Morrow gives Stars OT opening win

Dallas Stars captain Brenden Morrow scored his second goal 4:39 into overtime to give his club a 3-2 opening win in their Western Conference semifinal against the San Jose Sharks.

Dallas Stars captain Brenden Morrow scored his second goal 4:39 into overtime to give his club a 3-2 opening win in their Western Conference semifinal against the San Jose Sharks.

San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov overcommitted on a move by Stephane Robidas on the final play of the game and was unable to regain his positioning in time for Morrow's slapshot.

"Brenden Morrow was excellent all night," said Dallas coach Dave Tippett. "He's around it, he's kind of the leader of the group right now.

"We certainly are appreciative of the win, but we just recognize our level is going to have to go up."

Mike Modano also scored for the Stars in the opener in San Jose. Mike Ribeiro had  two assists and leads all NHL players with eight in the playoffs.

San Jose's Jonathan Cheechoo scored with just 3:02 left in the third period to send the game into overtime. Milan Michalek scored his first goal of the playoffs to open the scoring in the second period. Game 2 will take place in San Jose on Sunday night.

Dallas won despite just taking only 18 shots on Nabokov, including just two in the first period.

"The whole night they might have had five scoring chances, so from a defensive standpoint we were pretty good," said San Jose coach Ron Wilson.

Marty Turco made 25 saves for the Stars.

Turco was fortunate early in the first period when Michalek, without a point in the playoffs, hit the post. San Jose then had a promising start to a power play but defenceman Craig Rivet was cited for interfering with Turco.

The Sharks held a 10-2 shot advantage in the first.

"I would have liked to have seen us generate a little more, I didn't think we skated as well as we needed to early," said Tippett. "We had some spurts in the game, but reality is, we're going to have to be much better."

Matt Niskanen's  turnover early in the second led to the game's first score.

Michalek's shot appeared to be stopped by Turco, but the puck slowly trickled through his pads at the 4:50 mark.

The second period had been the weakest for Dallas in their first round series against Anaheim, but the Stars were able to turn a new page with two goals in the middle frame on Friday to take the lead.

Just over one minute after San Jose scored, Modano's slapshot on the power play drew Dallas even. The Stars have now scored 11 power-play goals in seven playoff games.

The Stars then took the lead at 9:09 of the second. Ribeiro brought the puck out from behind the San Jose net, hitting Nabokov's pad. Morrow swooped in to bang in the rebound. 

San Jose squandered their fourth power-play chance, early in the third.

Dallas, meanwhile, missed an opportunity to go up by two goals when Antti Miettinen was stopped by Nabokov on a 2-on-1 break.

San Jose finally got the goal they were looking for courtesy of sniper Cheechoo. Turco stopped Matt Carle's shot from the point, but Cheechoo was on the doorstep for the rebound.

Wilson said the goal was the type the Sharks will need more of to win the series.

"We wore them down and had a bunch of traffic in front of the net, three guys standing in front, and Cheech when he gets involved and gets his nose dirty, he's going to score," said Wilson.

Morrow's goal in overtime was his fifth of the playoffs and his second career postseason overtime goal.

"Our goal was to come in and steal a game," Morrow said. "You never know what it will be or how many goals it will take. We didn't want to be denied.

"Marty had such a great first period for us to keep us in the game."

Robidas now has six assists while taking a more prominent role due to injuries to Dallas defencemen Sergei Zubov and Phillipe Boucher.

With files from the Associated Press