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Red Wings add to Sharks misery
San Jose blows another 3rd period lead
2/26/15 - By Mike Lee -

After a four day hiatus, the Sharks were rested and primed to start their run back into the playoff picture. The visiting Detroit Red Wings were playing in their third game in four nights and were prime for the picking. The Sharks came out firing, looking like world beaters in the opening 20 minutes, then their season began to slip through their fingers. Like too many other implosions this season, the Sharks went into a shell and blew a 3rd period lead, succumbing to the Red Wings on a deflating on a Luke Glendening goal with 75 seconds left in regulation.

With 20 games remaining in the season and the Sharks trailing in the race for a playoff spot by 3 points, the Sharks need to take every point available to them, not give up leads in the 3rd period. 10 of their final 13 games are on the road, which doesn't bode well for their playoff hopes. Given the current standings, the Sharks must win anywhere from 13 to 15 of their remaining 20 games in order to make the playoffs.

It sees unlikely that a team that's gone 0-5-2 in their last 7 home games really positioned to win 13 to 15 of their remaining 20.

Thursday night's debacle was a perfect example of why that's not going to happen.

The Sharks started the game firing on all cylinders. They beat the Red Wings to every loose puck, scored early, and drew a pair of penalties. Then is all stopped.

Matt Irwin staked the Sharks to a 1-0 lead by firing a shot from the blueline that weaved through traffic, beating Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard. The goal was Irwin's 6th tally of the season.

The first kiss of death for San Jose came later in the period when they failed to capitalize on penalties to Tomas Jurco and Darren Helm. The Sharks ruled the Red Wings zone, but their special teams failed to challenge Howard.

Brent Burns took a questionable hooking penalty 3:10 into the 2nd period, setting up what would be the game's first tying goal. Teemu Pulkkinen converted on the ensuing power play after the Red Wings drew the Sharks defense over to one side of the rink before working it over to Pulkkinen on the left side. Stephen Weiss broke Marc-Edouard Vlasic's stick moments earlier with a slap shot, making the Sharks task of defending the penalty.

Jonathan Ericsson was sent off for interfering with Barclay Goodrow 3 minutes later, setting up the Sharks 3rd power play of the game. Patrick Marleau was Johnny on the spot, banging home a rebound after Joe Pavelski tried chipping a shot past Howard from just outside the right post. The goal was Marleau's 450th career score.

San Jose went into cruise control from that point forward. Detroit out-shot San Jose 31-8 over the final 40 minutes of play, but didn't strike until the 3rd period.

The Sharks made things even more difficult for themselves by taking the minor penalties in the final frame, including a 4 minute double minor by Matt Nieto for high sticking. San Jose killed off the penalties and looked destined to beat the Red Wings.

That all changed with 6:30 to play when Burns turned the puck over in his own zone, allowing the Red Wings to move the puck to Pavel Datsyuk who sat in the slot. The Russian magician, pulled the puck to his backhand and sent a shot past Antti Niemi to knot the game at 2-2.

Niemi had turned in one of his best performances of the year before Datsyuk ruined things. It was a pity given Niemi's performance.

San Jose's task at hand now was to simply get the game to overtime and salvage at least one point. It was a tall order given the team's lack of will. You could see the go-ahead goal coming as the Red Wings continued to press and own the Sharks zone.

Glendening took a Gustav Nyquit from the end boards and lifted a backhand shot as he spun from his left to right. Joe Thornton's powder soft attempt at defending Glendening inspired Niemi to bark a few words at the centerman after the go was swept out of his net. The netminder was visibly upset with the defensive support that was clearly lacking in front of him on the series.

A Joakim Andersson high sticking penalty with 41 seconds remaining setup one final tease for the few Sharks fans that chose to remain. The Sharks generated no shots on the abridged power play, which mirrored most of the final 40 minutes.

The loss was indicative of the Sharks decline and chances of actually making the playoffs this season.





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Scoring
1 2 3 T
DET 0 1 2 3
SJ 1 1 0 2
1st period - 1, SJ, Irwin 6 (Thornton, Hannan), 7:06.
2nd period - 2, DET, Pulkkinen 2 (Sheahan, Weiss), 3:53, (pp). 3, SJ, Marleau 13 (Pavelski, Couture), 6:51, (pp).
3rd period - 4, DET, Datsyuk 22 (Tatar, Dekeyser), 13:32. 5, DET, Glendening 8 (Nyquist, Dekeyser), 18:45.
Penalties
1st period - Wingels, SJ (roughing), 8:51; Jurco, DET (hooking), 11:19; Helm, DET (goaltender interference), 16:05.
2nd period - Burns, SJ (hooking), 3:10; Ericsson, DET (interference), 6:42; Andersson, DET (roughing), 8:17; Irwin, SJ (roughing), 8:17.
3rd period - Braun, SJ (holding), 4:51; Nieto, SJ (high sticking - double minor), 7:33; Smith, DET (hooking), 16:03; Couture, SJ (tripping), 16:03; Andersson, DET (high sticking), 19:19.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
DET - Howard 22 20
SJ - Niemi 35 32
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
DET 4 18 13 35
SJ 14 6 2 22
Power Play Conversion
DET 1 of 5
SJ 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Luke Glendening
Pavel Datsyuk
Antti Niemi
Attendance
17,562
Officials
Referees: Rehman, Rooney. Linesmen: Miller, Knorr.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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