Sharks earn division points in battle with Stars

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Sharks earn division points in battle with Stars

March 15, 2011

BOX SCORE SHARKS VIDEONHL PAGE NHL SCOREBOARD
DALLAS (AP) Coach Todd McClellan got the response he was seeking from the San Jose Sharks.Joe Pavelski had four assists, Ryane Clowe scored the tiebreaker in the opening two minutes of the final period, and the Sharks rallied from a two-goal deficit for a 6-3 victory over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night.The Stars were 3-0-1 in the first four meetings with the Sharks this season, and all four games were one-goal games.This time, Dany Heatley and Joe Thornton had two goals each, including empty-netters in the final 1:08, as the Sharks improved to 10-2-2 in their last 14 games.Torrey Mitchell added an insurance goal 1:40 after Clowe's tally, and the Sharks recovered from Monday night's 6-3 loss at Chicago."Yeah, these were the results we were looking for," McClellan said. "We challenged them after the effort that we had last night. We haven't had to do that much lately. We being coaches, we were disappointed, but you could see it in the players' eyes that they were even more disappointed. To come back, fall behind and then battle back in the game is pretty rewarding, especially against a team that plays that hard."
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Jamie Benn had a power play goal and two assists, Toby Petersen netted a short-handed goal, and Mike Ribeiro scored at even strength for Dallas.With the score even at 2, Pavelski stole the puck from Dallas defenseman Jeff Woywitka and passed to Clowe, who was speeding up the middle and beat Kari Lehtonen at 1:51.Mitchell made it 4-2 at 3:31 off Pavelski's setup."We capitalized on their mistakes," Pavelski said. "We just have a lot of confidence now and momentum's a little bit more on our side. It's kind of what happened to us last night in Chicago. We were going right and make a mistake or two and it ends up in our net."Benn's backhander at 8:11 of the third pulled Dallas within a goal.The Stars went on the power play twice in the final 4:06 but were unable to beat Antti Niemi, who stopped 34 shots in his 26th consecutive start. Niemi allowed four goals on 18 shots against his former Blackhawk teammates before he was replaced by Antero Niittymaki in the second period."It was important for us to show that we believed in (Niemi) after pulling him in his old arena and in front of those fans," McClellan said. "We also thought it'd be a pretty good motivating factor tonight to use him. We didn't think that his mates would hang him out to dry again like they did yesterday and it worked."Dallas has lost two straight after a 6-0-2 streak.Ribeiro put the Stars in front at 3:28 of the second period on an outstanding individual effort. Ribeiro skated from behind the net and into the slot, sending a wrister past Niemi.Less than a minute later, Stars winger Loui Eriksson, the team's No. 3 scorer with 23 goals, went to the locker room with an upper-body injury from an open-ice hit by San Jose's Douglas Murray and did not return.Steve Ott of the Stars fought Murray 20 seconds after Eriksson's injury, and Ott received instigator and misconduct penalties in addition to a matching fighting penalty with Murray.Dallas coach Marc Crawford felt the Murray hit was borderline."I think that's one that (the league) will review and I'm sure that they will," Crawford said. "We're hopeful that Loui's going to be all right. He's not feeling very good right now and we'll see where he's at tomorrow. It's always the next day that you got to look to. The league has said that you want to take those hits out of the game, but it ends up being something we can't control and it's out of our hands now."Murray said he didn't intend to hurt Eriksson."Well, when it comes to Eriksson, it's a 50-50 puck," Murray said. "If he pokes it by me, he's getting a breakaway, so as far as I remember the situation, I went to play the puck in the body at the same time and I hit him. You never try to hurt a guy but it's unfortunate."Petersen notched his second short-handed goal of the season at 5:08 off Benn's centering pass for a 2-0 lead.Thornton got the Sharks on the board with a deflection at 6:23 of the second, and Heatley cashed in on a rebound at 12:40 while the Sharks skated 5 on 3 to tie it at 2.Notes: Dallas forward Adam Burish (lower body) missed his second straight game. ... Lehtonen started his 11th consecutive game and played in his 57th game this season. Lehtonen was able to play in only 58 games over the previous two seasons due to injuries. ... C Scott Nichol (upper body) and D Kent Huskins (upper body) are out for the Sharks, and D Niclas Wallin left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury. ... Dallas has 10 short-handed goals this season.

David West is coming up big for the Warriors

David West is coming up big for the Warriors

OAKLAND -- David West is as much a cleanup man as he is a basketball player.

The veteran power forward, masquerading as a center for the Warriors, cleans up behind teammates, cleans the clocks of opponents and probably cleans his plate after every meal. And he’d hit fourth in any manager’s batting order.

The Warriors during their renaissance haven’t had such a personality. They’ve been a fun bunch, enjoying life, each other and their pillaging of the NBA.

West, 36, brings a more laconic dynamic, and it’s on full display as the Warriors lean into the final weeks of this regular season. He’s a leader who is producing and, more and more, winning over a fan base that was somewhat skeptical early this season.

“David West has been playing brilliantly,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Friday night, after West came off the bench for a highly efficient 14-minute stint in a 114-100 win over the Kings.

Showcasing sharp passing, splendid shooting, solid rim protection and his usual old-jerky toughness, West totaled 8 points, four assists, three rebounds, three blocks and one steal. The Warriors were plus-8 when he was on the floor.

Such production, it seems, is a bit of a bonus.

“He’s been very good for us as a veteran leader,” Draymond Green said. “He’s been playing well, but just his presence also has meant a lot to this team.

“D-West is just kind of a no-bull---- type of a guy. He doesn’t say much. But when he does, you know it means a lot. And everybody hears him.”

Said West: “It’s just about adjusting and learning personalities. Obviously, this group has been very successful. I just try to add my 2 cents where I feel like it fits. Try not to over-talk people. I speak to guys directly and just make sure that we’re all on the same page.”

West is in his 14th season. Drafted by the New Orleans Hornets in 2003, he also has played for the Pacers and, last season, the Spurs, before joining the Warriors in July.

The question at the time was whether he still had a lot to give. West is a two-time All-Star and one of the most widely respected players in the league. But did he still have the legs to compete at a high level?

The answer is visible, particularly over the past month, since he returned from fractured left thumb on Feb. 23. West is shooting 53.0 percent from the field, he’s rebounding consistently and he has proven to be a spectacularly good passer -- easily one of the best in the league among big men.

Earlier this week, to quell any lingering concerns about how much athleticism he still has, West rose up and dunked over a crowd of three Dallas Mavericks. It was clock-cleaning at its finest.

“I’m just getting more comfortable,” West said, referring to his game and his locker-room influence. “We’ve developed good chemistry, communicating, harping on our defense more than anything else at this moment, because we feel that’s going to give us a chance if shots aren’t falling.”

West is on a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum, $1.55 million. He sacrificed bigger dollars for a chance at his first championship. He’s doing his part. And he neither takes nor leaves any mess.

Dempsey hat trick lifts US over Honduras in statement win

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AP

Dempsey hat trick lifts US over Honduras in statement win

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE — Bruce Arena's return as U.S. coach reignited American confidence, and his players responded with an emphatic rebound in World Cup qualifying.

Clint Dempsey returned from an irregular heartbeat to score his second international hat trick, 18-year-old phenom Christian Pulisic had one goal and set up three others, and the U.S. routed Honduras 6-0 Friday night to get right back in contention for an eighth straight World Cup berth.

Surprise starter Sebastian Lletget got his first international goal in the fifth minute after Pulisic's shot deflected off the goalkeeper, Michael Bradley doubled the lead in the 27th and Dempsey scored off Pulisic's perfectly weighted chip in the 32nd.

Finding room to maneuver in a central midfield role, Pulisic made it 4-0 just 12 seconds into the second half with his fourth international goal, Dempsey rounded the keeper to score following a Pulisic feed in the 49th, and Dempsey got another on a 23-yard free kick in the 54th. With 55 international goals, Dempsey moved within two of Landon Donovan's American record.

In its first competitive match since Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann, the U.S. moved from last to fourth in the final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region, tied at three points with Honduras but ahead on goal difference, Mexico leads with seven points, followed by Costa Rica with six and Panama with four.

The top three nations qualify for next year's tournament in Russia, and the fourth-place nation advances to a playoff. With a victory at Panama on Tuesday, the Americans could move into the top three.

The U.S. had never before won a hexagonal game by more than three goals.

And oh how the American Outlaws and others among the lively home crowd loved every second of this long-awaited showing, chanting "Michael Bradley!" and "Demp-sey! Demp-sey!" through the Bay Area rain and cool March air.

Then, it was "Bruce Arena! Bruce Arena!"

Gloom descended upon the Americans in November when they opened the hexagonal with a 2-1 home loss to Mexico and a 4-0 wipeout at Costa Rica. The defeats caused the U.S. Soccer Federation to fire Klinsmann, who had coached the Americans since 2011, and bring back Arena, who lead the team from 1998-2006.

Dempsey, 34 and hoping to reach a fourth World Cup, was sidelined from August until this month by an irregular heartbeat and likely was starting only because of injuries to Bobby Wood and Jordan Morris. Tim Howard, the Americans' 38-year-old goalkeeper, got the shutout after returning only two weeks ago from a leg injury sustained in the loss to Mexico.

Geoff Cameron, back from a knee strain that had sidelined him for fourth months, was shifted to right back from central defense because of injuries to others, and Jorge Villafana was inserted on the left.

But there were yet more injuries. Lletget hurt his left ankle on Ever Alvarado's tackle and was replaced in the 18th minute, and defender John Brooks was stretchered off the field, hand over his face, in the 69th due to dehydration.

From the opening whistle, the U.S. played more aggressively than in the latter years of Klinsmann's reign. Arena revamped the midfield, giving a prominent role to Pulisic, who last week became the youngest American to score in the Champions League. He inserted Lletget and Nagbe, who were largely overlooked by Klinsmann last year, on the flanks.

The U.S. went ahead when Jozy Altidore picked up a loose ball and on his second try poked the ball ahead to Pulisic. His left-footed shot that went off goalkeeper Donis Escobar, and Lletget tapped in the ball with his right foot from 2 yards.

Bradley, given his debut by Arena in 2006, doubled the lead when he took a pass from Alejando Bedoya, cut to his left, took four touches and cut the ball back to beat Escobar with one-hopper from about 25 yards.

Showing poise beyond his years, Pulisic created the third goal when he lofted a pass to Dempsey, who allowed the ball of bounce off his right shoulder. Dempsey held off Henry Figueroa and while falling scored with his right foot from 8 yards.