DALLAS - Back to the Shark Tank. Milan Michalek scored on a power play with 16:34 left and San Jose beat Dallas 2-1 on Wednesday night to avoid being swept in the Western Conference semifinals.
San Jose Sharks right wing Milan Michalek (9), of Czech Republic, scores a goal against Dallas Stars goalie Marty Turco (35) during the third period of Game 4 of the NHL Western Conference semifinals hockey game in Dallas, Wednesday, April 30, 2008. The Sharks won 2-1.
(AP Photo/LM Otero)
The Sharks were 0-for-4 on power plays in Game 4 before getting another chance early in the third period when Mike Modano drew a delay of game penalty for knocking a puck into the stands. Brian Campbell made a cross-ice pass to Joe Thornton, who then pushed the puck back to the front of the net, through the legs of Jonathan Cheechoo and onto Michalek's stick.
Sharks captain Patrick Marleau had tied the game with another short-handed goal, getting one after a turnover by Sergei Zubov for the second game in a row.
Game 5 is Friday night in San Jose, where the Stars won the first two games of the series. The visiting team has won 14 of the past 18 games between the Pacific Division rivals, dating to last season.
The Stars missed a chance for their first postseason series sweep since 1999, when they beat Edmonton in the first round and went on to win the Stanley Cup. Dallas still has three more chances to advance to the Western Conference finals.
Like he did in Game 3 on Tuesday, Marleau converted a mistake by Zubov, this time midway through the second period.
Zubov lost the puck near the blue line in the Stars zone, and Marleau charged down the ice and shot the puck past Marty Turco. It was the fourth goal of the playoffs for Marleau, and gave him 24 since 2003-04, matching Calgary's Jarome Iginla for the most during that period.
The short-hander came right after Brad Richards' shot got past Evgeni Nabokov, but ricocheted off the far upper corner of the goal. That shot, and another by Trevor Daley, came during the delayed whistle before the power play that led to Marleau's tying goal.
It was only the third game for Zubov after the 15-season veteran and two-time Stanley Cup champion missed three months after operations to place a screw in a bone in his right foot and to repair a sports hernia. He made up for the Game 3 mistake with a tying goal, and after a turnover in Game 2 had the primary assistant on Modano's tiebreaking goal.
But Zubov never amended the latest miscue, which came when the Stars appeared to be ready to put the series away.
After San Jose started the second period with five shots in five minutes, without getting one past Turco, the Stars converted on a mistake by the Sharks.
Devin Setoguchi was behind the net, when he tried to clear the puck. Instead he passed it right to the middle of the ice onto the stick of Jere Lehtinen, whose unassisted goal, his third of the playoffs, made it 1-0.
But that was the only goal past Nabokov, who stopped 17 shots. Turco had 22 saves.
San Jose also come out firing to start the game, attacking the net without getting one past Turco, who spread out to stop a wrister by Michalek and stopping a point-blank wrister by Mike Grier.
On their two power plays in the first 10 minutes, however, the Sharks didn't even got off a shot. It was Dallas that had scoring chances each time it was down a man. Brenden Morrow got off a shot during the first power play and Modano, in the penalty box for tripping during the first one, stole the puck off the stick of Christian Ehrhoff from behind and then charged toward the net before Nabokov came out for the save.
The Sharks had another power play before the first intermission, when Matt Niskanen got whistled for slashing. That call came seconds after his hard open-ice collision with Jeremy Roenick knocked the stick out of his hands.
San Jose finally got credited with a shot on goal while on the power play, but it was actually a crossing pass that Turco kicked away.
Notes:@ San Jose avoided being swept for the first time since Detroit beat them in the second round of the 1995 playoffs. ... Stars C Stu Barnes missed the game, a night after taking a hard hit to the head. Coach Dave Tippett said only that Barnes was "feeling the effects" after taking the shot to the head from Cheechoo in the third period of Game 3. He is day to day.