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Sloppy play leads to loss
Red Wings score 4 unanswered goals in 4-1 win
1/9/10 - By Mike Lee -

The Detroit Red Wings came into HP Pavilion on Saturday night wounded and on the outside looking in on the playoff picture. Their desperate play, combined with a mistake filled performance by the Sharks, resulted in a 4-1 whitewashing of San Jose . Four different Detroit skaters scored goals, and rookie goaltender Jimmy Howard stopped 31 shots to pacify the home Sharks.

Turnovers and errors were the name of the game for a Sharks lineup that looked like world beaters in the opening 10 minutes of play. Unfortunately for San Jose , the game is 60 minutes long, and the middle 20 minutes sealed the Sharks fate. Detroit scored three goals in that middle period, negating an early Sharks lead.

“I thought one team was prepared to play several games, that their defense was prepared to put the puck in quick," Said Sharks head coch Todd McLellan. "The forwards made our (defense) turn. They managed their shift. They didn’t lose a lot of lose pucks battles, and really at the end of the day, they didn’t need a lot of risk in their game to score four goals against us.”

San Jose got on the board at 11:02 of the opening period, on a put back goal by Patrick Marleau. Dan Boyle took a faceoff win in the high slot, sending a shot toward Howard. The shot was denied by Howard, but the puck trickled out in front of the crease where Dany Heatley tried putting a shot on net. Howard made a diving paddle save, but Marleau scooped up the rebound and calmly lifted it over the fallen goaltender for his 29th goal of the season.

Marleau reiterated the need for the Sharks to get bodies in front of the net.

"I think we can do a lot better at that, especially on the power play and 5-on-5," said Marleau. "We have to get more pucks to the goalies but have guys bat things in."

Evgeni Nabokov made a huge save on a Dan Cleary breakaway with just under 2 minutes to play in the period. Jason Demers misplayed a puck at his blueline, springing the Detroit winger. Skating in uncontested, Cleary tried a move to his forehand, but Nabokov shut the door.

Detroit evened things up 6:37 into the 2nd period when Pavel Datsyuk snapped a 20-foot shot past Nabokov from the right side. Datsyuk grabbed a Sharks turnover then skated toward the right dot, before cranking a shot that slipped just inside the left post.

“I thought we were not great in the first five minutes, but Howard was good and then I thought we settled in and played good," said Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock. " And we were patient and we knew we had to be. And I thought if we were patient enough that we’d get some turnovers and some opportunities.”

Henrik Zetterberg had a prime chance to put the Red Wings up with 8 minutes remaining in the period when a deflection landed on his stick right in front of the Sharks net. The Swede snapped a wrist shot from 8 feet out, but Nabokov had the angle covered, defelcting the puck into the corner.

Patrick Eaves deflected a Doug Janik blast past Nabokov at 14:53, but video replay clearly showed Eaves stick was above the cross bar. The play was reviewed, but the goal was not overturned.

The Sharks would fall apart after the questionable goal.

Detroit would tack on another goal 69 seconds later when Cleary finished a 3-on-2 break with another shot that beat Nabokov up high. Dan Boyle tried pinching from his defensive position while the Sharks were in the Detroit zone, but when Drew Miller pushed the puck up ice, the Sharks were minus one defensive player. Valtteri Filpula grabbed Miller’s clearing chance and slid a slipped a pass to Cleary on the left side.

"We weren't careful with the puck," said Sharks captain Rob Blake. "We weren't doing things we needed to. We didn't get nearly enough traffic. on special teams, we didn't generate anything on our power play. We only had two opportunities, they had one, so that nulifies things, but 5-on-5 our lines weren't better than their lines."

Darren Helm made it 4-1 at 4:34 of the 3rd period on another Sharks turnover in the Sharks zone. Dan Boyle tried clearing the puck from deep in the left corner, but Helm intercepted it at the blueline, then skated around Douglas Murray and jammed his 8th goal of the season past Nabokov. It was the second unassisted goal of the night for Detroit .

“We’ve played some real good teams," added Babcock. "We’ve had a good effort from most of the guys. I’ve been real impressed with the back end. There’s a lot of guys not normally in those situations but they’ve played real well in those roles.”

Game Notes:

Rookie left winger John McCarthy made his NHL debut for San Jose , donning jersey number 43.


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1 2 3 T
DET 0 3 1 4
SJ 1 0 0 1
1st period - 1, SJ, Marleau 29 (Heatley, Boyle), 11.02.
2nd period - 2, DET, Datsyuk 11 (unassisted), 6:37. 3, DET, Eaves 5 (Janik, Helm), 14:53. 4, DET, Cleary 9 (Filppula, Miller), 16:02.
3rd period - 5, DET, Helm 8 (unassisted), 4:34.
1st period - Blake, SJ (hooking), 5:31.
2nd period - Cleary, DET (hooking), 9:02.
3rd period - Cleary, DET (interference), 15:40; Cleary, DET (fighting major), 15:40; Setoguchi, SJ (fighting major), 15:40.
Shots Saves
DET - Howard 32 31
SJ - Nabokov 22 18
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
DET 9 8 5 22
SJ 9 10 13 32
Power Play Conversion
DET 0 of 1
SJ 0 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Jimmy Howard
Darren Helm
Pavel Datsyuk
Referees: Fraser, McCauley. Linesmen: Cvik, Seitz.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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