There was much disappointment tonight as we filed out of the AAC. Unlike 24 hours earlier, when no one left there seats until Marty was the last one off the ice ... and people were waving their rally towels going down I-35! Tonight was filled with mostly silence, aside from the few Sharks' fans receiving a beating from some irate STARS' fans! (just kidding!) The sad thing is that nobody was worried about the loss ... we simply wanted to celebrate another series win on home ice. But for the Dallas players, that could just as easily happen Friday night on their home ice in San Jose!
No, there is certainly no need to panic ... a 2-1 win by a desperate Sharks' team is hardly worth being concerned about. Both teams played very well tonight, and Turco and Nabokov were unbelievable. The shot totals do not come close to telling the story. I'm not sure what the scoring chances ended up, but there many on each end. Once again, Morrow-Ribeiro-Lehtinen spent the bulk of their ice time in San Jose's zone. Once again, they scored a goal ... thanks to a beautiful centering pass by Setoguchi, right to the tape of Jere Lehtinen! Overall, the STARS seemed a bit tired and they simply could not connect on another goal. They were also without the services of Stu Barnes tonight, which probably hurt them in a much larger way than anyone would think.
The Sharks weren't nearly as physical tonight but they took advantage of Dallas' mistakes. In what seemed to be an instant replay from last night's game, Marleau took a Zubov turnover and beat Turco again on a shorthanded breakaway. San Jose did come out guns-a-blazing in the 3rd period. They apparently decided that they would give everything they had, and if it was not good enough, then it was not to be. That led to an early power play in which Joe Thornton had way too much time with the puck. He was able to send a sweet pass to Michalek for the (eventual) game-winning goal. At least for tonight, that was enough to win.
The STARS remain firmly ensconced in the driver's seat but it still takes 4 W's to win a series. Home ice is in no way a factor come Friday, since Dallas is quite comfortable at the HP Pavilion. The STARS have not won 7 games because of luck ... they have worked hard for it. Nor is a one-goal defeat enough to take away any confidence or belief in what got them to this place. Again, they have earned the right to be in the position they are in ... now it is time to seal the deal and get ready for Detroit. I can party at home with friends just as easily as I can at the AAC! Besides -- what better gift could my wife and I receive for our 30th birthday bash!
Friday night is handshake night ... STARS finish it with 5-1 win!