Stars push Sharks to brink of elimination

Mattias Norstrom was the most unlikely scorer on the ice for the Dallas Stars. Still, he took a whack at the puck.

Dallas Stars forward Brenden Morrow

Dallas Stars forward Brenden Morrow

Stars 2 Sharks 1 (OT)

DALLAS — Mattias Norstrom was the most unlikely scorer on the ice for the Dallas Stars. Still, he took a whack at the puck.

And it went in the net.

Norstrom’s goal 4:37 into overtime Tuesday night gave the Stars a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks and a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinal series.

“I tried to get it on net, it went off a stick. Fortunately, it went in,” said Norstrom, sounding as shocked as anyone about his game-winner.

“He would have been real deep in my depth chart,” captain Brenden Morrow said with a smile.

Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov had already made several impressive saves in overtime, but there were too many bodies around him and he never saw Norstrom’s shot from the top of the left circle after a pass from Mike Ribeiro. The puck slipped through the traffic, clipping Jeremy Roenick’s stick along the way.

It was only the second goal in 47 career playoff games for Norstrom, a 14-season defenceman who has scored only 18 regular-season goals for three NHL teams.

“He just got it over me and it hit my stick,” Roenick said. “It was another bad break. It’s amazing how we can’t get a bounce in this series.”

Sharks captain Patrick Marleau put his team up 1-0 when he scored an unassisted short-handed goal with 35 seconds left in the first period. But he had already been denied a power-play goal because of an inadvertent whistle.

Only four minutes into the game and already on a power play, Marleau jammed a loose puck past Marty Turco. But referee Don VanMassenhoven quickly waved off the score, indicating that he had already blown a whistle.

The referee didn’t realize that the puck still hadn’t been controlled after Joe Thornton’s shot because the ref’s view from behind the net was obstructed by Turco, who was completely extended and on his side after making the initial stop.

“I was surprised the whistle was blown,” Marleau said.

“(The referee) can’t see the puck because he’s standing behind the net,” Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. “The puck’s laying in the crease, he put it in. It should be a goal. He made a mistake, there’s nothing I can do about it.”

The last time the Stars had a 3-0 series lead was in the first round of the 1999 playoffs, when they swept Edmonton and went on to win the Stanley Cup. This is their 16th post-season series since then.

Dallas can wrap up the series tonight at home.

“There’s a lot of momentum right now,” Mike Modano said. “It’ll be a fun night, an elimination game.”

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