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Offense misses trip to H-Town
Sharks stumble in Detroit
10/25/06 - by Mike Lee

After embarrassing the Detroit Red Wings last week in San Jose, the Sharks failed to drive a stake through the perennial power house in Hockeytown on Wednesday night. The Sharks sputtering offense held a slim 1-0 lead for two periods before succumbing to a pair of Red Wing goals in a 2-1 loss, spoiling another strong performance by Evgeni Nabokov.

Nabokov stopped 37 shots, including 27 through the first two periods, but little mistakes would do in San Jose after turning aside the well rested Red Wings. Detroit hadn't played since last Saturday night and carried a three game losing streak into the contest.

Rather than adding to Detroit's slow start, the Sharks played flat throughout the night, allowing the Red Wings to get up off the mat and claw back into the contest.

"We didn't work. Our forwards looked like they were auditioning for the Ice Capades," San Jose coach Ron Wilson said. "A bunch of guys looked like they were just waiting for a power play. "

The Sharks continued their special teams dominance of the Red Wings late in the 1st period, which was a carryover from the 5-1 win last Thursday night. Milan Michalek setup Steve Bernier with a brilliant pass from behind the Red Wings net as defenseman Danny Markov converged on him after the puck was wound around the end boards by Kyle McLaren. Bernier was lurking outside the left post, one-timing Michalek's pass past Dominik Hasek.

Henrik Zetterberg just missed on a backhand chance with seconds remaining in the period, evidence of the pressure that the Red Wings applied early on. After the thumping they took in San Jose last week, Detroit wanted to step up the intensity after allowing five power play goals to the Sharks in San Jose last week.

Sensing a lull in his team's own intensity, Sharks head coach Ron Wilson called a time-out midway through the 2nd period. The Red Wings were beginning to establish themselves in the offensive zone, tilting the ice in their favor. Wilson's move proved prudent, resulting in three good scoring chances right off the bat.

Detroit then tried to establish themselves with physical play, drawing the ire of Josh Gorges, who took exception to Pavel Datsyuk's attempt to jam a dead puck past Nabokov.

"If we would have maybe matched their intensity," Sharks captian Patrick Marleau said. "There would have been a different outcome."

Kyle McLaren countered with a crushing hip check that sent Red Wings defenseman Brett Lebda to the dressing room. Lebda tried carrying the puck up the left wing boards on a break, but McLaren closed a 15-foot gap in the blink of an eye with his patented move.

Detroit tied things up just 38 seconds in to the 3rd period on a power play. Milan Michalek was whistled for a lazy tripping penalty late in the 2nd, and the Wings cashed in on the carry over. Mathieu Schneider beat Nabokov with a shot through traffic that caught the top left corner of the goal. Nabokov was screened by Tomas Holmstrom and did not appear to see the puck and it floated end-over-end from the right point.

Robert Lang gave Detroit the lead at 11:02 after redirecting a shot by Schneider. The goal was the first 5-on-5 score this season between the two teams, who had combined for 8 special teams tallies in two games. San Jose had scored 11 power play goals against Detroit in the last four games.

"When you start to press, it's not easy," Detroit head coach Mike Babcock said. "It was nice to see the guys have some success."

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1 2 3 T
SJ 1 0 0 1
DET 0 0 2 2
1st period - 1, SJ, Bernier 3 (Michalek, McLaren), 17:10, (pp).
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 2, DET, Schneider 4 (Lidstrom, Datsyuk), 0:38, (pp). 3, DET, Lang 3 (Schneider, Lebda), 11:02.
1st period - Franzenm DET (interference), 15:21.
2nd period - Holmstrom, DET (holding), 15:40; Michalek, SJ (interference), 17:00; Michalek, SJ (tripping), 19:22.
3rd period - Kopecky, DET (boarding), 3:41; Draper, DET (hooking), 8:04.
  Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 39 37
DET - Hasek 23 22
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 4 10 9 23
DET 14 13 12 39
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 4
DET 1 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Mathieu Schneider
Evgeni Nabokov
Robert Lang
Referees: Eric Furlatt, Dan Marouelli. Linesmen: Greg Devorski, Mark Pare.

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