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Norstrom Unlikely Game 3 Hero

Tuesday, 04.29.2008 / 11:38 PM CT / Feature
By Ken Sins
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Norstrom Unlikely Game 3 Hero

Mattias Norstrom is your old-time D-man. His stick has barely a curve and nobody looks for him to make the nifty play, a la Sergei Zubov. Anytime he hits the score sheet, it’s a bonus. His job is to prevent goals, not score them.

But there was Norstrom celebrating his overtime game-winner on Tuesday night against the San Jose Sharks, giving the Stars a 2-1 victory and sending Dallas to a three games to none edge in the semifinal series.

“I tried to get it on net and it went off a stick,’’ Norstrom said. “Fortunately it went in. I don't score a lot, so it was the biggest goal of my career.’’

Norstrom notched a mere two goals in the regular season and has 18 in 14 seasons, but he’s become an offensive factor in these playoffs. His assist set up Brenden Morrow for the overtime winner against San Jose in Game 1, and he has two goals and three assists in the playoffs.

Before this season, the native of Stockholm, Sweden had never registered a goal in 38 previous playoff games.

Norstrom’s shot from beyond the left circle glanced off the stick of San Jose’s Jeremy Roenick and over the shoulder of Starks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov at 4:37 of overtime.

“We were putting the pressure on, the puck popped out to me and I tried to get it on net as quickly as I could. It hit his stick and it ended up in the net,’’ Norstrom said. “I’ll take it off sticks, off feet, as long as it goes in. I've never had a bigger goal. It feels
great."

In an age when most players have severely curved sticks, Morrow looks at Norstrom’s straight-bladed lumber and shakes his head. But the Stars captain sure appreciates the results.

Asked where he would have ranked Norstrom in any game-winning-goal pool, Morrow laughed and said, “He would have been real deep in my depth chart.

“He's picked up his offensive game, shooting the puck and seeing plays the rest of us aren't seeing. I don't know if anyone's seen the curve on his stick, he does a heck of a job playing with something like that.’’

Norstrom did far more than put the puck in the net on Tuesday night, logging more than 17 rugged minutes of ice time in a very physical game.

“Nordie is a warrior,’’ Stars coach Dave Tippett said. “He’s a guy who leads by example and lays everything on the line. When he gets some points and scores a goal, he gets recognized more, but even if the goal doesn’t go in, he’s putting it on the line every night. You need guys like that who are willing to do whatever it takes to win.’’

His teammates appreciate what Norstrom brings every night.

“He’s had a great playoff,’’ Stars forward Stu Barnes said. “He’s made both the plays on the overtime goals. He’s a solid player, a good team guy who works hard and does a lot of the tough work, getting pucks out of corners. And he’s a calming factor out there too. He’s real patient and that’s a good thing.’’

“He deserves it,’’ goaltender Marty Turco said. “We've got a lot of guys in here that are playing great, but there's one guy that's been there
for us all year long, with a lot of injuries to veteran guys, a man that's been vocal, that's played a lot of minutes, that's been asked to do a lot, without much fanfare.  That's his game.  He doesn't care, he
wants this team to win and he's the kind of guy you need this time of year, to be on top of his game. It's great for him to see that one go in.’’

Norstrom was paired with Zubov, who logged a surprising 25 minutes and 42 seconds in only his second game back after sitting out since January with a groin injury.

Dallas’ first power play of the night ended in ashes when Zubov’s blind pass to Jere Lehtinen was picked off by Patrick Marleau, who skated in alone and beat Turco with a high wrist shot at 19:25 of the opening period.

But Zubov has been around far too long to hang his head over a mistake. Only 47 seconds into the third period and with the Stars on a 5-on-3, Zubov tied it at 1 when his one-timer from the point got through the pads of Nabokov while Morrow was screening the goalie.

Except for Zubov’s mistake, he and Norstrom were a solid pair.

Dallas hasn’t led a series three games to none since 1999 when the Stars swept the Edmonton Oilers in the first round en route to their only Stanley Cup.

Norstrom and his teammates expect the best effort of the series from the Sharks in Game 4 on Wednesday night at the AAC.

“If you would have told me at the start of the series we'd be up 3-0, I'd say no, not against a team like this,’’ Norstrom said. “But we've done a good job showing the desperation we've needed. We haven't had 20 minutes where we've played poorly.

“Tomorrow we're going to try to end their season. They know that so the desperation level will be higher and we have to match that and exceed it.’’

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 56 36 16 4 158 128 76
2 DAL 53 33 15 5 170 142 71
3 STL 55 30 17 8 132 129 68
4 LAK 51 31 17 3 135 117 65
5 SJS 51 27 20 4 147 138 58
6 NSH 53 25 20 8 136 139 58
7 COL 55 27 24 4 148 152 58
8 ANA 50 25 18 7 111 115 57
9 MIN 52 23 20 9 127 126 55
10 ARI 52 24 22 6 138 161 54
11 VAN 52 20 20 12 120 142 52
12 CGY 51 23 25 3 134 148 49
13 WPG 52 23 26 3 136 150 49
14 EDM 54 21 28 5 132 164 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 53 28 31 15 59
T. Seguin 53 28 28 10 56
J. Klingberg 53 8 35 14 43
J. Spezza 52 18 22 5 40
P. Sharp 53 16 24 -1 40
C. Eakin 53 10 13 1 23
A. Goligoski 53 3 20 17 23
M. Janmark 53 10 9 13 19
A. Roussel 51 8 10 5 18
V. Nichushkin 50 6 12 7 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 20 10 5 .908 2.52
K. Lehtonen 13 5 0 .907 2.82
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