San Jose Sharks 2 (OT)

Game #1 started very slow, but had an exciting finish. Only accounting for two shots in the first period, Dallas looked out of their element. The Sharks were consumed by the defensive trap of the Stars and were having a hard time attacking Marty Turco.

The second frame was a much more enjoyable experience, watching Milan Michalek score a gorgeous goal, 4:50 into the period that was assisted by captain Joe Thornton. The Sharks had a lead on the Stars, who have won 6 of the last 7 games in Shark Tank. The lead was not held that long, since Mike Modano punished San Jose scoring on a Devin Setoguchi penalty less than 2 minutes later. To make things worse for the home team, Brenden Morrow’s hard work paid off, as he gave Dallas the lead 9 minutes into the period.



The fans were wearing their teal and black jerseys and trying their darnest to get the Sharks back into the game. Finally, after a somewhat lackluster effort of breaking the defensive play of the Stars, “the choo-choo train”, Jonathan Cheechoo tied the game up with 3 minutes left until the final horn.

For the first time for both teams, they were heading to overtime.

San Jose did not even manage a shot in the extra frame, and on the third shot for the Stars, Brenden Morrow potted in the game winner at the 4:39 point. The Sharks did not look great in this game as Dallas’ trap sent a message to San Jose, that they are going to have to play better to break an excellent defensive team.

The key factors in this series as stated in our Western Conference Semifinals preview:

  • Patrick Marleau had 3 shots on net with a plus/minus of -1. Brenden Morrow won this battle with his 2 goals, including the game winner in overtime.

  • Both Brian Campbell and Stepane Robidas had an assist and played nearly 28 minutes, canceling each other out.

  • Thornton did have an assist in the game, but did not record a shot on net, having a hard time with the Stars “trap.” Marty Turco finished with a .926 save percentage and only allowed 2 goals.

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Game 2 – Dallas Stars 5 – San Jose Sharks 2

Joe Pavelski finished the game with a goal for the Sharks, but should have also been credited for an assist on Brad Richards’ goal that opened up the flood gates. Pavelski was carrying the puck out of the San Jose zone, when he looked to be hit with a spitted poison dart in the leg. He dropped to the ice and the puck went directly to the stick of Richards who scored 32 seconds into the second period. This was the first of four consecutive goals Dallas put behind Evgeni Nabakov during the frame that led to his pulling, and the entry of Brian Boucher.

The Stars were up 5-2 heading into the third period, but it was their poor discipline that almost let the Sharks back in this game. San Jose had 3 power-plays in the third and Marty Turco did not let one goal on the PK. Dallas stole both games in San Jose, where they have now won for the eighth time in nine attempts.

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Sergei Zubov made his long awaiting return, as he was out for more than 3 months with an injury, and gave his team a huge spark. Niklas Hagman did score two insurance goals in game #2, leading the Stars to this victory and a commanding 2-0 lead in the series. This game was full of penalties with each team only scoring once during the man advantage.

The San Jose defense was no where to be seen in Game #2.

The key factors in this series as stated in our Western Conference Semifinals preview:

  • Patrick Marleau has totaled 5 shots on net with a plus/minus of -3 so far in this series. This is terrible leadership for a team who plans to contend for the cup. Brenden Morrow, on the other hand, shot at Nabakov 7 times, and added an assist. Marleau is very far behind in this match-up.

  • Brian Campbell played over 28 minutes again, with an assist, and has been caught in the rush a few times, almost leading to Dallas goals. Stephane Robidas has seen a cut in ice time, since the return of Zubov, but still managed 3 shots on net. Both Campbell and Robidas are not being the game-breakers I thought they would be, yet.

  • Do I really have to say who is handling the pressure better? Thornton was held off the score sheet, and only has one point and seven shots in these two games, while Turco owns this series. The Stars goalie has made 54 saves of the 58 he has faced.

Dallas leads series 2-0.

 

 

By Kevin Chaves
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer

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