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Red Wings sent packing
Sharks win series with 2-1 win in Game 5
5/8/10 - By Mike Lee -

After getting shellacked in Game 4, the Sharks made sure there would be no comeback after the eliminated the Detroit Red Wings with a 2-1 win at HP Pavilion on Saturday night. San Jose knocked off Detroit four games to one to advance to the Conference Finals for the second time in team history. The Sharks biggest names turned in the biggest performance of the playoffs, accounting for all the Sharks scoring, and defended against a mad rush in the last two minutes to preserve a one-goal lead late.

Joe Thornton played a monster game, scoring a goal and assisting on the game winner, but neither of those items was his biggest contribution. The big centerman was a wrecking ball in the game’s waning minutes, back-checking and tying up the puck while the Red Wings clawing to keep their season alive.

“The fact that it was a team that has been to the Stanley Cup finals the last couple years, a team that has quite frankly has had our number over the last little bit," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. "And then the ability to recover from the shellacking we took in their building. I think there were more questions there. There were a lot of things to overcome. Patty Marleau scores the winner. That’s great to see too because we had some individuals that heading into the playoffs had to answer some questions. And I think to this point they’ve done that.”

Patrick Marleau, the other target of the Sharks past playoff failures, scored the biggest goal of his career with 13 minutes left in regulation. Marleau won Game 3 with his overtime goal off a feed from Thornton . The pair would team up again on Saturday night to push the Sharks into the lead. Niklas Lidstrom tried winding the puck around the end boards, but Thornton intercepted it and whipped a pass out into the slot for Marleau’s one-time chance that beat Jimmy Howard.

The goal sent the sellout crowd into a rabid frenzy, knowing the series would come to an end if the sharks could hold on. They would do just that, suppressing the Red Wings push to extend their series.

"They've been great in the postseason for the last five or six years," Thornton said of the Red Wings. "To beat a team like that, it's a huge series win for us."

Sharks netminder Evgeni Nabokov played a big role in that, stopping all 14 shots Detroit threw at him in the 3rd period. The goaltender would stop all but one of the 34 pucks that qualified as shots. The netminder was forced to face a drove of pucks in the final five minutes, but unlike Game 4’s implosion, he would deny Detroit from getting anything past him.

"He's been the backbone of this team for the whole year," Thornton said of his netminder. "He played great. After last game, he bounced back so good and showed how mentally tough he is."

The chess match between the two teams was anything but the goal-fest that Detroit enjoyed two days earlier. The Sharks used home ice to try and seize control of the game early, but Howard weathered the storm.

Thornton missed on a back-hand chance from the top of the crease midway through the opening period. The centerman took a feed from Dany Heatley from the Detroit end boards. Thornton skated through the slot before backhanding a shot off the right post.

Johan Franzen was the only person to get his name on the score sheet in that opening period, by taking a pair of penalties. An interference penalty at 12:42, was followed by a hooking call late in the period after he tried hog-tying Thornton in the defensive zone.

San Jose would misfire on both power plays, but it allowed the Sharks to put 15 shots on Howard in the period. The eventual outcome was an injustice for the Red Wings goaltender, who played his best game of the series.

Brian Rafalski would score the game's first goal on a blast from the right point 2:40 into the 2nd period. Nabokov was partially screened by forward Todd Bertuzzi on the shot, which slipped inside the right post. Franzen earned the primary assist on the play, which tied him with Gordie Howe as the 2nd Red Wing to record at least one point in 12 consecutive playoff games.

Brad Stuart would take an elbowing penalty at 4:47, setting up Thornton ’s goal with San Jose ’s third power play of the contest. Rookie defenseman Jason Demers put a puck on net from the left point, bouncing his shot off Howard. Trolling though the slot, Heatley was there to kick the puck over to Thornton on the right side. With Howard on his back, Thornton flipped the Heatley feed into the wide open net to knot the game at 1-1.

As has been the case in each of the Sharks wins in the series, they took care of business in the 3rd period.

Joe Pavelski took a centering feed and split two defenders on his way to the Detroit net 3 minutes into the last period, and drove in on Howard for the scoring chance. Niklas Kronwall had to hook the Sharks centerman in order to prevent a goal. Referee Dan O’Halloran awarded the Sharks a penalty shot on the play, but Pavelski misfired on the chance, sending a shot high and wide.

Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray sent Franzen crumpling to the ice, with a shoulder check later in the period. The play also created an odd-man rush for San Jose , but Howard came up big by stoning Heatley from in tight.

Marleau would push the Sharks on top with his goal two minutes later.

Bertuzzi retaliated on the Franzen hit by taking out Murray with an elbow to the head earlier in the period. The elbow came as Murray was trying to fend off a check from another Red Wings forward on the opposite side. No penalty was called on the play, but Murray almost created an odd-man rush for the Red wings, because he took a moment to stagger back to the bench.

Scott Nichol just missed on putting the Sharks up by two goals with 4:30 to play on a point blank chance after Joe Thornton sent a backhand pass to the forward from behind the Detroit net.

"We gave them all the respect in the world," Nichol said of the Red Wings. "We knew if any team could come back from a 3-0 deficit, they could. We were focused and played hard tonight. The Colorado series was a great sereies for us. We had to overcome some adversity and we battled through it. We didn't get the bounces, and stuck to our game plan. It was kind of the same tonight. We were up 3-0 in the series, but they spanked us in the 4th game. We stayed the same course and didn't veer from our game plan."

Detroit head coach Mike Babcock pulled Howard with 1:38 to play for the extra attacker. Things would get dicey for San Jose when Dan Boyle was sent off for holding with 53 seconds left in regulation. Thornton , Pavelski, and defensemen Rob Blake and Marc-Edouard Vlasic would bail him out with the kill.

“I thought their team played hard," said Babcck. "I thought there good players were really good, and I thought their goalie was excellent. Todd (McLellan) and his group had them well prepared. To me, anytime you get to the final four, you have had a really good year. What they do with it; we will see here on in.”


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Scoring
1 2 3 T
DET 0 1 0 1
SJ 0 1 1 2
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, DET, Rafalski 3 (Franzen, Bertuzzi), 2:40. 2, SJ, Thornton 3 (Heatley, Demers), 4:54, (pp).
3rd period - Pavelski, SJ (missed penalty shot), 3:12. 3, SJ, Marleau 3 ( Thornton ), 6:59.
Penalties
1st period - Franzen, DET (interference), 12:42: Franzen, DET (hooking), 18:27.
2nd period - Stuart, DET (elbowing), 4:47; Pavelski, SJ (hooking), 5:32; Bertuzzi, DET (holding), 7:36; Boyle, SJ (tripping), 12:11; Vlasic, SJ (kneeing), 16:01.
3rd period - Boyle, SJ (holding), 19:07.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
DET - Howard 32 30
SJ - Nabokov 34 33
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
DET 6 14 14 34
SJ 15 3 14 32
Power Play Conversion
DET 0 of 4
SJ 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Joe Thornton
Evgeni Nabokov
Patrick Marleau
Attendence
17,562
Officials
Referees: O'Halloran, Peel. Linesmen: Morin, Murphy.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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