Roll over and die? Not these Sharks.
San Jose erased a two-goal deficit in the third period and Joe Pavelski scored at 1:05 of overtime to lift the hometown Sharks to a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars Friday in Game 5 of their Western Conference semifinal.
Dallas still leads the best-of-seven series 3-2, but San Jose has the momentum, having won the last two contests. Game 6 goes Sunday night in Dallas.
The Sharks have successfully staved off elimination twice against the Stars, keeping alive their hopes of pulling off a seemingly impossible comeback — the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1975 New York Islanders are the only teams in NHL history to come back from 3-0 deficits to win a playoff series.
"I think there's a little bit of doubt in their mind," said San Jose coach Ron Wilson. "This (comeback) doesn't happen very often, and then you top it off with this (game) … We've done a lot of things that are great for our character, to show that we have it. At times tonight we showed our nerves and our younger players showed their youth, but we survived. We really took it to them."
Pavelski was the hero for the Sharks Friday night, extending the series for at least another game when he scooped up a Dallas turnover, peeled out front of the net and beat Dallas goalie Marty Turco with a wicked wrist shot to send the San Jose crowd into a state of delirium.
"We said, 'Let's go out and throw out everything we have in the third period,"' Sharks forward Jeremy Roenick said of his team's comeback. "'Let's just empty the tanks and put out every effort we possibly have. If we do that, we'll have a shot."'
The game was not without controversy, however.
Dallas captain Brenden Morrow had what appeared to be a legitimate goal in the second period disallowed when it was ruled he made a distinct kicking motion to direct the puck in the San Jose net, even though he was tied up on the play in the crease and didn't see the puck.
The Stars and Sharks combined for 14 shots in a goal-less, tight-checking first period that saw neither team carve out a single quality scoring chance.
The game opened up a bit at the start of the second period and Stars winger Jere Lehtinen broke the deadlock at 6:14 on a Dallas power play, completing a pretty passing sequence by beating Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov through the pads.
Stars forward Mike Modano rung a shot off the post moments later and Morrow appeared to give Dallas a 2-0 lead midway through the period off a goal-mouth scramble.
But the play went upstairs for video review and the goal was disallowed when the Dallas captain was ruled to have kicked the puck in the net.
Morrow would not be denied, though, and he found the back of the net with 56 seconds left in the period, beating Nabokov through the legs from an impossible angle to silence the San Jose crowd.
Morrow appeared to notch his second marker of the contest in the opening minutes of the third, but the play again went upstairs for review and was waived off — Morrow was ruled to have gloved the puck into the net before it hit his stick and crossed the goal-line.
"Our team battles through adversity, but those were two critical points of the game," Dallas coach Dave Tippett said. "I still haven't seen a distinct kicking motion, but I suppose somebody else did. The other one, I agree with the call … but if Brenden Morrow isn't cross-checked in the back, he would have put the puck down and in the back of the net. Those are two critical plays in the game, and you have to find a way to overcome that."
That seemed to give San Jose a boost. The Sharks pressed and finally beat Turco at 6:20 of the third when Milan Michalek tucked a Joe Thornton wraparound pass into the Dallas net.
The Stars were reeling and San Jose took advantage of a poor Dallas line change when Roenick fed a gorgeous defence-splitting pass to Brian Campbell, who broke in on Turco and wired a quick wrist shot past his glove at 11:07 to tie the score.
The goal was Campbell's first of the playoffs.
San Jose was buzzing and Dallas was pedalling backward, and the Sharks used the momentum to keep the Stars pinned inside their blue-line, before Pavelski ended the game in overtime with his fifth goal of the playoffs.
"Every game we lose, we give them more life, but I like our position better than theirs," Morrow said. "The third period was our downfall. We have to move on, earn our breaks. We earned this 3-2 lead."