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Sharks take care of business at home
SJ grabs a 2-0 lead in series heading to Motown
5/1/11 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks took care of business on Sunday afternoon, taking Game 2 from the Detroit Red Wings in their Western Conference Semi-Final matchup with a 2-1 victory. Powered by goals from defensemen Ian White and Niclas Wallin, San Jose took a 2-0 lead in the series. Sharks netminder Antti Neimi stopped 33 shots to earn his 3rd consecutive win in the playoffs.

There was no shortage of drama in the battle of the two powerhouses. San Jose jumped out to a 2-0 lead, then held off the Red Wings with one of their most impressive performances in the playoffs.

The adrenaline was flowing early in the contest. Ryane Clowe was sent off for roughing just 59 seconds into the game. San Jose killed the penalty, then spent two minutes on the power play themselves after Justin Abdelkader caught Logan Couture in the face with a high stick.

White made the Red Wings pay for Abdelkader's infraction by pumping his 1st career playoff goal past Jimmy Howard at 4:45. White took a feed from Dany Heatley at the bluline, then cranked a shot that hit the top left corner of the net. Howard couldn't pick up the puck with a heavy dose of bodies parked in front of him.

Benn Ferriero was sent off for high sticking Abdelkader at 6:23, earning a 4 minute stay for drawing blood. Datsyuk hit the post with a shot from the right dot.

The Red Wings started to show a little frustration as the period wore on, by pushing and shoving in front of the Sharks net. Todd Bertuzzi and Marc-Edouard Vlasic would take off-setting roughing minors with 4 minutes left before the 1st intermission.

With the teams skating 4-on-4, Henrik Zetterberg took a high sticking penalty, but the Sharks couldn't capitalize. The period ended with Detroit holding a 12-7 advantage on the shot-counter, but San Jose carried their one-goal lead into the break.

Tomas Holmstrom was sent off for holding 2:27 into the 2nd period, but the Red Wings created the best scoring chance when Patrick Eaves picked Jason Demers pocket at the Sharks blueline and raced up ice on a breakaway chance. Antti Niemi diffused the situation with a pad save, but Joe Pavelski took an interference penalty moments later to even things up.

San Jose once again killed off the penalty, although they backed off the neutral zone pressure that allowed the Red Wings to penetrate the Sharks zone.

Datsyuk missed on a point blank chance at the 8 minute mark. Niemi smothered the scoring chance, then got to watch Eager get sent off with a 10 minute misconduct after trying to engage Bertuzzi.

Brian Raflaski put the Sharks on the power play at 9:33 after sending the puck over the glass from the defensive zone. Pavel Datsyuk broke his stick at the start of the penalty, but the Sharks couldn't get the puck on net. Ruslan Salei followed Datsyuk by dropping his twig on the ensuing faceoff, opening up another hole for the Sharks, but Howard made an outstanding save to keep the game at 1-0.

Howard came up big again with 7 minutes left in the period when Heatley redirected a Douglas Murray shot to the net. The Red Wing goaltender kicked his right skate out to stop the low bullet.

Datsyuk saved Howard's bacon after a Murray shot skipped through the netminder's pads. Parked on eh left post, Datsyuk was able to sweep the puck safely away from the Detroit goal line.

Detroit head coach Mike Babcock would pull the gamesmanship card after his team was called for icing late in the period. He tried to make a substitution in order to stall and get his players some rest. A lengthy exchange between the coach and on-ice officials resulted in a free timeout for his team and plenty of rest following the icing. Babcock played referees Kevin Pollack and Kelly Sutherland like a pair of high school officials.

Niemi preserved the lead with a big kick save off a Zetterberg shot from the right circle. He would follow that up with another save on a Jonathan Ericsson blast moments later.

San Jose opened the 3rd period with a flurry of scoring chances after Patrick Marleau skated up on a 2-on-1. Howard made himself wide and denied the Sharks on 4 or 5 chances from inside 6 feet.

Wallin made it 2-0 at 1:39, racing up the left wing and firing a shot off Howard that flipped over the Red Wings goaltender and into the net. Howard got a glove hand up, but the shot clipped his mitt and floated into the goal for Wallin's 1st of the playoffs.

Joe Thornton wiped out Holmstrom in the neutral zone, but took an interference penalty for his trouble. Holmstrom lost his cool on a stoppage in front of the Sharks net and off-set Thornton's infraction with a roughing minor.

Patrick Marleau setup a pretty scoring chance for Devin Setoguchi on a partial break, feathering a pass to his linemate on the left side, but Howard made a nice pad save to deny the Sharks winger.

Niemi made the save of the game with 10 to play stopping a blast from Lidstrom from the point, then getting a pad out to stone Cleary from the left side.

Heatley missed on a 2-on-1 chance 2 minutes later, clanking a shot off the right post with a cannon shot from the top of the left circle.

Setoguchi was sent off for cross checking at 13:22 to put the Red Wings on the power play for the 5th time on the afternoon. Detroit finally got on the board on a pretty shot from Zetterberg at 13:58. Datsyuk setup the goal from the right side, hitting Zetterberg in the slot, before the winger snapped a shot over Niemi's right pad.

The goal snapped a 111 minute shutout streak by Niemi.

Lidstrom hit the post with 2 minutes to play, before San Jose iced the puck. Sharks head coach Todd McLellan elected not to use his timeout, which worked out for San Jose after the defense worked the puck out of their zone.

Babcock pulled Howard with a minute play, opening up his own net for the extra attacker. Detroit worked the puck into the Sharks zone, but a shot deflected off Walling and out of play with 13.1 seconds left. McLellan called timeout to setup the final defensive approach.

Thornton won the final faceoff allowing the Sharks to push the puck out and run the clock to victory.

Game Notes


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1 2 3 T
DET 0 0 1 1
SJ 1 0 1 2
1st period - 1, SJ, White 1 (Heatley, Clowe), 4:54, (pp).
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 2, SJ, Wallin 1 (Clowe, Couture), 1:39. 3, DET, Zetterberg 1 (Datsyuk, Holmstrom), 13:58, (pp).
1st period - Clowe, DET (roughing), 0:59; Abdelkader, DET (high sticking), 3:11; Ferriero, SJ (high sticking - double minor), 6:23; Bertuzzi, DET (roughing), 16:08; Vlasic, SJ (roughing), 16:08; Zetterberg, DET (high sticking), 17:27.
2nd period - Holmstrom, DET (holding), 2:27; Pavelski, SJ (interference), 3:29; Bertuzzi, DET (roughing), 6:36; Eager, SJ (roughing), 6:36; Eager, SJ (10 min misconduct), 8:37; Rafalski, DET (delay of game - puck over glass), 9:33.
3rd period - Thornton, SJ (interference), 2:50; Holmstrom, DET (roughing), 3:27; Setoguchi, SJ (slashing), 13:22.
Shots Saves
DET - Howard 37 35
SJ - Niemi 34 33
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
DET 12 9 13 34
SJ 7 19 11 37
Power Play Conversion
DET 1 of 6
SJ 1 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Antti Niemi
Ian White
Niclas Wallin
Referees: Pollock, Sutherland. Linesmen: Lazarowich, Sharrers.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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