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Sharks end drought

San Jose finally solves Belfour and wins Game 3

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Posted: Wednesday May 03, 2000 03:34 PM

  Mike Modano Mike Modano sends it past San Jose's Steve Shields in the first period. AP

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- The San Jose Sharks got to Ed Belfour just enough to get back in their playoff series with the Dallas Stars.

Ending a 171-minute, 28-second scoring drought that included consecutive shutouts by the Dallas goalie in the first two games of the series, the Sharks broke through for goals by Owen Nolan and Mike Ricci and beat the Stars 2-1 Tuesday night.

The Sharks trail the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series 2-1 with Game 4 set for Friday night.

"We've cut it in half but we have a lot of work to do yet on Friday," Ricci said.

San Jose goalie Steve Shields made his team's sudden offense stand up by stopping 30 shots, including several clutch saves in the final period. Dallas pulled Belfour in the final minute for an extra attacker but Shields smothered Kirk Muller's wraparound attempt with 30 seconds left and Dallas failed to register another shot. Analysis
Darren Eliot
It's the stuff of legends - hobbled captain returns to inspire his team. Owen Nolan did much more than provide an inspirational boost by his mere presence. He battled. He crashed the crease. And he scored the game-winning goal.

Sure, the Sharks played a great all-around game, complete with goaltender Steve Shields making several spectacular saves and youngsters Alex Korolyuk and Patrick Marleau looking more confident with each shift. Veterans Mike Ricci and Jeff Friesen were likewise prominent, Ricci with his grit and Friesen with his speed.

Actually, the team speed of the Sharks' was much more prevalent in Game 3 - especially on the wings on the rush. That outside speed backed off the Stars' defense, rendering their size advantage less of a factor. All of which was necessary to get the Sharks back into the series. None more so than a memorable playoff performance from Owen Nolan - playing and delivering despite the pain.

"In that final minute, I was having fun," Shields said. "I wasn't nervous. I'm usually more nervous when the games start. I knew they were going to attack me. All I had to do was defend."

San Jose finally got its first goal at 5:42 of the second period and it took a 5-on-3 power play to do it. With Blake Sloan and Aaron Gavey in the penalty box, Gary Suter got off a shot from the top of the slot and Ricci, positioned in front of the net, used the shaft of his stick to redirect it past Belfour before he could adjust.

"The first goal lifted us," said San Jose defenseman Jeff Norton. "It was big. Our doubts were over. That one got us going. We haven't lost our confidence. We just needed a wakeup call."

Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock thought Ricci got away with obstructing Belfour in the crease.

"I didn't agree with some of the calls," Hitchcock said. "I thought Ricci's goal should not have been counted. It was goaltender interference."

Belfour said it was a close call that happened to go the Sharks way.

"He was in front of me and he backed into me but there's nothing you can do about it," he said. "Sometimes the referees see it a little bit differently and you have to give them the benefit of the doubt."

It was the first goal scored on Belfour since early in the third period of Game 5 in Dallas' first-round victory over Edmonton, a span of 164:35.

It also marked San Jose's first playoff score since Jeff Friesen's goal at 14:14 of the second period in the Sharks' Game 7 victory at St. Louis, when they completed their first-round upset of the top-seeded Blues.

Nolan, San Jose's leading scorer who sat out Game 2 at Dallas because of foot and shoulder injuries, came back to score his seventh postseason goal at 14:56 of the second, putting the Sharks in front.

Bryan Marchment started the rush in the San Jose zone, got the puck out on the wing to Vincent Damphousse, who shot a lead pass out to the streaking Nolan. He just managed to take a poke at the puck as it slid across the slot and directed it into the corner of the net past the startled Belfour.

"Our game plan was to get more shots and rebounds tonight," said Nolan, who didn't decide to play until after the pregame warmups. "I just started to drive to the net and push the puck there."

A San Jose turnover near the red line gave the Stars a short-handed breakaway in the final seconds of the second period but Mike Modano's shot from up close was stopped by Shields.

"That was a killer," Modano said. "It would have been great going into the third period tied 2-2."

Modano said all the Stars were hurt by the number of penalties in the second period.

"We were very undisciplined. When you spend 10 minutes in the penalty box, it comes back at you," he said. "You give them enough penalties and they're going to find some spots."

Dallas opened the scoring on the power play as Modano scored his fifth goal of the playoffs and third of the series. Shields deflected a shot by Brett Hull but the puck came out to Modano at the bottom of the faceoff circle and he wristed a shot past Shields 3:35 into the game.

San Jose had some early chances, outshooting the Stars 12-8 in the first, but was frustrated by Belfour. At one point, Friesen shook loose on a breakaway but Belfour came out to the top of the crease and smothered the shot just as Friesen's stick met the puck.

Belfour had another great stop with about eight minutes left in the period. The Sharks got the puck to Todd Harvey alone in the slot but Belfour dropped to his knees in anticipation of the forehand shot and blocked it

Related information
Belfour will be focus of fans' wrath in San Jose
Stars-Sharks Game 3 Summary
Owen Nolan and the Sharks finally rip one away from the Stars.
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