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It's no dream, Sharks beat Detroit
SJ celebrates MLK Day with a big win
1/19/04 - by Mike Lee

Can the Sharks do anything right? Last season they were supposed to contend for the Stanley Cup, but they ended up falling flat on their faces. This season was supposed to be a rebuilding year. This year was supposed to be the year the Sharks went back to the drawing board and figured out what to make of guys like Patrick Marleau and Marco Sturm. San Jose continued to botch that whole plan up, by beating another team that should have walked all over them. This time the Sharks knocked off the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 at HP Pavilion.

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1 2 3 T
DET 0 0 1 1
SJ 1 1 0 2
1st period - S.J, HARVEY (2) (DIMITRAKOS, STUART), 17:48
2nd period - S.J, DIMITRAKOS (4) (PRIMEAU), 15:04
3rd period - DET, YZERMAN (12) (WHITNEY, HOLMSTROM), 10:00
1st period - S.J, MCCAULEY, 03:20 - Hi stick DET, SCHNEIDER, 13:34 - Hi stick DET, WOOLLEY, 19:27 - Holding stick
2nd period - DET, LIDSTROM, 11:03 - Hooking
3rd period - S.J, RICCI, 00:23 - Slashing DET, MALTBY, 00:23 - Slashing
  Shots Saves
DET - Joseph 24 22
SJ - Nabokov 35 34
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
DET 13 8 14 35
SJ 14 4 6 24
Power Play Conversion
DET 0 of 1
SJ 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Evgeni Nabokov
Niko Dimitrakos
Steve Yzerman
The 5:00pm start should have spelled doom for the Sharks. The early start was scheduled because of the holiday celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but the Sharks don't typically play well during games that start before 7:00pm. That's been the Sharks calling card anyway.

Marleau and Sturm returned to the lineup after missing a game a piece with minor injuries, but neither factored into the scoring. That was picked up by Todd Harvey and Niko Dimitrakos, two guys that didn't even make the opening night roster back in October.

Harvey in fact had to clear waivers just to be on the ice. The Red Wings waived their obligation to play defense on Harvey's 1st period goal. The pesky Sharks forward looked like Brett Hull, looping around the back of the Red Wings net, then skating around two defenders in the slot and firing a shot past Curtis Joseph for a 1-0 Sharks lead.

Dimitrakos would follow up with his fifth goal of the season with just under five minutes to play in the 2nd period, by one-timing a Wayne Primeau pass past Joseph from the slot. The goal was an inverted carbon copy of Nils Ekman's goal against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. Primeau setup Dimitrakos with a pass from the right wing boards, where Alexander Korolyuk setup Ekman from the left side.

The Red Wings turned up the heat in the final period, which resulted in several scoring chances for Detroit. Steve Yzerman finally connected 50 minutes into the game with a one-timer himself off a pass from former Sharks Ray Whitney. Jonathan Cheechoo tried to cheat on the counter attack, but when Whitney came up with the puck along the left wing boards, Yzerman was able to slip past Cheechoo in the slot and bury Whitney's pass.

Sharks netminder Evgeni Nabokov stood on his head in the 3rd, turning aside 14 shots on goal.

Play of the Game
Nabokov's play in the final period bailed the Sharks out after Detroit went on the offensive. He was forced to stop several screened shots in the period and had Red Wings in his face after ever shot. The Wings tried to capitalize on rebounds, but Nabokov controlled almost every shot that came his way.

The Turning Point
Having two grinder's in Harvey and Dimitrakos score goals took an immense amount of pressure of the Sharks forwards and defensemen. Playing with a two goal lead allowed the Sharks to dictate the tempo of the game yet again. It's become a common theme during the Sharks winning stretch. Grab the lead then dictate the play.

Save of the Game
Nabokov made two stops that preserved the lead in the 3rd. The first came off a Kirk Maltby shot that Nabokov was able to stop by making a kick save with his right pad. The shot was destined for the back of the goal, but Nabokov managed to turn it aside with the leg save. The second key stop came courtesy of a glove save that Nabokov wasn't able to control, but he deflected it away from the goal. The shot still had enough velocity on it to ring off the right post.

Box Scores Do No Justice
So much for cracking down on cheap shots. Korolyuk may think otherwise after being the recipient of a two handed blow to the chops by Maltby in the 3rd period. The hit knocked Korolyuk to the ice and forced a stoppage, but no penalty was called on the play.

Honorable Mention
Kyle McLaren made his return to the ice after a seven game hiatus to nurse a rib injury. Couldn't have picked a better opponent to return to the ice for. The rugged Sharks defenseman played a relatively low key game, although he did log almost 21 minutes of ice time on 28 shifts.

"I can't remember a better stretch than right now, these last three games. Any time you can beat a team like Detroit, it boosts your confidence. It shows you can compete against the top teams and you deserve to be there." - Kyle McLaren

"It was like a playoff game, with a lot of tight battles and scrums in the corner. They're playing very well. They're playing with a ton of confidence." - Detroit head coach Dave Lewis

"When you consider the teams that we just beat, it's certainly gratifying. It builds your confidence that you can play against anybody. ... I still think we give up too many scoring chances, and there's a lot of improvement to make ... but our record speaks for itself." - Sharks head coach Ron Wilson

Yzerman moved into a tie for 6th place on the NHL's scoring list along side Mario Lemieux with 1,701 career points.

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