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Punched in the mouth at the Joe
Red Wings dominate wire to wire
2/25/09 - By Mike Lee

It was billed as the battle of the west’s best, but it turned out to be nothing more than a reason to question why the Sharks ever even bother to travel to Detroit . San Jose took a punch in the gut for the second time this season at Joe Louis Arena, losing 4-1 in one of the most lop-sided losses of the season. The Sharks fell to 4-25-1-2 all-time in games against the Red Wings held in Michigan.

Detroit beat the Sharks by flat out dominating them in just about every facet of the game. The Red Wings set the tone early when Dan Cleary tried knocking out the Sharks top centerman, Joe Thornton, with a cheap shot that was reminiscent of Claude Lemieux’s hit on Chris Draper in the playoffs several years ago.

Cleary nailed Thornton in the numbers, forcing the centerman’s head into the glass. Thornton was a non-factor in the game from that point forward. Rather than rally around their fallen leader, the Sharks seemed to go into a shell. They would spend the remainder of the game chasing the Red Wings, rather than dictating play. The Red Wings were aided by the on-ice officials inability to call anything more than a minor penalty for boarding.

A questionable Tomas Plihal hooking penalty put the league’s best power play on the ice, but Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov made things easier for Detroit by letting a routine shot by Marion Hossa slip between his pads for a 1-0 Red Wings lead.

That sequence defined the game. Thornton gets creamed, but the Sharks don’t capitalize. Plihal goes to the box, and the Red Wings score.

Rookie Ville Leino scored a pretty goal with 3:52 left in the period after swatting a puck out of the air after a Kirk Maltby shot bounced off Nabokov, then fluttered across the crease to Leino on the off wing.

The Sharks appeared to score 18 seconds later after Joe Pavelski sent a shot off Red Wings goaltender Ty Conklin, that hit the right post, then dropped behind the netminder. Referee Dave Jackson signaled emphatically that it was a goal, but a lengthy review would result in the goal being overturned. Replays were inconclusive but the video replay officials ruled in favor of Detroit .

The breaks continued to go the Red Wings favor in the 2nd favor. A deflection off the protective netting that hangs over the end glass was missed by referees while the Sharks were on a power play in the offensive zone. Rather than a stoppage in play, Henrik Zetterberg picked defenseman Christian Ehrhoff’s pocket then raced up ice with the puck. Zetterberg put on the breaks near the top of the crease, allowing Ehrhoff to skate past him, then did a 360 degree spin before slipping his shot past Nabokov.

San Jose scored a goal on a similar non-call last season, when Devin Setoguchi scooped up a puck off the net and beat Chris Osgood for a goal.

Ehrhoff would get the Sharks on he board with a power play goal 2:17 later. Ryane Clowe parked himself in front of the net, screening Conklin as Ehrhoff sent in a blast from the point.

The Red Wings turned up the heat, taking away any opportunity for the Sharks to move the puck the remainder of the period.

San Jose put 12 shots on net in the 3rd period, but they were all of the long range variety that never challenged Conklin. A tripping penalty to Kronwall gave the Sharks a power play opportunity with 11:29 to play, but Kirk Maltby single handedly killed off 40 seconds of the penalty in the Sharks end with a strong forecheck.

A Jonathan Cheechoo tripping penalty with 4:42 left in the game gave the Red Wings their 5th power play of the game, then Dan Boyle vented some frustration with a slashing penalty which gave Detroit a 2-man advantage.

Zetterberg capped the scoring with his 24th of the season on a 5-on-3 power play with 3 minutes to play. The Red Wings forward faked a move toward the end boards, then cut back to the right post and tucked the puck inside Nabokov’s left skate for the 4-1 final.

Rob Blake capped the game with a roughing penalty with 55 seconds left in regulation after Valtteri Filppula sent in a shot on goal well after a whistle. Game Notes:

Hossa left the game after one period with an undisclosed injury. He did not return.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 0 1 0 1
DET 2 1 1 4
1st period - 1, DET, Hossa 34 (Kronwall, Franzen), 6:51, (pp). 2, DET, Leino 5 (Maltby, Draper), 16:08.
2nd period - 3, DET, Zetterberg 23 (Draper), 4:08, (sh). 4, SJ, Ehrhoff 7 (Michalek, Boyle), 6:25, (pp).
3rd period - 5, DET, Zetterberg 24 (Rafalski, Datsyuk), 17:03, (pp).
1st period - Cleary, DET (boarding), 2:02; Plihal (hooking), 5:22; Blake, SJ (high sticking), 7:34; Shelley, SJ (unsportsmanlike conduct), 10:47; Samuelsson, DET (unsportsmanlike conduct), 10:47; Thornton, SJ (high sticking), 11:49; Franzen, DET (interference), 16:40.
2nd period - Thornton, SJ (holding), 0:12; Datsyuk, DET (tripping), 3:10; Franzen, DET (hooking), 6:12; Blake, SJ (holding), 6:59.
3rd period - Kronwall, DET (tripping), 8:31; Draper, DET (delay of game – puck over glass), 12:10; Cheechoo, SJ (tripping), 15:18; Boyle, SJ (slashing), 16:24; Zetterberg, DET (interference), 18:08; Blake, SJ (roughing), 19:05.
Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 33 29
DET - Conklin 35 34
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 12 11 12 35
DET 7 17 9 33
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 7
DET 2 of 7
3 Stars of the Game
Henrik Zetterberg
Ville Leino
Pavel Datsyuk
Referees: Dwyer, Jackson. Linesmen: Arnell, Devorski.

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