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Still no answers for Red Wings
Sharks open strong then fade in 4-2 loss
2/2/10 - By Mike Lee -

If the Sharks still have any aspirations to model themselves after the Detroit Red Wings, they’ll need to figure out a way to actually beat them once in a while. San Jose gave the visiting Red Wings a run for their money in the first ten minutes of Tuesday night’s regular season match-up at HP Pavilion, then allowed Detroit to rip off four unanswered goals in a 4-2 loss. The victory was only the 3rd for Detroit in their last ten games, but they continue to have a physicological stranglehold on the Sharks who lost to the Red Wings for the 3rd time in three chances this season.

The two teams will meet one last time in the regular season as part of the Sharks upcoming six-game road trip, which starts on Thursday in St Louis . It will be the last opportunity to figure out how to get past the Red Wings, who would meet the Sharks in the first round of the playoffs if they regular season ended today.

Joe Thornton did his part to snap the Red Wings dominance of the Sharks this season by scoring a pair of goals in the first half of the opening period.

Thornton put the Sharks up 1-0 at 6:11 after crashing the net and poking a loose puck into the Detroit net after Dany Heatley bounced a shot off Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard. Thornton started a rush by chipping the puck off the left wing boards to spring Heatley on a break up the wing. Heatley’s shot from the left dot hit Howard in the shoulder, before dropping to the ice for Thornton to poke home.

Henrik Zetterberg would give the Sharks a power play at 8:10 of the period after clipping Thornton with a high-stick. Detroit killed off half the penalty before Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray was caught for interference on Kirk Maltby.

Skating 4-on-4, Thornton would slide his 15th goal of the season home after Heatley bounced a 35-ffot shot off Howard from the high slot. Thornton was stationed just outside the crease, grabbing the rebound and deftly moving it around the fallen netminder into a wide open net.

Dan Cleary cut the Sharks lead in half five minutes later after a pair of defensive mistakes opened the door for Detroit . First Valterri Filppula worked the puck out of the corner then left Ryane Clowe in the dust, before sliding a pass to Cleary in the slot. Cleary slipped past rookie defensema Derek Joslin and roamed untouched in the slot.

A series of unfortunate penalties would bite San Jose right before the 1st intermission. First Patrick Marleau was called for tripping after Todd Bertuzzi stepped on the Sharks forward’s stick blade and fell to the ice. Rob Blake would toss the puck over the glass, to earn a delay of game penalty 29 seconds later.

Detroit would take advantage of the two-man advantage when Zetterberg punched home a deflection off a Tomas Holmstrom shot from the top of the crease. Pavel Datsyuk threw the puck on net from the left circle, but Evgeni Nabokov made the save. Holmstrom was left unattended on the doorstep, but his put back attempt was denied by the Sharks netminder. Nabokov was didn’t have a third save in him as Zetterberg deposited the deflection in the Sharks net.

The tied had shifted and San Jose had no response. It took the Sharks almost nine minutes to record their first shot of the 2nd period. Both teams would fail to score in the middle period, but not for a lack of chances.

Red Wings defenseman Derek Meech took a holding penalty midway through the period, setting up a Sharks power play. Devin Setoguchi just missed putting the Sharks back on top when his backhand chance rang off the left post after Howard had fallen face down on the ice.

Patrick Eaves missed on a breakaway chance later in the period after Joslin misplayed the puck then tripped on the Detroit blueline. Nabokov stopped the scoring chance with a big stop, but it was only a mater of time before the Sharks would succumb to the pressure.

San Jose fell victim to some marginal officiating to open the 3rd period. First Ryane Clowe was sent off for boarding at 2:51, on a hit two feet from the boards. Then on the ensuing power play Sharks defenseman Jay Leach was hauled down behind he Sharks net, but no call was made. Meech would make it 3-2 with a shot from behind the Sharks net that deflected off Nabokov’s right leg pad, into the net.

Another defensive breakdown would cost the Sharks four minutes later, when Brian Rafalski hit Eaves with a 40-foot pass through the slot. Eaves was allowed to roam free just outside the left post, where he gathered the pass and slid into an open net to cap the evening’s scoring.

San Jose tried to make a push in the final three minutes, aided by a hooking penalty to Red Wings defenseman Niklas Lidstrom. The Sharks pulled Nabokov for the extra attacker, but Thornton was sent off for goaltender interference.

Still trying to make up the two goal deficit, the coup de grace came when Sharks captain Rob Blake had his stick snapped in half on a slash with referee Dean Morton staring right at him, but no call was made. Blake barked at Morton the entire way back to the bench as he skated to retrieve a new stick.

Game Notes:

The Sharks honored their Olympians in a pre-game ceremony, having each player accompanied by a child donning each of the five nations that will be represented by San Jose players.


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1 2 3 T
DET 2 0 2 4
SJ 2 0 0 2
1st period - 1, SJ, Thornton 14 (Heatley), 6:11. 2, SJ, Thornton 15 (Heatley, Demers), 9:45. 3, DET, Cleary 12 (Filppula, Holmstrom), 14:52. 4, DET, Zetterberg 14 (Holmstrom, Datsyuk), 18:58, (pp).
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 5, DET, Meech 2 (Bertuzzi, Filppula), 4:40, (pp). 6, DET, Eaves 9 (Rafalski, Draper), 8:58.
1st period - Zetterber (high sticking), 8:10; Murray, SJ (interference), 9:13; Marleau, SJ (tripping), 18:11; Blake, SJ (delay of game - puck over glass), 18:40.
2nd period - Meech, DET (holding), 8:42; Heatley, SJ (slashing), 14:20.
3rd period - Clowe, SJ (boarding), 2:51; Lidstrom, DET (hooking), 17:32; Thornton, SJ (goaltender interference), 17:55.
Shots Saves
DET - Howard 34 32
SJ - Nabokov 37 33
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
DET 11 13 13 37
SJ 16 8 10 34
Power Play Conversion
DET 2 of 6
SJ 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Tomas Holmstrom
Henrik Zetterberg
Joe Thornton
Referees: Kowal, Morton. Linesmen: Cvik, Sharrers.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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