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Sharks finally sweep in Motown
Sharks and Wings combine for 81 shots
2/22/11 - By Mike Lee -

It took twenty seasons, but the Sharks finally swept a season series against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. The Sharks would grind out a wild 4-3 victory on Tuesday night to take both games in Detroit and extend their hot streak. Devin Setoguchi continued his hot streak with a pair of goals to help San Jose win in what has arguably been a house of horrors for the Sharks. Antti Niemi outdueled Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard in an up-tempo affair that saw a combined 81 shots on goal. Joe Thornton stepped up by scoring a goal and adding two assists.

The win extended the Sharks consecutive win streak at Joe Louis Arena to three games, dating back to last spring's playoff series against the Red Wings. Detroit looked like they were committed to prevent San Jose from taking both games on their home ice, with a spirited opening ten minutes that had the Sharks backed into a corner.

Niemi and his teammates would weather the storm, not trying to get too fancy in their own end. The approach was the perfect approach for a hostile building that has historically been unkind to San Jose.

Logan Couture played the role of pinata midway through the period, getting cut with a high stick by Jonathan Ericsson at 9:46. The infraction would earn Ericsson a double minor, but the power play almost bit the Sharks when Darren Helm stepped in front of a pass and raced up ice for a short-handed breakaway chance. Dan Boyle would get back to disrupt Helm scoring chance, and then Niklas Lidstrom would cut Couture again for another high sticking call moments later.

The on-ice officials refused to give Lidstrom a double minor, even though Couture had a second cut on his face. Regardless, the Sharks were awarded a lengthy 5-on-3 power play, but they would squander the golden chance with a disjointed attack that seemed timid and unwilling to pressure the Red Wings defense. San Jose's power play made Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard look like the second coming of Mike Vernon.

Ryane Clowe would get called for a Joe Louis Arena tripping special with 4:19 to play in the period, but San Jose escaped without sustaining any damage on the scoreboard.

Jiri Hudler would take a costly penalty with 19.2 seconds left in the period for holding Ryane Clowe. Rather than playing with the puck as they had on their two-man advantage earlier in the period, San Jose struck quickly. Joe Thornton would punch a deflection past with 8 ticks left before the intermission, after Dan Boyle fired a shot in on net from the blueline. Boyle's shot hit Joe Pavelski in the skate as he stood in the slot, trickling the puck toward the left post. Thornton was hovering in the vicinity, putting the puck past Howard for his 300th career goal.

Cuts to the face were the theme of the evening. Dan Boyle would take a skate blade to the face early in the 2nd period after he was tied up with Hudler behind the Sharks net. Boyle fell to the ice, just as Hudler's boot whipped around, catching the Sharks defenseman on the cheek to the left of his nose.

The Red Wings would tie the game at 7:06 of the period after Dan Cleary jammed a deflection past Antti Niemi from the right side. Hudler jumped on a rebound after Lidstrom sent in a blast from the point, putting a backhand chance on net that bounced off Niemi's left pad. The puck appeared to be headed into the goal, but Cleary made sure of it by following the shot with his own stick.

After Cleary's goal, Niemi would start to see a steady stream of pucks. The Sharks netminder would make a tough save with 7:50 remaining in the period, fighting off a shot from the right side that was screened through a bushel of red out in front of the crease.

Ryane Clowe would negate all that Red Wing pressure when he stepped in front of a Red Wings pass at his own blueline, then raced up ice undefended. He would put a backhanded move on Howard for his 17th goal of the season.

San Jose would drop their guard and allow Detroit to tie the game just 33 seconds later. It was Cleary once again, jamming his own rebound between Niemi and the left post after Hudler pushed the puck down low from the right point.

San Jose would bite Howard late for a second straight period, when Devin Setoguchi deposited a Thornton feed with 77 seconds left before the break. Thornton grabbed a loose puck near the left post before racing around the net and sliding a pass to Setoguchi on the right side. Setoguchi deflected the pass as Todd Bertuzzi was riding him into the net. The puck would cross the goal line with Setoguchi right behind it.

The Sharks would take to the offensive to start the 3rd period, clearly not wanting to sit back and allow the Red Wings to dictate things. Howard would stand on his head, making spectacular stops on Setoguchi and Couture in a wild flurry midway through the period.

Niemi would match Howard with a big kick save with 7:48 left in regulation.

Setoguchi would give the Sharks some breathing room with 6:48 left on a rocket blast from the high slot. Thornton would draw the puck into the right corner, before making the diagonal feed to Setoguchi who was trailing on the play.

Dany Heatley would be sent off for interference with 2:17 to play, giving the Red Wings the man-advantage late. That crack was enough to allow Detroit to make it a one-goal lead. Henrik Zetterberg would deposit a cross-ice feed from the left circle after the Sharks overloaded the right side.

Detroit would pull Howard with 45 seconds left for the extra attacker.

Johan Franzen appeared to have a sure goal with 21 seconds left, but Niemi made a spectacular kick save to save the game for San Jose. Franzen grabbed a loose puck in the slot then kated from right to left, before sweeping the would-be goal into Niemi's pad.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 1 2 1 4
DET 0 2 1 3
1st period - 1, SJ, Thornton 15 (Pavelski, Boyle), 19:52, (pp).
2nd period - 2, DET, Cleary 20 (Hudler, Lidstrom), 7:06. 3, SJ, Clowe 17 (unassisted), 14:08. 4, Cleary 21 (Hudler, Kronwall), 14:42. 5, SJ, Setoguchi 16 (Thornton, Couture), 18:43.
3rd period - SJ, Setoguchi 17 (Thornton, Couture), 13:12. 7, Zetterberg 18 (Holmstrom, Franzen), 18:09, (pp).
1st period - Ericsson, DET, (high sticking - double minor), 9:46; Lidstrom, DET (high sticking), 11:28; Clowe, SJ (tripping), 14:19; Hudler, DET (holding), 19:41.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - Heatley, SJ (interference), 17:43.
Shots Saves
SJ - Niemi 38 35
DET - Howard 43 39
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 18 13 12 43
DET 10 15 13 38
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 4
SJ 1 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Joe Thornton
Devin Setoguchi
Dan Cleary
Referees: McCreary, Rooney. Linesmen: Barton, Driscoll.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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