Monday, April 28, 2008

Richards helps fill the net in the tank

Those General Managers (those that are still employed) that took a pass on Brad Richards at the trade deadline discovered the value of the Dallas winger on Sunday night.

Richards proved to be one man too many for the San Jose Sharks as he collected four points in the final period, leading the Stars to a 5-2 victory over the Sharks and taking both home dates from the genial hosts.

The game started with an ominous beginning for the Stars, who seemed to have troubles early on getting into gear, frequently allowing the Sharks to pepper Marty Turco with shots, two of which found the mark by the end of the second period.

Heading into period three the Sharks were holding a 2-1 lead and should have been able to shut down the Stars to even up the series. But, Richards had other plans as he turned up the speed and pressure on the Sharks defence in the first minute of the third, tying the game up at the 22 second mark.

Shortly after that he assisted on three consecutive Stars goals, making for a four point day and a commanding lead in the series for his Star team mates. Richards output set a new team record for the Stars, who are finally beginning to see what much of the noise about the six foot centre was prior to trade day.

The Sharks for their part looked very ordinary in the third period, unable to summon up much of a comeback and mired in that uncomfortable feeling on a bench when you know something is slipping away, Evgeni Nabakov was lifted from the nets after the fourth goal, heading straight to the dressing room rather than taking a place on the bench.

His play rather symbolic of the complete meltdown of the Sharks in the third, goals were easy to score for the Stars, offence difficult to generate for the Sharks. With game three looming as the pivotal match of the series, the Sharks look very unprepared to mount a challenge against the Stars.

On a day when they needed the best game that they could pull out of the dressing room, San Jose instead wilted in the heat of the Stars attack. There was blood in the water at the Shark tank on Sunday, and the Stars know that they can put the Sharks one more step to expiration in game three.

The first twenty minutes of Tuesday’s game will tell much of the story for San Jose’s hopes for a serious run for the Stanley cup this year. Of those first twenty minutes go the way of the last twenty of Sunday; this series is for all intents and purposes done.

San Francisco Chronicle-- GRAND COLLAPSE
. Stats Pack

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