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January 22, 2019
All Hail Morrow
by Michael Menser Dell, Editor-in-Chief
Brenden Morrow is god.
Okay, maybe not the god, but he's a god nonetheless. After watching his performance in Game Six against the Sharks, I have decided to start a church in his honor. And I'm pretty sure the Church of Morrow will be able to beat up your church.
In one of the most miraculous efforts ever witnessed by man or chimp, Morrow punched Dallas' ticket to the Campbell Conference Finals, scoring a power-play goal 9:03 into the fourth overtime to bury the San Jose Sharks, 2-1.
It took 129 minutes and three seconds of hockey to settle matters, and Morrow delivered the decisive blow, redirecting a nifty Stephane Robidas centering pass behind a helpless Evgeni Nabokov. Morrow's heroics saved the Stars from the misery that would have been a Game Seven at the Shark Tank, not to mention the possible embarrassment of blowing a 3-0 series lead.
The game-winner started with Brian Campbell getting whistled for tripping Loui Eriksson in the right wing corner. While it's always lame to decide a four-overtime game on the power play because of a rather meaningless infraction in the corner, there's no denying it was a trip And the Sharks had a power play in the third overtime following an equally lame hooking call, so what can you do?
Once Dallas got the power play set up, Mike Ribeiro fired a cross-ice pass from the left point to Robidas in the right wing circle. He faked a shot to get Doug Murray to drop before sliding a perfect feed in front to Morrow, who was all by his lonesome at the lip of the crease. He guided the puck into a yawning cage with a deft little deflection to cap a truly spectacular evening.
Words can't do Morrow's game justice. Well, they probably could, but I'm writing this at 4AM, and I'm wicked tired, so let's just pretend it was beyond description. All you need to know is he scored the game-winner, he logged 51 minutes of ice time, and he set a new NHL record with 19 hits. I think that's actually two more than the Beatles.
His best check of the night came at the end of regulation when he separated Milan Michalek from his senses. Michalek, who was having a strong game for the Fish, was cycling up the left wing wall trying to keep the puck away from Sergei Zubov. His head down, Michalek never saw Morrow coming. Aw, it was beautiful. Somewhere, Scott Stevens was weeping.
Morrow was simply relentless. He was like the Terminator on skates. At one point in the overtime, Morrow took a high-stick from Joe Thornton. Nothing. Later he caught a puck in the face. Kept on truckin'. There was no stopping him. Run for your lives!
While Morrow was terrorizing the Sharks all over the ice, Nabokov and Marty Turco were waging a goaltending duel for the ages. The overtime periods were all played at a frenetic pace, generating a constant stream of top-flight scoring chances. Turco finished the night with 61 saves. Nabokov notched 53. Here are the best of the best...
1. Nabokov on Richards: At 1:28 of the first overtime, Nabokov robbed Brad Richards with a save that would make Frank Pietrangelo's proud.
Nabokov tried to shoot the puck up the wall and gave it away to Richards, who fired a quick shot on goal. Nabokov managed to scramble back in time to kick it to the left wing boards. Antti Miettinen was the first on the puck, hurriedly spinning another shot to the cage that struck a defender in front and went directly to Richards at the bottom of the right circle. Richards stepped into a one-timer only to have Nabby stretch across with his left pad and glove, snaring the pea out of the air with his trapper before it could cross the line.
It was one of the best saves I've ever seen. Nabby had to go from his left to his right and back to his left all quick like a bunny. And Richards got every ounce of that shot. It was special.
2. Turco on Marleau: At 11:55 of the first overtime, Jeremy Roenick made a brilliant pass from the right wing to Patrick Marleau streaking down the left side of the slot. Marleau took a split second to settle the puck before pulling the trigger, allowing Turco just enough time to slide across on his left knee and use some fancy Kung Fu to kick the shot away with his right pad. He even got the rebound with his skate while lying on his back.
3. Turco on Thornton: Just eight seconds into the second overtime, Robidas blew a tire backpedaling in his own zone, gift wrapping the puck for Joe Thornton in the high slot. Thornton got off a good wrister, but Turco cut down the angle like a champ and booted it aside with the left pad.
4. Turco on Roenick: At 12:09 of the third extra session, Ribeiro foolishly passed the puck in front of his own net, handing it right to Roenick. J.R. Wanna Be Superstar wasted little time, but Turco stayed square, getting it with his right pad.
5. Nabokov on Ribeiro: With just 1:13 left in the first overtime, Campbell coughed up the puck to Ribeiro out of the right wing corner. Ribeiro cut to the net all alone and dangled, trying to outwait Nabokov. But Nabby wouldn't bite. He stayed with Ribeiro all the way across the crease, turning a glorious scoring chance into an easy save.