Bay Area Sports Fan!

A blog for a Bay Area Sports Fan

Sharks Vs Stars – Live Blog From The Tank

Posted by davefowkes on 03/03/2009

The Sharks return home from a 4 game road trip to play the Dallas Stars tonight. The Sharks went 2-2 on the road trip including a 1-0 win in Dallas to open the trip. The Sharks enter the night tied with Boston for the NHL lead in points and three points better than Detroit. But the Sharks have injury issue. Mike Grier (knee) and Jeremy Roenick (shoulder) are out indefinitely. Brian Boucher will make his third start in a row for Evgeni Nabokov who is out recovering from the flu (or so it is being reported). Claude Lemieux joins them on the bench as a healthy scratch.The last time the Sharks were home between those long road trips, they swept the three game homestand.

Dallas has really struggled. They are coming off a 1-5 homestand. It is the first time they have lost five straight home games since 1978. With 65 points the Stars are now in 11th place in the western conference but that is only 2 points less than 7th place. It is shapping up to be a wild stretch run for those final playoffs spots in the west.

As they experiments continue, I will be back in this blog space with constant updates through the game. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments if you are watching at home:

First Period:

14:40: Welcome back to the big leagues Brad Staubitz! An eventful start for the rookie just called up as an injury replacement. On his first shift with the 4th line, Staubitz drew a holding penalty. Sharks did a nice job killing the penalty giving up two shots. Stars had a couple of nice looks but could not find the net. After the penalty was over Staubitz came out and got in a fight with Krystofer Barch. We gave Staubitz the win but not by much.

13:25: Stars strike first. James Neal had an open net on a rebound from a shot from Brian Sutherby. Boucher did a great job trying to stop it but the defensive breakdown in front of him left too many Stars to cover it all. Stars are up 1-0. It is the 4th straight game the Sharks have allowed the first goal to their opponent.

10:53: That is the way you respond! The Stars take a penalty, the Sharks cash in! Just when we were complaining about how the Sharks would not take a shot, they put together a great play. A nice pass from Setoguchi to Ehrhoff on the side who took the shot that Thornton deflected right in front of the net. Tough to tell whether Ehrhoff was actually shooting or passing to Thornton. Very timely though. Stars game to play. They are out shooting the Sharks 8-3.

5:27: It is getting ugly for the Sharks now. They would really be a much better team if they did not take all these penalties. 4-minute penalties to each side and now Plihal goes to the box for holding. Another kill for the Sharks now.

8: WOW! The rivalry is heating up. Joe Pavelski has just been tossed with a 5-minute “attempt to injure” penalty and a game misconduct.  Daryl Sydor got a two minute penalty so in the second period the Stars will have a 3-minute power play. Pavelski has been in the midst of a few scrums and has really turned up the heat on this game.

End of 1st: The Stars are clearly the desperate team. The Sharks looked good in the first shift of the game. Since then it has been just about all Dallas except for the tying goal. The Stars have more jump and have been more aggressive causing the Sharks to skate on their heels and take penalties. It is clear the team that has lost 5 straight is playing for their playoff lives and the Sharks well, they already have their playoff reservations. The Stars are out shooting San Jose 13-5 and the last two shots for the Sharks came in the final couple of minutes. They’ll need better effort and a few more shots in the next two periods.

2nd Period:

We are still trying to figure out what Pavelski did to get tossed. It looked like the every day punching that always goes on. It should have been a 2-minute roughing or maybe a double minor on the roughing. The game misconduct is a bad call unless something happened that we did not see.

Sharks had a great opportunity when Marleau redirected a shot through is legs, but Turco made a diving stop!

17:33: From bad to worse. Already down a man for three minutes, Rob Blake takes a cross check. This is 5-3 for two full minutes. Huge time in this game!

13:55: Killing a 5-3 for a full two minutes is tough. It looked good for a bit and the crowd was into it, but that was a great pass from Ribeiro to Mike Modano who was dead on with the one-timer. All you can do is tip your cap to them on that play.  Still, only being down 2-1 at this point the Sharks should feel lucky. And just like that the Stars take a penalty. Hopefully the Sharks can get this one back. And maybe THEY CAN STAY OUT OF THE BOX!!!!

5:41: Sharks are still lucky to be down only one. They are taking stupid penalties and basically just not playing well. Give the Stars credit for not fighting back at some of the Sharks who are sniping at them. The referees though appear to be calling this pretty one sided against the Sharks. Some of these calls may be by the book, but calls that only get made once a month or so. The call on Shelly? Very questionable. That said, the last couple of minutes the Sharks have been throwing their bodies around legally! So maybe the wake up call has finally been heard?

End of two: Shots were 9-9 that period. A nice comeback in energy for the Sharks the final 7 minutes or so of that period. They are picking it up a bit. That said, the first half of the period was so lopsided, I am still saying San Jose is lucky to be down just one goal. Without Pavelski, Todd McLellan has Thornton center between Ryan Clowe and Milan Michalek and Marleau centering between Jonathan Cheechoo and Setoguchi. The Sharks are on the power play for the first 36 seconds of the 3rd period. A goal would of course be great, but just keeping up the effort and energy and staying out of the penalty box should be enough for them to climb back into this.

The Red Wings beat the Blues 5-0 cutting the Sharks lead in the Western Conference to just one point at the moment.

Third Period:

13:28: That should do it. Sharks looked good the first minute and a half of this period but then went flat. The game as a whole went a bit flat. But then Dallas turned up the heat in the offensive zone and used tremendous pressure to create a backhanded shot for Brian Sutherby for the 3-1 lead. Man things got quiet in here! Normally I would say the Sharks can score two goals in 13 minutes, but I have not seen anything tonight to make me think this is the game they can do it.

10:45: Sharks are unraveling? Setoguchi turns it over, nice pass from Modano, great shot by Neal! 4-1. Sharks go on the power play but this one definitely feels over to me!

END OF GAME: That was clearly not the Sharks best effort. Very disappointing to have them come back from the road trip and play like this. Give the Stars credit, they are a desperate team and they played like it. The Sharks will need that type of effort in the playoffs. We may see some more games like this in the next couple of weeks. The Sharks need to get back to shooting the puck more and staying out of the penalty box. The cheap penalties are just killing them and the momentum. 4-1 final. Worst home loss of the year. (not that there have been many)

At some point tonight I will post the audio from the locker room for anyone interested in raw audio.

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