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Sharks take early lead in game and series
Pavelski continues to shine in 4-3 win
4/29/10 - By Mike Lee -

The NHL’s marquee Conference Semi-Final match-up between the San Jose Sharks and Detroit Red Wings kicked off on Thursday night in the Bay Area, and if Game was any indication, this is going to be one heck of a series. The Sharks scored three 1st period goals, then hung on to take a 4-3 decision in the best of seven series. Joe Pavelski continued to wield a hot hand, scoring a pair of power play goals to lead San Jose.

“I think if you follow the team and watched his play he’s been pretty inspirational," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan of Pavelski. "He’s scored some real big goals and again tonight he found a way to make an impact on the game. That’s what the playoffs are about. You have to raise your game up a little bit.”

Detroit fought back to make a game of it with goals in each of the three periods, setting up a wild finish before a raucous sellout crowd. The Red Wings erased San Jose ’s 3-0 lead with a meticulous pressure most of the game. The Sharks would extend their lead to 4-2 early in the 3rd period, but The Red Wings continued to claw at their deficit, pulling to within a goal with 17 minutes to play.

San Jose would clamp down on the Red Wings over the final 15 minutes, limiting Detroit to 4 shots on goal. That didn’t mean Sharks netminder Evgeni Nabokov had a light load to deal with during that span. Nabokov had plenty of action in front of his net, most notably during the final minute and a half when Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard was pulled for an extra attacker.

The buffer San Jose afforded themselves was just the start head coach Todd McLellan was looking for. After a jittery start by both teams, the Sharks began to assert themselves.

Joe Thornton setup the games first legitimate scoring chance 6:30 in, by feathering a pass to Devin Setoguchi from behind the Red Wings net. Setoguchi pumped the one-time chance from in tight, forcing Howard to turn aside the short0range shot.

"We haven't won a Game 1 in here in a long time," said Thornton. "So we just wanted to focus on the start. I thought we had a good start."

A slashing penalty to Valteri Filpula at 8:47 followed offsetting roughing penalties to Torrey Mitchell and Tomas Holmstrom, giving the Sharks a brief 4-on-3 power play.

The Sharks would capitalize with Pavelski’s first power play goal moments after Mitchell and Holmstrom stepped back onto the ice. Pavelski put a one-time chance past Jimmy Howard for his 6th goal of the playoffs. Dan Boyle fed the centerman the puck from the right wing boards, allowing Pavelski to sweep a shot to the left side of the net.

Dany Heatley would make it 2-0 just 56 seconds later on a one-time chance in tight after Thornton made the feed from behind the net. Thornton had to fight off a hook from defenseman Andreas Lilja in order to pursue the puck behind the net. With the delayed penalty chance, Thornton caught Heatley down the slot before setting up Heatley with a perfect pass.

The Sharks capitalized on a fortuitous bounce 23 seconds later, when Setoguchis Setoguchi would zero in on a deflection off a pass from Pavelski to complete the bum rush. Pavelski was trying to move the puck, when it was partially blocked by a Detroit defender. It landed right in front of Setoguchi who swatted home his 4th goal of the playoffs. That goal would give San Jose three tallies in 79 seconds, establishing a new franchise record for fastest three goals in a playoff game.

Detroit would answer at 11:40 of the period on a huge defensive lapse by San Jose . Sharks defenseman Kent Huskins and Jason Demers were lured out wide of the San Jose goal, leaving Dan Cleary unguarded in front of Nabokov. Jonathan Ericsson whipped a pass from the right corner to Cleary on the far post for the easy tap in.

Dan Boyle took a ticky-tack interference penalty with 3 minutes left in the period after clipping Chris Draper’s skate as the Detroit forward tried skating down a puck in the right corner. Draper was not tripped, but Boyle earned a two minute visit to the penalty box, but San Jose killed off the penalty.

Killing penalties was something the Sharks excelled at, denying the Red Wings on five chances.

"Our special teams really was the difference tonight," said Heatley. "We had a couple of big power play goals and the penalty kill was solid."

Thornton stirred the pot right before the 1st intermission by spraying Howard as the goaltender tried covering a puck. The Red Wings took exception and went after the big centerman. Thornton skated away trying to goad Detroit into a penalty, but the officials let the shenanigans go.

The Red Wings grabbed the momentum to start the 2nd period by controlling the puck early. Johan Franzen would cut the Sharks lead to a lone goal by whipping a shot past Nabokov after cutting across the slot. Pavel Datsyuk setup the play by chipping a Sharks clearing attempt to Franzen from the right wing boards.

Dan Cleary drew a stoppage with 2:13 left in the period after a rough ride through the neutral zone. He collided with teammate Justin Abdelkader, knocking him over. As he was falling to the ice, Sharks defenseman ran into him from behind, inadvertently hitting him in the head with his hip.

Franzen and Valteri Filppula would take penalties less than a minute apart, just before the 2nd intermission. The Sharks had 47 seconds of 4-on-3 time to start the 3rd period and they would make good use of it.

Franzen was not enthused by the call, after he was cut by Setoguchi’s stick as the Sharks forward fell to the ice after being up-ended by the Red Wings forward. The Red Wings expected a 4-minute infraction to Setogushi, but their pleas would fall on deaf ears.

Pavelski would convert 50 seconds in to the final period on the 5-on-3, taking a feed from Boyle on the left side and jamming a shot through Howard’s five-hole, for his 7th tally of the playoffs.

"I think the whole message of this series is that nobody is quitting," said Pavelski. "If you lose that first game, that desperation goes up, so it's important for us to realize how they're feeling over there and not take any steps back. It was good winning the first game at home."

Detroit would answer 2 minutes later when Datsyuk made a pretty touch pass to Brian Rafalski for the slapper from the right dot. The Russian forward had his back to the Sharks goal when Franzen sent a feed to him in the low slot. Datsyuk redirected the puck to his left, where Rafalski was pinching. The defensman would snap the puck past Nabokov, trimming the Sharks lead to a lone goal.

A tripping call on Niklas Kronwall with less than 12 minutes remaining in regulation didn’t help Detroit ’s cause, eating up valuable minutes. The Sharks would make it an entertaining two minutes, capped a backhand chance off of Blake’s stick that just missed wide after Howard was caught out of the net.

Cleary would level Ryane Clowe from behind, sending the Sharks forward dangerously into the boards with 6 minutes to play but no penalty was called. The Red Wings were able to advance the puck and generate a scoring chance while Clowe hobbled to the bench.

As the clock whittled down, Babcock was forced to pull Howard with 90 seconds remaining in regulation for an extra attacker. Detroit ’s comeback bid was stifled by solid defensive play, including Manny Malhotra’s forecheck after a clear into the Detroit zone. The Sharks forward ate up valuable seconds after pinning the puck along the boards.

“We thought we were right there," said Babcock. "They got the two goals and then there was a T.V timeout, then they shot the puck in our net one more time. We wish we could have the 5-on-3 power play back. We had it all covered off, but they put it in the net, but that’s just the way it is sometimes.”

Game Notes

Pavelski 5-on-3 goal in the 3rd period was the first for the Sharks since November 25th, when San Jose fell 7-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks scored three short-handed goals in that game. Dan Boyle’s three assists tied a franchise record for most assists in a playoff game.


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Scoring
1 2 3 T
DET 1 1 1 3
SJ 3 0 1 4
1st period - 1, SJ, Pavelski 6 (Boyle, Demers), 9:05, (pp). 2, SJ, Heatley 1 (Thornton, Demers), 10:01. 3, SJ, Setoguchi 4 (Pavelski, Boyle), 10:24. 4, DET, Cleary 1 (Ericsson, Abdelkader), 11:40.
2nd period - 5, DET, Franzen 2 (Datsyuk), 4:45.
3rd period - 6, SJ, Pavelski 7 (Boyle, Heatley), 0:50, (pp). 7, DET, Rafalski 1 (Datsyuk, Franzen), 2:57.
Penalties
1st period - Holmstrom, DET (roughing), 7:00; Mitchell, SJ (roughing), 7:00; Filppula, DET (slashing), 8:47; Murray, SJ (interference), 12:18.; Boyle, SJ (interference), 16:53.
2nd period - Heatley, SJ (slashing), 5:25; Bertuzzi, DET (slashing), 6:39; Heatley, SJ (tripping), 8:06; Lilja, DET (high sticking), 10:32; Ericsson, DET ( roughing), 10:32; Couture, SJ (roughing), 10:32; Franzen, DET (tripping), 18:57; Filppula, DET (high sticking), 19:53.
3rd period - Kronwall, DET (tripping), 8:17; Nichol, SJ (delay of game - puck over glass), 10:47.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
DET - Howard 27 23
SJ - Nabokov 23 20
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
DET 10 8 5 23
SJ 10 5 12 27
Power Play Conversion
DET 0 of 5
SJ 2 of 6
3 Stars of the Game
Joe Pavelski
Dan Boyle
Pavel Datsyuk
Attendence
17,562
Officials
Referees: Devorski, Furlatt. Linesmen: Miller, Murray.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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