First of all, let it be said that the Sharks-Stars tilt in Game 3 should be Exhibit A in the case that proves low-scoring games can be exciting.
The first period had speed and scoring chance after scoring chance, the second period had an eight-minute stretch of uninterrupted fast and furious play, and the third period featured an all-out blitz by the Dallas Stars offense against Sharks stopper Evgeni Nabokov (who was up to the task, including stopping Niklas Hagman’s penalty shot midway through the final frame).
At the other end, especially in the opening 40 minutes, Marty Turco proved and reproved that any playoff demons have long ago been exorcised.
And the overtime…well, who better to snipe the game-winner than grizzled veteran defenseman Mattias Norstrom?
After going goalless in his first 38 career playoff games – and pretty much throughout his 15 years in the NHL; he has all of 18 goals in 903 regular season games – the 36-year-old blueliner has two goals in nine games this post-season.
Plus, he had the class and dignity to put the Sharks out of their misery early, scoring less than five minutes into the extra frame.
•The “San Jose can’t win in the playoffs” bus had been revving up in the parking lot after the Sharks dropped the first two games of the series at home, and now a 3-0 deficit means the backseat drivers will be ready to roll.
The ironic thing is, San Jose played a great game. It’s just that Dallas played an even greater one. (Anyone ready to jump over to the Stars bus with both feet yet? You should be.)
•Speaking of ironic, didn’t the 1980s part of you expect Hagman to score for Dallas on the penalty shot? (Especially with oil prices where they are.) And who knew that Norstrom was the one who shot J.R.? Talk about a dream ending…
•OK, back to the current day. The Stars took over in the third period, aided by an early 5-on-3 power play and Sergei Zubov goal. That marker gave Dallas a 17-5 edge in third period goals in the playoffs. Stats lie, yes, but that is the kind of stat that seduces Stanley into stopping by for the summer.
•The stars of the game? Two Stars, of course, in Turco and the power forward force that is Brenden Morrow (just ask what’s left of Craig Rivet for his thoughts on the subject, assuming he can remember anything after Morrow flattened him, using Rivet’s blueline partner Brian Campbell as the hammer).
And despite the loss, give Nabokov some credit. He was the reason San Jose got to overtime in the first place.
THN.com’s Playoff Blogs, featuring analysis and opinion on the action from the night before, with insight on what happened and what it all means going forward, will appear daily throughout the NHL playoffs. Read more entries HERE.
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