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Energy and initiative absent in Detroit
Sharks end road trip 2-3-0
10/22/16 - By Mike Lee -

The first road trip of the season came to a sputtering finish in Detroit on Saturday as the Sharks dropped a lifeless 3-0 decision to the host Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. The Red Wings muzzled a Sharks team that seemed ready to come home after splitting the first 4 games of the road trip. Gustav Nyquist scored a pair of 2nd period goals to provide Detroit with more offense than they would need against the lackluster Sharks.

Nothing seemed to click for the Sharks, who were making their final visit to Joe Louis Arena. The only way San Jose returns to the Red Wings historic home is if both teams reach the Stanley Cup Finals. Saturday night's performance by San Jose suggests that the Sharks have quite a bit of work to do if that's going to become a reality.

The gut punch loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins two days earlier did little to re-focus a Sharks lineup that was lethargic from top to bottom.

Nyquist took advantage, potting his two goals 11 minutes apart, while the Sharks made things easier by making little mistakes that opened up scoring opportunities. The Red Wings forward took advantage of Sharks defenseman Paul Martin who made the mistake of turning the wrong way off a change of possession in the Detroit zone. Nyquist then pounced on Martin's lack of any speed by racing up the right win before slamming on the breaksjust inside the right circle and snapping a shot that beat Martin Jones high glove side.

Matt Nieto setup Nyquist's next goal by turning the puck over in his own zone on what should have been a rush up ice for San Jose. The Sharks forward had the puck on his stick but as he started to accelerate out of the zone, he overskated it allowing Ryan Sproul to scoop it up and leave a drop pass for Nyquist. The Swede pivoted toward the net and snapped a shot between defenseman Justin Braun's skates. Braun served as the perfect screen, preventing Jones from seeing it soon enough to get the five-hole closed.

Having seen the Penguins comeback from a 2-goal deficit, the Sharks tried to take the complicated path to staging a comeback by committing 4 penalties in the period, including a double minor for spearing.

Overcoming a 2-goal gap is tough enough as it is, but the Sharks made it an impossible feat by skating down a man for 8 of the 20 minute period.

Losing faceoff draws is another trend that has been biting the Sharks as of late. The Sharks won only 37% of draws. It's a pretty basic. Win a faceoff and you control the puck. Lose, and you're chasing the other team trying to regain possession. The Sharks couldn't afford to chase the puck while also chasing a lead.

Second year centerman Andreas Athanasiou made any notion of a comeback a pipe dream when he cranked a blast from that left side past Jones. The London, Ontario native took a Tomas Vanek feed up the left wing and uncorked a 50-foot that that beat Jones to the high glove side once again.

San Jose limps home, with a 3-3-0 record on the season, slipping to 6th in the Western Conference standings. They faceoff against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night.

Game Notes:

* Sharks captain Joe Pavelski uncharacteristically lost his cool in the 3rd period, getting drawn into a skirmish with agitator extraordinaire Steve Ott. Pavelski was assessed a double minor after he speared Ott.

* One bright spot for San Jose was their penalty killing, which turned aside six Red Wing chances. Three of those kills came in the 3rd period with the Red Wings holding on to a comfortable 2-0 lead. Detroit looked content wil killing clock at that point in the game, but the need all the positives they can get.

* On the flip side, the Sharks power play sputtered along with the rest of the offense by going 0-for-4 with the man advantage.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 0 0 0 0
DET 0 2 1 3
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, DET, Nyquist 2 (Ericcson), 4:14. 2, DET, Nyquist 3 (Sproul), 15:10.
3rd period - 3, DET, Athanasiou 1 (Vanek), 6:05.
1st period - Vanek, DET (interference), 4:28; Pavelski, SJ (interference), 7:53; Dillon, SJ (boarding), 9:38; Bench, DET (faceoff violation), 13:29.
2nd period - Larkin, DET (hooking), 0:38; Vlasic, SJ (tripping), 17:31; Nyquist, DET (holding), 19:03.
3rd period - Burns, SJ (cross checking), 1:08; Pavelski, SJ (spearing - double minor), 6:22; Miller, DET (interference), 6:22; Ott, DET (unsportsmanlike conduct), 6:22; Braun, SJ (hooking), 7:45; Marleau, SJ (high sticking), 11:51.
Shots Saves
SJ - Jones 32 29
DET - Howard 30 30
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 6 12 12 30
DET 11 9 12 32
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 4
DET 0 of 6
3 Stars of the Game
Gustav Nyquist
Andreas Athanasiou
Jimmy Howard
Joe Louis Arena - 20,027
Referees: McIsaac, Skilliter. Linesmen: Berg, Driscoll.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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