Steve Ott scores first career hat trick in 5-1 win over San Jose, Sharks served a wake up call

By Jon Swenson - Last updated: Thursday, April 1, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment


The Sharks failed to build on a successful homestand, registering a 5-1 loss at Dallas in a lethargic opening to a 4-game road trip. Less than a minute into the game Mike Ribeiro took a bizarre unsportsmanlike conduct penalty during an offensive zone faceoff. It was the Stars who would open the scoring short handed. Patrick Marleau turned the puck over to Steve Ott 25 feet from his own goal, and the agitator-turned-goal-scorer buried it with a one-touch slapshot gloveside. It was the first of three goals Ott would score for his first career hat trick.

Logan Couture, recently named to the AHL All Rookie Team along with Worcester Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock, provided the lone goal of the game for San Jose with 17 seconds left on Ribeiro’s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. After a clean faceoff win by Dany Heatley and a point shot by Dan Boyle, Couture gained position inside of defenseman Karlis Skrastins and deflected a high shot under the glove of Marty Turco. The play went to video review, but Couture’s stick was judged to be lower than the crossbar.

The game would steadily decline from there from a Sharks perspective. Prior to the drop of the puck, head coach Todd McLellan said his team’s memory was short, but not short enough to erase memories of the 8-2 meltdown in the last visit to Dallas on March 16th. “I think if you head into a game and that is your primary motivation, you don’t end up doing what you want to do,” McLellan told reporters. That loss, combined with undisciplined and uninspired play, helped the Sharks tack on 3 more games to a season worst 6-game losing streak.

McLellan stressed that the team needed not just to win, but to win playing a fundamentally sound game with all 20 players contributing. The Sharks fell short on both fronts, with sloppy defensive play and individual performances that failed to congeal into a unified effort. Simple plays, a goaltender to d pass, a d pass up ice, were bobbled or not made cleanly. Rookie defenseman Jason Demers failed to see Loui Eriksson driving back door, resulting in a clean tap-in goal. After Brad Staubitz took an interference minor at 13:19 of the first period, defenseman Douglas Murray took a second interference minor 45 seconds later. Two blocked shots by Manny Malhotra, and a spectacular Evgeni Nabokov save on Trevor Daley with traffic in front, helped kill off the 5-on-3.

The Sharks would have to attempt to turn it around in the second without forward Ryane Clowe, who left the game after taking a puck up around the throat area. The breakdowns and sloppy defensive zone coverage would actually intensify. On another power play, Patrick Marleau tried a between the legs pass up high in his own zone and turned the puck directly over to James Neal. The points on the power play, Dan Boyle and Joe Pavelski, had no chance to catch up to Neal allowing for a clear breakaway scoring chance. Nabokov bailed out Marleau with a quick pad save down low.

On Brian Sutherby’s goal at 12:16, CSNCA television color commentator Drew Remenda detailed a series of San Jose mistakes that lead to the goal. Nicklas Wallin’s initial turnover in the neutral zone to Jamie Benn, Demers and Wallin both moving over to Sutherby allowing Benn a clear lane to the net, and a failure to clear the puck out of the crease or to box out Sutherby’s stick or body from getting a shot at the rebound. Wallin fell down while trying to get over for the second man. In the third period, Remenda would plantiffly state that Sharks players were making errors on simple defensive reads, jumping up into plays and missing their guys, not taking their man, and that their minds were checking out on plays they have made all season. With 5 games left in the regular season, this is the exact opposite of where the Sharks need to be.

At one point, the Sharks television broadcast team of Randy Hahn and Drew Remenda were speachless when trying to figure out a reason for the lackluster play on the ice. “If you are scratching your head, so are we tonight,” Hahn said. Both also discussed last season’s early playoff exit and ruminated on the question of whether it was the Sharks players or coaching staff’s responsibility to have them ready to play at the start of the game. Drew Remenda noted that head coach Todd McLellan tried all season long to shift the responsibility for being game ready to the players, but at some point they have to take it upon themselves to make it happen. “You would like to see the Sharks moving their feet, and showing they care,” Remenda said while the Sharks were down 5-1 and on a power play.

Ott added two more goals in the second period. Sutherby may deserve first star honors over Ott for taking an enormous hit from Douglas Murray to set up the fourth Stars goal. On a breakaway down the right wing Sutherby tried to turn back into the middle of the ice and was “decleated” by the 240-pound Murray. Sutherby was able to hit a driving Ott with a crisp pass in the split second before being knocked flat. With his stick on the ice and body position inside of Scott Nichol, Ott tipped the puck just inside the near post. Ott sealed the hat trick on a failed clearing attempt by Kent Huskins. The longtime agitator who has averaged nearly 120 PIMs a season, 152.2 in the five full NHL seasons he has played, recorded his first career hat trick. “We’ve got a lot of pride in this dressing room. We might not make the playoffs, or it’s pretty unrealistic right now, but to finish with character and finish with pride, I think means more than anything.” Ott told reporters after the game.

Marty Turco made 29 saves on 30 shots for 21st win of the season. After stopping only 16 of 21 shots against after 20 minutes, backup goaltender Thomas Greiss started the third period and made 8 saves on 8 shots. Joe Thornton sat out his second straight game after being injured against Vancouver. Ryane Clowe left the game after only 4 shifts and 4:33 of ice time due to an undisclosed upper body injury. According to beat reporter David Pollak, Clowe has been wearing an ‘A’ on his jersey in Thornton’s absense. Rob Blake returned after sitting out a game, his usual defensive partner Marc-Edouard Vlasic was scratched after previously returning to play 5 games after a lower body injury. Defenseman Jay Leach was scratched for the 6th straight contest. Mike Ribeiro returned after being suspended for Monday’s game against Anaheim for missing a team meeting. Mike Modano was scratched for the 9th straight game after having an appendectomy, an interview with him played on the Sharks radio network during the second intermission.

[Update] Ott’s hat trick helps Stars stave off elimination – Mike Heika for the Dallas Morning News.

Maybe Steve Ott was being weighed down by his appendix.

Since emergency appendectomy surgery on Feb. 8, Ott has been on a tear. He has eight goals in his last 16 games, including the first hat trick of his career Wednesday in a 5-1 win over the San Jose Sharks.

“It was probably in junior – a lot of years ago,” Ott said when asked when he last scored three goals in a game. “I’ve had a lot of seasons with low numbers. It seemed things have bounced my way.”

[Update2] San Jose Sharks uninspired in loss to Dallas Stars – San Jose Mercury News.

[Update3] San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan’s post-game comments after the Dallas loss via Comcast Sportsnet California:

“It is going to be a collective thing for me again tonight with you guys. I am not too sure it starts with skill, it starts with something else…”

“Clowe has played very well for us. I thought we had a little letdown after he left. Maybe he means that much to the team, but moving forward we don’t get to pick and choose who is going to be healthy and who isn’t. Mother Nature takes care of that. When you lose people, you should be able to elevate your game, elevate the intensity and become more competitive rather than go the other way. That is the way we went.”

“It has got nothing to do with where you lose em (on being asked about second straight lopsided loss in Dallas), it is how you lose em.”

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