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Sharks inspi(red) in win over Wings
Sharks take season series with 3-1 win
3/3/11 - By Mike Lee -

There are either a lot of Michigan transplants in the Bay Area, or Detroit Red Wing fans made a pilgrimage to HP Pavilion on Thursday night. The Tank oozed red as the Sharks and Red Wings faced off for the fourth and final time in the regular season this year. San Jose would put together an all-around complete game en route to a 3-1 win over Detroit before a packed house. Dany Heatley would score a pair of goals and Antti Niemi made 26 saves to lead the Sharks to their 8th straight win.

With the win, San Jose would take the season series 3-1-0, taking the last three games from the Red Wings. The Sharks had the advantage of an extra days rest with Detroit losing in overtime in Anaheim less than 24 hours earlier. The Red Wing fatigue showed early, as San Jose out-shot Detroit 12-1 at one point in the 1st period.

Heatley opened the game's scoring just 3:51 into the contest on a put back from the Red Wings doorstep. Ian White floated a puck in from the right point that goaltender Joey MacDonald blocked but did not cover. Heatley stabbed at it from the left side of the crease, pushing his 21st goal of the season past MacDonald.

With San Jose owning the ice early, Douglas Murray would wake of the visitors with a jarring check on Dan Cleary, which sent the Red Wings winger sprawling near his bench.

Kris Draper tried to reciprocate with a hit on Niclas Wallin that planted the Sharks defenseman head first into the boards. Draper would earn a two minute penalty for boarding, but the Sharks would fail to capitalize.

Logan Couture would get called for a ticky-tack hooking penalty at 10:10 of the period, but San Jose would counter on the penalty kill by denying any quality chances on Niemi.

Justin Baun was sent off at 16:59 for flipping a puck over the glass to put the Red Wings back on the man advantage but this time they would make doubly sure to get one past Niemi. Detroit appeared to score just seconds into the penalty when Niklas Kronwall fired a shot into the Sharks net from the right wing boards, but the would be goal was waved off because Johan Franzen was ruled to be in the crease.

Tomas Holmstrom would convert later on the same power play, deflecting a Mike Modano shot past Niemi with 1:41 left in the period. San Jose missed on an opportunity to clear the puck allowing Niklas Lidstrom to keep the play alive and setup the goal with a pass to Modano on the left side. It was a simple mistake by the Sharks, but simple mistakes against the Red Wings typically end up in the net.

San Jose would score their own power play goal 3:54 into the 2nd period after Holmstrom was sent off for hooking. Joe Pavelski would setup the goal with a pass to the low slot from the right dot that Heatley redirected past MacDonald. What really made the goal impressive was Heatley's hand-eye coordination as he got his stick on the ankle-high pass to redirect it perfectly into a wide open net.

"Positionally strong tonight, skated well, created opportunities to score, went to the net," Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said of Heatley after the gem. "It's a pretty good recipe for him."

The Red Wings were awarded another power play with 7 minutes to play in the period on an interference call on Torrey Mitchell. San Jose would kill the penalty then kill the rest of the period in the Detroit zone. A feisty forecheck would keep the puck pinned for a good chunk of the remaining 5 minutes, but the Red Wings withstood the pressure to keep it a one-goal game heading into the 2nd intermission.

MacDonald was forced to make a circus save 3 min into the 3rd period on a Mitchell chance from the slot. That high light would be followed by a gaff that the Red Wings goaltender won't soon forget.

With four minutes remaining in the contest, Joe Thornton dumped a puck deep in the Detroit zone as his linemate Patrick Marleau pursued. MacDonald stepped out of his crease to try and sweep the puck out to his offense, but his clearing attempt hit Marleau and deflected into his net 12 feet away.

"Its funny what happens when you go hard patty didn't even shoot it and he scored," said McLellan. "It's funny how it works, sometimes you have to get the ugly." The goal was just the insurance the Sharks needed to close the contest out. Detroit head coach Mike Babcock would pull MacDonald with two minutes remaining to try and generate some offense, but it was prove fruitless.

Heatley had a chance to complete the hat-trick when he found himself with the puck along the right wing boards and nothing between him and the goal. He would rush his shot from outside the blueline, missing the net with the puck sailing over the crossbar.

"I thought we got through the first ten minutes," said Babcock. "We got the game at 1-1. I thought we were better there than in the second period. In the end they scored a power play goal there to go up 2-1. But I thought it was a real good road game for us here tonight."

Game Notes:

With his assist on Heatley's goal, Joe Thornton is now in sole possession of 55th place on the NHL All-Time Assist List (684) and of 80th place on the NHL All-Time Points List (985).


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1 2 3 T
DET 1 0 0 1
SJ 1 1 1 3
1st period - 1, SJ, Heatley 21 (White, Marleau), 3:51. 2, DET, Holmstrom 14 (Modano, Lidstrom), 18:19, (pp).
2nd period - 3, SJ, Heatley 22 (Pavelski, Thornton), 3:54, (pp).
3rd period - 4, SJ, Marleau 25 (unassisted), 15:48.
1st period - Draper, DET (boarding), 5:58; Couture, SJ (hooking), 10:10; Braun, SJ (delay of game - puck over glass), 16:59; Franzen, DET (roughing), 18:07; Vlasic, SJ (roughing), 18:07; Kronwall, DET (slashing), 20:00; Thornton, SJ (roughing), 20:00.
2nd period - Holmstrom, DET (hooking), 3:14; Mitchell, SJ (holding), 12:43.
3rd period - Kindl, DET (hooking), 13:07.
Shots Saves
DET - MacDonald 28 25
SJ - Niemi 27 26
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
DET 10 12 5 27
SJ 15 5 8 28
Power Play Conversion
DET 1 of 3
SJ 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Dany Heatley
Patrick Marleau
Antti Niemi
Referees: Dwyer, Watson. Linesmen: Cvik, Sericolo.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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