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Sharks scary good vs Detroit
McLellan shows his old boss a thing or two
10/30/08 - By Mike Lee

Perhaps Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock is on to something. Babcock called the Sharks one of the two best teams in the league on Thursday morning. He may up that a notch, after watching the Sharks dismantle his Red Wings on Thursday night 4-2 before a sold out HP Pavilion. Former Babcock protégé Todd McLellan rolled four lines that pounced on a Red Wings team that lost in overtime less than 24 hours earlier. Four different Sharks scored, including rookie Jamie McGinn, who notched his first career NHL goal.

McLellan took advantage of his former team's fatigue by having his new team apply a constant dose of pressure early and often. It's not usual to see a guy like Mike Grier logging 6 hits during a hockey game, but when one of your superstars is right behind him, as Joe Thornton was (5 hits), then you know the game means something.

San Jose out-hit the Red Wings 29-16, and it showed. They would outshoot Detroit 12-5 in the opening period, and the cracks in the Red Wing armor began to show. Defensive lapses by Detroit started to be exposed.

Babcock had lots of praise for his former assistant after the game.

"I Think he's doing a real good job," Babcock said. "His team is in first place, they're playing well, his team is excited…we just didn't have any jump tonight."

Thornton missed on a golden opportunity with 7 minutes remaining in the period, when Patrick Marleau drew Brett Lebda over to the right wing boards with the puck. That opened up Thornton on the weak side with nothing but ice between him and the Red Wings goaltender. MArleau feathered a pass across the rink and only a big save by Red Wings goaltender Ty Conklin preserved the 0-0 tie.

Joe Paveski would follow that up a minute later with a point blank shot that Conklin deflected with his glove.

The only blemish for the Sharks in the period came after a Rob Blake holding penalty gave Detroit the games first power play opportunity. Brian Rafalski just missed converting after clanking a shot off the left post with a blast from the blueline through traffic.

All the Sharks hard work was erased early in the 2nd period when a seemingly benign shot off the stick of Marion Hossa squeezed through Nabokov's pads. Hossa took a drop from Tomas Holmstrom along the right wing boards before cutting back toward the slot. He snapped a wrister from 30 feet that somehow found the netting.

Rather than energize the Red Wings, Hossa's goal seemed to light a fire under the Sharks bench.

Marleau and Thornton would team up to get the Sharks on the board at 7:01 on a textbook feed from behind the net. After Devin Setoguchi won a scrum for the puck near the left corner, Thornton stick-handled along the end boards from left to right, then slipped a pass through the crease. Breaking toward the net from the slot, Marleau easily banged home the puck into a wide open net.

McGinn would bag his first NHL goal moments later after hacking at a loose puck in front of Conklin. A dump-in hopped over the back of the net, where McGinn pushed a pass over to Tomas Plihal who was parked next to the right post. Plihal tried pushing the puck on net from a tight angle, only to see it deflect off Conklin. McGinn followed up the play by sticking his nose into the middle of the action and was rewarded for his persistence.

Playing in only his second game as a Shark, getting the first goal out of the way was a huge boost for the youngster's confidence.

"It's something you dream as a kid," McGinn said after the game.

Ryane Clowe added to Conklin's nightmarish stretch with the Sharks 3rd goal at 10:26 of the period after Hossa was sent off for tripping. Following a simple dump in, the puck found its way to Milan Michalek in the left corner. Clowe navigated to the slot which was devoid of Detroit defenders, which allowed for a hefty one-timer off the Michalek feed. All Conklin could do was wave at the shot as it sailed past him.

The Red Wings had no answers as the Sharks seemed to turn up the heat even more after Clowe's goal.

"It's tough to go into their building," Clowe said. "It's tough to come in here. We're ready to put the choke hold on teams."

Pavelski made it 4-1 at 6:08 of the 3rd period on a beautiful feed from Setoguchi. McGinn added an assist to his scoring totals by cycling the puck along the left wing boards to initiate things. Setoguchi took the feed and found slicing his way through the slot. Three Red Wings defenders watched the pass thread past them for the tap in by Pavelski.

Rafalski would score a meaningless goal with 32 seconds remaining in regulation to cap the night's scoring.

The win moved the Sharks past the Red Wings for the best record in the west, but more importantly McLellan has his first win over his former team. When asked if McLellan provided any motivation to his team before the game, Clowe was coy.

"We knew how important (the win over Detroit) was to him, but no, there were no speeches."

Game Notes:

McGinn acknowledged the crowd from the bench after some coaxing from veteran Jeremy Roenick. When asked by reporters about the moment, McGinn was all smiles. "I didn't know what to do. I was in shock." Torrey Mitchell was walking without the use of crutches in the press box during the game, albeit gingerly.


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1 2 3 T
DET 0 1 1 2
SJ 0 3 1 4
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, DET, Hossa 6 (Holmstrom), 0:18. 2, SJ, Marleau 6 (Thornton, Setoguchi), 7:01. 3, SJ, McGinn 1 (Plihal, Shelley), 9:02. 4, SJ, Clowe 4 (Michalek, Pavelski), 10:26, (pp).
3rd period - 5, SJ, Pavelski 5 (Setoguchi, McGinn), 6:08. 6, DET, Rafalski 2 (Kopecky, Filppula), 19:28.
1st period - Blake, SJ (holding), 15:18.
2nd period - Hossa, DET (tripping), 9:14; Samuelsson, DET (hooking), 12:48.
3rd period - Cleary, DET (roughing), 6:52; Ehrhoff, SJ (roughing), 6:52; Maltby, DET (roughing), 10:54; Thornton, SJ (interference), 10:54; Cheechoo, SJ (high sticking), 16:32.
Shots Saves
DET - Conklin 33 29
SJ - Nabokov 27 25
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
DET 5 8 14 27
SJ 12 15 6 33
Power Play Conversion
DET 0 of 2
SJ 1 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Jamie McGinn
Devin Setoguchi
Patrick Marleau
Referees: Sutherland, Walsh. Linesmen: Heyer, Schachte.

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