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The San Jose Sharks remain attached at the hip with the Vancouver Canucks when it comes to the win-loss trend, as they rallied back after three straight losses to beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in game seven to win the series and advance to the Western Conference Finals. Patrick Marleau, after being criticized by Jeremy Roenick for being "gutless," got the game-winning goal in the third period. Devin Setoguchi drove the net and put the puck on it, Jimmy Howard made the initial save, but it went out his left side, where Marleau was waiting aggressively, and tapped it in, giving the Sharks the 3-1 lead that they wouldn't relinquish.
Setoguchi was the guy to get things started in the first period on the power play, when Joe Thornton (who had himself a very, very solid game) took the puck behind the net and passed across the front of it to Setoguchi, who buried it with a beautiful slapshot and simply beat Howard. Logan Couture also scored in the opening frame, unassisted as he took the puck away from Henrik Zetterberg right in front of the net and buried it. Dan Boyle had two secondary assists on the night.
In the first ten minutes of play, the game was very evenly matched, but it started tipping in the Sharks' favor in the second half of the period, out-shooting the Red Wings 17-11 in the frame and jumping to that 2-0 lead. San Jose was put on high alert in the second period though, a period in which the Red Wings outshot them 17-6 and had them on their heels for the majority of the frame. Zetterberg scored on a beautiful backhand that Antti Niemi had no chance to stop, to put the Red Wings on the board.
Period three was also pretty evenly matched, though the Sharks played on their heels for the majority of the final ten minutes. Pavel Datsyuk , assisted by Jonathan Ericsson, took the puck around multiple defenders before beating Niemi on a shot at the far post that came just short of deflecting out.
The biggest thing to note was just how well the Sharks defended with their backs against the wall. The Red Wings were trying harder than they have this series to scramble and get the puck in the net, keeping the offensive onslaught on for extended periods of time, but the Sharks got multiple clears and looked really good doing so. It is scary hockey to watch when you're a Sharks fan, but they couldn't have played that style any better tonight than they did.
Todd Bertuzzi and Dan Cleary left the game with injuries, while Johan Franzen was also out. Ryane Clowe returned for San Jose after missing game six, and he played pretty well, you can attribute strong play to him at this point. Antti Niemi stopped 38-of-40 shots for a .950% while Jimmy Howard stopped 27-of-30 for a .900 save percentage. Both goalies were outstanding, as they have been all series.
Look for a recap of the whole series tomorrow and then a new stream for the series against the Vancouver Canucks.
Well, it wasn't easy, but the San Jose Sharks are moving on to the Western Conference Finals after nearly blowing a 3-0 series lead to the Detroit Red Wings, winning Game 7 on the road. They'll face the Vancouver Canucks in a quick turnaround on Sunday night.
Sunday, May 15: Game 1, San Jose at Vancouver, 5:00 pm PT/8:00 p.m. ET, VERSUS
Wednesday, May 18: Game 2, San Jose at Vancouver, 6:00 pm PT/9:00 p.m. ET, VERSUS
Friday, May 20: Game 3, Vancouver at San Jose, 6:00 pm PT/9:00 p.m. ET, VERSUS
Sunday, May 22: Game 4, Vancouver at San Jose, noon PT/3:00 p.m. ET, NBC
Tuesday, May 24: Game 5, San Jose at Vancouver, 6:00 pm PT/9:00 p.m. ET, VERSUS *
Thursday, May 26: Game 6, Vancouver at San Jose, 6:00 pm PT/9:00 p.m. ET, VERSUS *
Saturday, May 28: Game 7, San Jose at Vancouver, 5:00 pm PT/ 8:00 p.m. VERSUS *
(*) if necessary
Hockey fans, make your predictions in the comments!
This is exactly the percursor to the end result that the NFL intends with each and every playoff series. Every fan, aside from wanting their team to breeze through their given opposition, wants to see game seven in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. There will be fans of 28 teams watching game seven between the San Jose Sharks and the Detroit Red Wings, rooting interest be damned. Somewhere, deep down inside, Sharks and Red Wings fans alike are getting exactly what they expected out of the series, even if the journey to game seven didn't go exactly as either team would hope.
It's just that, right now the Red Wings fans seem to be bursting with confidence, while the Sharks fans are setting themselves up for disappointment. Is there such a thing as momentum in the sport of hockey? It's debatable, but let's go with "yes," for the sake of this piece. Any team with any strength at all will not let that kind of momentum carry into and overwhelm them in game seven of the playoffs. It just won't happen. Do remember that, right now, there are 26 teams with an entire roster of players who, if you told them that right now that they could be less than 24 hours away from playing a game seven that could send them to the conference finals, would absolutely jump at the opportunity.
We already discussed Logan Couture and his tweet, hopefully it will have served as some form of empowerment to the rest of the team. The Sharks are on equal footing against a team that they feel they can beat. They're at square one, things are as simple as they can be: beat the Red Wings, and you get one step closer to hoisting The Cup. Win in a situation that 90% of the league would kill to be in right now, and you're closer to achieving the goal your career is based upon.
You know, that's easier said than done, and it's not necessarily easy to even say. Everything will need to go right in this game, from Patrick Marleau elevating his play to Joe Thornton being an effective captain and getting everybody pumped up as he should. Ryane Clowe returning would definitely be nice, and the Sharks need to stay out of the penalty box. If there's anything that we can hang our hat on in this series, it's that the power play is absolutely deadly and has been the deciding factor in no less than four of the six games played thus far.
Outside of that, they'll need to contain players like Pavel Datsyuk, who in each of the three Red Wings wins, has victimized a Sharks player on his way to a goal or assist, or Darren Helm, who has lit the lamp due to his great speed. Antti Niemi will need to be just as solid as he has been, and even more so, limiting the little mistakes that he's been making outside of his amazing saves. Jimmy Howard certainly isn't giving up softies in net for the Red Wings.
Game six was domination from beginning to end, with perhaps five of the sixty minutes swayed in San Jose's favor. The Red Wings showed a more proficient ability to skate, shoot, pass, hit and win faceoffs. That simply cannot happen in game seven.
These are the Stanley Cup Playoffs, what every player is shooting for. This is game seven, the most exciting and pivotal game in any series. At the very least, history will be made.
The Detroit Red Wings will not go down without a fight ... that's what was said after game four. After game five, the Red Wings were simply making things interested. Now, following a dominating 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks in game six to force a game seven, they should be heavily favored to take said game seven. From the get-go, Detroit dominated play, taking control in the first ten minutes with an offensive onslaught that was only kept in check by Antti Niemi. The Sharks got very few licks in during that first period, and although they improved in period two, they were dominated for the better part of forty minutes.
Then, Logan Couture somehow got the puck past Jimmy Howard in the third, and after a review, the Sharks were up 1-0. Their play improved after that, too, they started to get their legs back and began attacking the puck and trying to create more opportunities, but they were deflated ten minutes into the period, when Niklas Kronwall put the puck toward the net and Henrik Zetterberg tapped it in. Actually, that's not entirely accurate, they still played well following that, but Pavel Datsyuk once again displaying puck wizardry came through again, and he found Valtteri Flippula for the game-winning goal.
They'd later add one from Darren Helm via the empty net, but for all intents and purposes, we have another one-goal win in this series. But, like most of the games this series, that doesn't really tell the whole story. That story being: one team dominating the other through-and-through, but the other team coming up big with blocked shots and strong goalie play. Whether it be the Sharks dominating play and getting a one-goal win, or vice-versa, that's how it's been the whole series.
Antti Niemi was once again, very solid, and it's a shame that he has to keep taking these losses. Niemi stopped 42-of-44 shots for a .955 save percentage, and made several diving, scrambling saves. Jimmy Howard was very solid on his own, not wilting under the big pressure of the game, stopping 24-of-25 for a .960 save percentage. Jason Demers made some key blocks for San Jose, it seems like one player always deserves mention for that when it comes to the Sharks these playoffs.
So the series goes to seven games, with the momentum all on the side of the Red Wings, and the Sharks on their heels, fighting off cries of "choke" and "gutless". Game seven will be on Thursday. Stay tuned for more, folks, it's a bumpy ride already, it's about to get worse.
(Sports Network) – The Detroit Red Wings will try to even the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinals tonight when they host the San Jose Sharks in Game 6 at Joe Louis Arena. After falling behind 3-0 in the series, Detroit has won the last two contests to cut that deficit to 3-2. If the Red Wings can post a third straight victory tonight they will force a decisive Game 7 in San Jose on Thursday.
The third-seeded Red Wings are battling history in this series, as they are trying to become the third NHL team to win a best-of-seven set after falling behind three-games-to-none. The Philadelphia Flyers pulled off the feat last spring against Boston, becoming the first team to achieve the ultimate comeback since the 1975 New York Islanders. The other time it happened was in 1942, when Toronto erased a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals. San Jose has never lost a series when leading 3-0, or 3-1, for that matter.
The Red Wings and Sharks are also meeting in the conference semifinals for the second straight spring. San Jose also won the first three games of that set and ended the series in five. Detroit has posted a pair of 4-3 victories to make this a series once again. The Red Wings made a remarkable comeback in Game 5 to stay alive, as they rallied from down 3-1 to win on Sunday.
Detroit scored three unanswered goals in the third period to beat San Jose, 4-3. The Red Wings got goals from Jonathan Ericsson, Danny Cleary and Tomas Holmstrom in the span of about 10 minutes to force tonight’s Game 6.
“You’re thinking, ’It’s going to be tough.’ But we answered back,” said Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock.
Jimmy Howard made 39 saves for the Red Wings, who are 3-1 as the host in this year’s playoffs after compiling a mediocre 21-14-6 record at the Joe during the regular season. The second-seeded Sharks were in excellent position to end the series on Sunday before coughing up the lead in the third period. Devin Setoguchi and Joe Pavelski scored for a 2-0 lead in the second and Logan Couture’s goal made it 3-1 early in the third period. But the team softened in front of goaltender Antti Niemi, who made 18 saves in the game and stopped just half of the six shots he faced in the third period.
“Hard to swallow,” said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. "They took advantage of some of our mistakes and put it in the net.
Patrick Marleau once again failed to reach the scoresheet in Sunday’s loss. The veteran forward has no points in this series after posting two goals and three assists in the first round against Los Angeles.
San Jose was 4-0 as the road club this postseason before dropping Game 4 in Detroit. The Sharks were 23-14-4 as the guest during the 2010-11 campaign.
The Sharks will not have forward Ryane Clowe for tonight’s game, as the winger did not travel with the team to Detroit. According to the San Jose Mercury News, speculation is that flu-like symptoms may have kept Clowe off the plane on Monday. Clowe leads the Sharks with 13 points in the postseason. He has four goals and a team-best nine assists in 11 playoff games.
Meanwhile, Detroit will be without key forward Johan Franzen tonight after the Swede aggravated his sprained left ankle in Game 5. Franzen, who sat out the entire third period on Sunday, has two goals and one assist in eight playoff games this spring. With Franzen sidelined, the Red Wings are expected to replace him with veteran forward Mike Modano, who has been a healthy scratch for Detroit in all but one game this postseason. Modano, the all-time goal-scoring and points leader among American-born players in NHL history, last played on April 20, when his team completed a sweep of Phoenix in the opening round.
Modano, who will turn 41 years of age in June, has been contemplating retirement and this could be his final season. Prior to signing a one-year deal with Detroit last summer, Modano had spent his entire career with the Minnesota/Dallas franchise.
Detroit and the Sharks have met four times in the playoffs and each club has won two series. Detroit last ousted San Jose in six games during the 2007 conference semifinals.
Devin Setoguchi and Ryane Clowe both buried beautiful goals to kick off game five between the San Jose Sharks and Detroit Red Wings. They jumped San Jose out to a 2-0 lead and contributed to play that was largely dominated by the Sharks for about 55 minutes of ice time. When Nicklas Kronwall (aided by the puck wizardry of Pavel Datsyuk) buried a shot in after the second goal to make it 2-1, the Sharks didn't bat an eye. They kept playing strong, and made it a 3-1 lead when Logan Couture took a solid feed from Dany Heatley and faked out Jimmy Howard. And on the next shift following the goal, when Jonathan Ericsson snuck into the crease and buried a deflection, the Sharks responded, at least momentarily.
Then for some, inexplicable reason, they just stopped playing good hockey. Despite the fact that Antti Niemi was solid the whole night and the fact that they'd dominated the shots and faceoffs, San Jose played it like they were trying to protect the tie instead of going for the win. All credit goes to Detroit for not rolling over and elevating their play when it mattered most, but the Sharks definitely rolled over at the end of that game. After Danny Cleary tied the game, the Sharks got slow, and complacent.
And Pavel Datsyuk took advantage like he'd never taken advantage before. He victimized Patrick Marleau (who was invisible the entire game, no, the entire series) with a spin move and took the puck around to Nicklas Lidstrom, who shot it, and Tomas Holmstrom was able to bury it off the deflection, giving them the 4-3 lead that they wouldn't relinquish. San Jose got a power play, but it didn't matter. The Red Wings took game five because they didn't give up, it will be interesting to hear what the order was from the coach in those last minutes.
It was yet another game with plenty of goals scored that was still predicated on extremely strong play from both goalies. It never felt as though Niemi was beaten on his own, it was always a bad shift from the Sharks, while Howard made some more impressive saves of his own and came through in the clutch with some good scrambles on the San Jose power play. There's not much you can bet on going forward in this crazy series, other than the fact that game six will likely feature strong goalie play, Pavel Datsyuk making somebody look silly with one hand, Ryane Clowe getting a beautiful assist, and a one-goal victory for whoever walks out of the Joe Louis Arena with their arms raised above their head.
These are the notes I took during the game, may as well post them for some play-by-play analysis, un-edited.
San Jose getting opportunities early, with strong play from Torrey Mitchell. Both Jimmy Howard and Antti Niemi make strong saves in the first five minutes. Brad Stuart gets called for boarding on Logan Couture and the Sharks get a power play at 5:46. San Jose is active early with their power play, Joe Pavelski getting a shot off early, but the Red Wings respond well and kill the penalty. Douglas Murray hits Justin Abdelkader big time in the first period ... twice. Nicklas Lidstrom goes to the box at 12:26 for tripping Devin Setoguchi. Sharks get a couple few shots on goal in the first minute of the power play, and get a couple more in the second minute, but Detroit kills it. The Red Wings respond by getting the puck in San Jose's zone, and a shot off on Niemi led to a tasty rebound for Jonathan Ericsson, who shoots, and is left shaking his head when Niemi dives from post to post to make the glove save. Joe Thornton wins the faceoff and Dan Boyle takes the puck at the point, firing on net, where Setoguchi cut across the middle to bury it on the deflection to put the Sharks up 1-0. Joe Thornton goes to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct on Johan Franzen. Franzen responds with a slash to the shins, and Thornton takes a dive, setting up a 4-on-4. Nothing comes out of it.
- Announcers blamed Couture for getting slammed into the boards by Stuart. This coincides with them calling his game four goal "unearned."- Sharks out-shoot Detroit 16-7, have two power plays (0-2), win faceoffs 11-7, and are out-hit 9-7.- San Jose gave up the puck nine times to Detroit's two. Not good.- Pavel Datsyuk is definitely hurt, or otherwise has something wrong with him. He saw 6:10 of ice time, had zero shots and won zero faceoffs.- Thornton totally dived, better than most.- Through one period, the announcers are much better than they were in game four, aside from the aforementioned bit about Couture.
Good passing from Detroit early on, but the Sharks keep a lot of pressure on. Pavel Datsyuk is called for holding, the first time he's mentioned all game, and the Sharks get another power play. Early on, Boyle gets a scoring chance and Jimmy Howard makes a great save. The Sharks swarm the net and Howard makes nother great save, and eventually gets the stoppage. After the first 1:20 of the power play, the Red Wings finally get a clear, and then the Sharks are called for offsides. Detroit gets two more clears, and the penalty kill is successful. Dany Heatley and Jason Demers team up for a great scoring opportunity, but it's another strong save by Howard. Pavelski gets a breakaway off the faceoff, but shoots it wide. Detroit gets some kind of offense going a couple shifts later, but Niemi shuts them down with people screening him and lots of traffic in front of the net. Joe Thornton goes to the box for hooking and Detroit gets a power play. Brian Rafalski has a shot, but Douglas Murray gets in the lane and has a good block, clearing it away. On the next entrance, the Sharks clear the puck away again ... and then again. It's cleared, and the power play comes to an end. We hear Ryane Clowe's name for the first time, with a 1-on-1 against Howard, but he shoots it a little high and Howard gets the incidental deflection behind the net. Ryane Clowe strikes again though, with a 2-on-1, Clowe comes up on the left side and fires a beautiful pass to Joe Pavelski, who buries it over Howard's shoulder to put the Sharks up 2-0. On the next shift, Datsyuk finally hears his name called in a positive light, when he takes it through the defensive zone and feeds Niklas Kronwall, who jumped into the play and buried it past Niemi. Kronwall continues with the play-making by absolutely demolishing Clowe in the neutral zone as we come to one minute remaining. The period comes to an end.
- Sharks blocked two shots and cleared the puck seven times on Detroit's first power play of the night- Jimmy Howard was, once again, fantastic.- Niemi, to his credit, is very sharp when the action comes his way, with traffic in front of him- Kronwall was the game-changer in the second period- Puzzled by the fact that people don't understand that slashing is slashing anywhere on the body, whether contact is made or not.
The Red Wings start out the period with a scoring opportunity, but it goes wide and the Sharks go back on the attack, with Dany Heatley feeding it to Logan Couture, who fakes and buries it past Howard five hole to put the Sharks up 3-1. Directly after the goal, Heatley goes to the penalty box for hi sticking. The Red Wings get it in San Jose's zone, but Joe Thornton steals it and clears it. As they turn to enter again, Thornton steals it a second time. Unfortunately, the Sharks lose sight of Jonathan Ericsson, who catches a deflection and beats Niemi, it was an odd deflection. On the next shift, Niemi is mixed up with too many San Jose players in his face, and Dan Cleary buries it past Niemi. The momentum has shifted in Detroit's favor, or perhaps not, as the next few shifts are very balanced, with pseudo-opportunities from both sides. Then for some reason, the Sharks go into complacency mode. There's no urgency, there's no aggressiveness, and it leads to Detroit taking the lead. Detroit takes time in San Jose's zone ... a lot of time, and Datsyuk gets the puck near Patrick Marlaeu, then absolutely makes him look silly by spinning and getting passed him, he gets it to Lidstrom, who shoots and Tomas Holmstrom gets the goal off of a deflection, to put the Red Wings up 4-3. Then, Justin Abdelkader goes to the bo for elbowing and the Sharks have a power play. Pavelski makes a mistake and the puck goes by him and it's cleared. The Sharks give up a turnover, then get the puck back ,and pass it right to Detroit. Sloppy puck-handling on the power play. It's killed, and they can't get anything done for the remainder. Detroit wins it 4-3.
The Detroit Red Wings weren't going to go down without a fight, and who knows, they may not go down at all. But as it stands, the San Jose Sharks have a commanding 3-1 series lead and they're playing game five at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. San Jose took games one, two and three, clearly looking like the better team (they were close games, mind you, just close games that the Sharks most definitely deserved to win) throughout, despite one-goal wins (including two in overtime) in each game. Detroit responded with their backs against the boards in game four, avoiding the sweep and staying alive in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoff race.
Game four was a very strong statement for the Red Wings, who dominated play for the most of the time. San Jose got their licks in, and had some sustained opportunities, but there was a lot of stolen pucks and checks courtesy of the Red Wings. When they swarmed Antti Niemi at the end of the third period for a sustained couple of minutes, one just had to figure that one of those shots was going to go in. Eventually, Darren Helm made a good shot on a play in which Niemi was probably exhausted, and the Red Wings had their win.
Although the Red Wings made a big statement by getting a win, one could argue that the Sharks made a statement of their own. Not only did the Red Wings look as good as they have this season and dominate play, but there were all kinds of other things that leads one to believe that the Sharks probably should have lost the game by a lot more than one goal. For one, doing well at the Joe Louis Arena isn't easy, and for two, it would be really easy for a team to lose heart, and just take the home game when things are very rough. San Jose was down three goals to none, and they fought on.
They came up short, but they fought on, and that's what matters. Niemi in particular, he was fantastic throughout the game, stopping 36-of-40 shots his way, good for a .900 save percentage. His ability to scramble and come through when the pressure was on showed a lot of what the Sharks really want and need out of their goalie. Unfortunately, the defensive play wasn't there (aside from a couple players, though Dany Heatley comes to mind first). If the Sharks come out and get this kind of support from Niemi again, and pick up their play with the puck, they have a solid chance of ending the series. One has to feel that in three games, the Sharks can find a way to win another and end this, but then again, not many saw them winning three in a row on Detroit, either.
The biggest point is the fact that they didn't roll over, in a game that Detroit pushed back in and declared that they would not roll over either. It should be a fun game five, which starts tonight at 5:00 p.m.
The Detroit Red Wings played a very good game against the San Jose Sharks, and came out of it with a 4-3 win. Darren Helm notched the winning goal during a third period offensive onslaught that saw Antti Niemi make save after save, but lacking play from the Sharks defensively led to Niemi eventually being overwhelmed. Helm put the puck in net with just 1:27 to go in the game, with assists from Brian Rafalski and Patrick Eaves.
It was a rocky start in which the Red Wings jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first period. Todd Bertuzzi made a nice, spinning shot that deflected off of Douglas Murray and went in. In actuality, the referees should have called offsides on the play, which the Versus team touched up on during the first intermission. One could argue that it lead to the Sharks losing the game, since it was just a one-goal affair, but the prevailing feeling was that the Sharks were playing badly enough defensively at that point to give up the goal either way.
Nicklas Lidstrom added a pair of goals in the opening frame, when Dan Boyle crashed into Niemi and Lidstrom simply caught the rebound, putting it in no problem. Goal number two was a little more impressive, hitting the puck out of the air after stopping it with a limb or two after getting the feet in the middle of the ice, he buries it past Niemi on the power play.
Logan Couture added a goal in the first period that the commentators (it was the Detroit team) called an "unearned goal." Despite that abortion of commentary, it was actually a nice goal that Ryane Clowe got the assist on. The second period started at 3-1 for the Red Wings, but the Sharks continued to chip away at it, when they won a faceoff in Detroit's zone and Kyle Wellwood did some puck wizardry to feed Dan Boyle, who put it buried it. At the beginning of the third, Dany Heatley flat-out beat Jimmy Howard all alone in front of the net to tie it up. This was followed by the Helm goal, and the rest is history.
The game probably should have been a lot more slanted for Detroit, when it comes to the final score. They dominated control of the puck, and held a significant advantage in shots with 40 to San Jose's 28. Detroit played like a team desperate for the win, while the Sharks played a little bit complacently, for the most part. Antti Niemi was the exception to that rule, making some of the best saves of his career and these Stanley Cup Playoffs on his way to 36-of-40 saves for a .900 save percentage. Jimmy Howard stopped 25-of-28 for an .893 save percentage.
Officiating wasn't terrible in this game by any means, but there were a couple missed calls, including the offsides penalty that allowed the first goal, and at least two of Detroit's four power plays probably should have led to a 4-on-4, (Joe Thornton's holding penalty on Henrik Zetterberg in the second period came right after Zetterberg should have been called for a hook) but the Sharks can't put the blame on the referees tonight. It was a game that Detroit just appeared to want more, and they came out doing everything they possibly can to get the win.
If Niemi plays like he did tonight going forward, the Sharks have a solid chance to win the series. His play was stellar, and that's something they can hang their hat on, the biggest positive coming out of this game. It says a lot when the Red Wings dominate play from beginning to end and it's only a one-goal win.
Play resumes on Sunday at the HP Pavilion in San Jose for game five, and will be shown on Versus.
Fortunately, it's not considered bad mojo to openly discuss a sweep in hockey, at least among most hockey fans. Post-game three, you'll see folks posting pictures of brooms on the internet and calling for the four-game domination, when in baseball, you might find yourself thrown under a buss for committing such acts of heresy. The question is though: is it realistic to think the San Jose Sharks could sweep the Detroit Red Wings? They're up three games to none and have won them all by one goal.
So many things factor into the probability of a sweep. On one hand, you'd think that, with such a close margin of victory in three games, the pucks have to bounce in Detroit's favor at least once. On the other hand, losing that many one-goal games could be a demoralizing thing to go through, as one wonder's what exactly it takes to win a game in this series. Maybe the Sharks come out looking a little complacent and the Red Wings are fighting for their playoff lives, and the Sharks fail to complete the sweep.
At any rate, if there's any team that can recover from a three-game deficit to threaten a seven-game series, it's the Red Wings. There's not a ton of historical precedent for such statements, this is just a tough team that is very evenly matched with the Sharks when it comes down to it. Goalies Antti Niemi and Jimmy Howard are similar, both of the top lines are canceling eachother out, it's just a matter of more depth for the Sharks, where lines three and four are putting in serious work to get things done, especially on the power play.
Ah yes, the power play, which we've visited and re-visited at least six times in this series. Coming in, it was the thing to watch, and going into game four, it will continue to be. Where as the Sharks had a struggling power play unit coming into the series, Detroit had a struggling penalty kill unit of their own. This evened out when it all came down to it, and now it's just a battle to see who can stay out of the box for longer.
Devin Setoguchi is coming off a hat-trick performance in game three, including the overtime winner, while Joe Thornton assisted three times in the game. Dany Heatley had a good game and was a huge defensive asset, as it happened. For much of the game, Henrick Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyk and the rest of the Red Wings kept the play in their favor, and it looked like they'd be escaping with a win. Perhaps they get it all together on Friday, maybe they don't.
The game is at 4:00 p.m. pacific and will be on Versus and CSN California.
It was the same result exactly a year later for the San Jose Sharks. With the scored tied at 3-3 going into overtime and a 2-0 series lead, the Sharks went out there and won the game, though it was Devin Setoguchi this time with the game-winner in overtime. Joe Thornton took the puck to the boards and fired it to Setoguchi right in the middle, who fired off a good one to beat Jimmy Howard, giving the Sharks a 4-3 overtime win and a 3-0 series lead over the Detroit Red Wings.
The overtime period was mostly dominated by the Red Wings, and it forced Antti Niemi to rise to the occasion. Rise he did, stopping several scoring opportunities, and when he finally looked like he was about to succumb to the puck onslaught, Dany Heatley threw his body in the way of the empty net, making one of two or three saves at the net he'd made in the last twenty minutes. The Sharks got their licks in, but it was mostly Red Wings in that period.
It came down to the power play, once again, with the Sharks scoring two of their four goals on the power play, and the Red Wings scoring two of their three with the man advantage. Setoguchi got the scoring started in the first period, when Darren Helm was called for a hi sticking penalty. Thornton knocked the puck to the middle once again, and Setoguchi buried it on the rebound. Detroit got a power play near the end of the period, and with less than thirty seconds remaining, Henrik Zetterberg passed the puck to Nicklas Lidstrom, who beat Niemi no problem, bringing it to 1-1 to end the first.
When the second period came along, we were treated to intensely fast-paced hockey. Both teams exchanged scoring opportunities and both goalies played far and above the level they'd played for most of the postseason. Helm fed Patrick Eaves, who beat Niemi to put the Red Wings up 2-1, but Setoguchi struck again shortly after. Detroit was called for another penalty, and Setoguchi beat Howard on an off-speed shot that completely fooled Howard, who jumped the wrong direction. Pavel Datsyuk struck, as he always will, late in the period to put the Red Wings up again.
Period three was again, mostly evenly matched until the very end, when Dan Boyle beat Howard after circling around the back of the net and catching a rebound. Regulation ended with an offensive bombardment from the Red Wings, taking shot after shot at Niemi and co, and just before overtime, Datsyuk came very close to scoring with no time left on the clock. After that, it's all gravy.
The Sharks improved to 5-0 in overtime in the 2011 playoffs. Setoguchi had himself a hat trick, while Joe Thornton notched an assist on all three goals. Niemi stopped 38-of-41 for a .927 save percentage, while Howard stopped 34-of-38, good for .895. Play resumes on Friday, May 6th in Detroit, and the puck is set to drop at 4:00 p.m.
Stop us if you've heard this one: Wednesday's game three matchup between the San Jose Sharks and Detroit Red Wings will likely come down to who performs on their power play and who doesn't perform on their penalty kill. Game one was decided when the Sharks scored a power play goal and then got the game-winner less than a minute after a four-minute power play when the Red Wings were too tired and unable to make a shift. Benn Ferriero took advantage in that scenario, and put the puck in net. In game two, Ian White scored on the power play early on and that was one of two goals in another 2-1 Sharks victory.
Coming into the series, it was a story of a strong Red Wings power play going up against a weak Sharks power play ... but add to that a weak Red Wings penalty kill, and really nobody had any idea what to expect. The point was that the man advantage would be crucial on both sides of the play for both teams, and that's proven true through two games. Of course, everything else matters as well, but this is a battle that San Jose has won and needs to continue to win.
Play goes to Detroit and the vaunted Joe Louis Arena for games three and four in the series. The Sharks are up two games to one, and while a sweep might be asking too much, taking one of these first two in Detroit will be absolutely key. Is all lost if they don't take one of those two? Absolutely not, but it would be a blow to a team with a lot of confidence.
That's another key right now: confidence. If the Sharks can perform well on the penalty kill from the start, they can get the crowd and energy out of 'The Joe' and if they can put together great power play shifts of their own, the damage could be catastrophic to the Red Wings and their 2011 Stanley Cup hopes. On the flip-side to that, if the Red Wings can get to Antti Niemi early and often, maybe the Sharks struggle. He was pulled twice and gave way to Antero Niittymaki in the quarterfinals against the Los Angeles Kings, the best thing Detroit can do is make the team doubt the guy they have in net, if that's even possible at this point.
The last two games, we've seen aggressive, yet calculated play from the Sharks. They are not killing themselves to get to every puck, but they are challenging Detroit in the neutral zone and at the blueline. When they were on their four-minute power play, it seemed slow and complacent, but that led to fresh legs when the Red Wings tired themselves out. One has to wonder if that power play was called how it was for that reason specifically.
Until something changes with the way these games are going, the previews will remain the same. Game three is on CSN California and the puck is set to drop at 5:00 p.m. pacific.
The power play came through for the San Jose Sharks again, when Ian White ripped one past Jimmy Howard in the first period with the man advantage to give them a lead they'd hold through sixty minutes. After Justin Abdelkader was called on a high sticking penalty, Dany Heatley got a hold of the puck and danced around a couple of defenders, before dishing it back to White at the point, who rips one right past Howard for goal number one in the 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings in game two of the 2011 NHL Playoff Semifinals.
Early in the third period, Niclas Wallin took the puck up the right side of the ice after a dish from Ryane Clowe and fired a high shot on Howard, which deflected off his shoulder into the air and landed behind him, putting the Sharks up 2-0, it would end up being the game-winning goal, because the Wings would score late in the third. Wouldn't you know it, the goal came on a Detroit power play when Devin Setoguchi was given two minutes for slashing at 13:22. Pavel Datsyuk, who was mostly invisible over the course of the game, illustrated his puck wizardry at the sideboards before feeding Henrik Zetterberg with a beautiful pass across the ice to the weak-side circle. It was almost unfair, as Zetterberg pushes it past Antti Niemi without much issue.
A full two periods of time (that's forty minutes, folks) was spend in the penalty box, accumulated from both teams. Detroit went 1-for-6 on their power play opportunities, while the Sharks converted one of their four. It was a game that, once again, hinged on the man advantage, as was the key coming into this series.
The Sharks mostly dominated play throughout the game, and the score doesn't correctly illustrate that. Howard just had a great game, with an assist or two from the interminably consistent post . San Jose held the puck in the Detroit zone for the majority of the game, and though they didn't out-shoot them in the first period, they dominated there as well. At the end of the day, the Sharks had superior numbers in chances (37-34), faceoffs (38-33), and takeaways (15-5).
If not for Howard, who made 35-of-37 saves with a .946 save percentage, and his absolutely stellar play, the game would have been blown wide open by the Sharks. It works both ways though, as Detroit found plenty of opportunities to turn the offensive pressure on, but Antti Niemi was stellar with 33-of-34 saves and a .971 save percentage. The Sharks also played it a little fast and loose with their attack on Howard, giving him an ice shower four or five times in game two alone. Howard, visibly upset by this, looked more than a little flustered as the game wore on. Ryane Clowe had two assists for the Sharks. Logan Couture also notched an assist.
Going forward, it will once again hinge on the power play, and the Sharks' ability to keep calm and consistent without giving up loose pucks. They dominated in takeaways and only had five giveaways to their credit. Their gameplan was to get Howard off his game and play a consistent sixty minutes of hockey, and that's what they were able to do. One has to feel like they'll be looking to implement the very same gameplan in game three - though one could also imagine they'd like to limit the damage they've been taking, as they were out-hit 31-to-19. If that keeps up, it will definitely be better for the Sharks to end this sooner rather than later.
Game three will take place on Wednesday, May 4th at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, and will be on CSN California at 5:00 p.m. pacific. The Sharks will be looking to make it three games to none after winning both games at home to start the series.
Benn Ferriero provided the overtime heroics for the San Jose Sharks in game one against the Detroit Red Wings in these 2011 NHL Playoffs. It was Ferriero, fresh and full of energy, who put the puck on net and tallied the game-winner in the Sharks 2-1 victory. Without the prior power play, Ferriero may never have been able to get that puck to the back of the net, however. Yes, it's true that the power play was technically unsuccessful, but the four-minute major set-forth by Justin Abdelkader and his high sticking penalty on Niclas Wallin had an awful lot to do with the goal. The Red Wings were clearly tired and unable to get a line change, and for that, once could call the power play successful.
The Sharks also tied the game at one-all in the third period with the man advantage, making true the initial game one preview which talked about the significance of the power play. San Jose entered the game with a terrible record on the power play, but Detroit had allowed the Phoenix Coyotes to waltz all over them in that regard, so either the Sharks were going to break out with theirs and win because of it, or the Red Wings would simply do what they do best and score during any player combination, be it full strength or with the man advantage.
Obviously it was the former, or more accurately, it was a fragment of the former, because the power play didn't actually look very good for the Sharks. A good portion of them were killed with subsequent clearings right as the puck entered the zone, and the first three minutes of the overtime power play was spent with a worrying state of complacency hanging overhead. Maybe that was by design so as not to tire themselves out, or maybe not - on hindsight, it looks like we can anoint someone a genius, but we'll never know what the playcall was there.
Anyway, the overarching point here is that the Sharks need to do well on the power play, especially against a team like the Red Wings who can be exposed in this area. The power plays from game one will not cut it going forward and the man advantage for the Sharks has hardly felt like an advantage at all, especially when playing at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. If they continue to hesitate at the top of the zone, the Red Wings will use their excellent ability to get after the puck to clear it away like we saw numerous times in game one.
Another good thing would be to, you know, limit the penalties themselves. They cannot continue to give the Red Wings the power play opportunities they've already done, not at this rate. If it keeps up, they'll almost certainly lose some games and make everything harder on themselves.
Either way, it remains the most important facet of this game, outside of the usual things like: fluster Jimmy Howard early, don't let Pavel Datsyuk anywhere near the boards with the puck and give Joe Pavelski the puck in overtime. Preventing Antti Niemi from getting behind would be special as well. Game two is on Versus at 12:00 p.m. pacific time on May 1st.
The preview posted here at SB Nation Bay Area said that it could come down to the man advantage, with the San Jose Sharks and Detroit Red Wings sporting conflicting power play stats, and it worked out almost exactly that way. The Sharks went 1-6 on their power plays, but the last of those six definitely attributed to the game-winning goal in overtime.
Oh yes, the game-winning goal, we should probably get to that. When the game went to overtime, the Sharks had some great opportunities, with Devin Setoguchi handling the puck well and multiple Sharks setting up multiple Ryane Clowe scoring opportunities, but the puck eventually left the zone and Detroit started to mount an offensive ... but then Justin Abdelkader was called on a high sticking penalty that drew blood on Niclas Wallin, so San Jose had a four-minute power play.
It wasn't an encouraging start to the power play, by any means. Everybody on the Sharks' unit looked slow and complacent, which isn't a terrible strategy in hindsight. The Red Wings fought for every loose puck and eventually cleared it away multiple times, bringing the man advantage down to thirty seconds. At that point, the Sharks turned it up a little and got some shots on goal. More importantly, they kept it on when the penalty was successfully killed by Detroit, and by doing so, didn't allow them to make an important change. The Sharks took advantage of this and got even more aggressive ... eventually, Benn Ferriero, in his first playoff game this year, put the puck on net and with perhaps the help of a deflection, gets the goal past Jimmy Howard to lift the Sharks to a 2-1 overtime win.
So when it all comes down to it, the man advantage was definitely key in this game, the Sharks were able to tie it with a power play goal in the third period after Todd Bertuzzi was called for boarding. Joe Thornton fired a shot from the point and Joe Pavelski got the perfect tip to beat Howard halfway through the period. The first girl of the game came when Pavel Datsyuk demonstrated his puck wizardry against the boards to keep it away from Sharks players, before dishing it to Nicklas Lidstrom at the middle of the ice, who simply beat Antti Niemi without much issue.
Niemi finished the game with 24-of-25 saves, good for a .960 save percentage. Howard was very solid for Detroit, stoping an offensive onslaught in the second round in which the Sharks out-shot the Red Wings by a wide margin. He finished with 44-of-46 saves and a .957 save percentage. Dan Boyle had two assists for the Sharks.
Game two is on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. pacific at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, and will be carried on the Versus network.
The Western Conference semifinals is once again the meeting place for the San Jose Sharks and the Detroit Red Wings. Tonight, the Red Wings travel to the HP Pavilion to get things started in game one, looking avenge last season's 4-1 series drubbing. Things are different this year, though ... for the Red Wings, not too different: they were largely dominant in the regular season, played the Phoenix Coyotes in the first round of the playoffs, and now are playing the Sharks. The difference here is that it took Detroit seven games to put away Phoenix in 2009-2010, but this year only needed four dominant games to put them down in a sweep.
In that four game sweep, everything was working for the Red Wings (it would have to be to get a sweep, no?). Pavel Datsyuk led the way for the Red Wings with two goals and four assists. All of Tomas Holmstrom, Brian Rafalski and Patrick Eaves notched two goals apiece to their credit as well, while Valtteri Flippula had four assists to go with his lone goal. They did all of this without Henrik Zetterberg, who suffered an injury and missed the entire first round. Bad news for the Sharks is that he is expected to return for game one. Goaltender Jimmy Howard was good for a .915 save percentage and a 2.50 GAA in the opening round.
On the flip-side, the Sharks had seven different players who lit the lamp twice over the opening series versus the Los Angeles Kings. Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley, Logan Couture, Jason Demers and Patrick Marlaeu had two goals apiece, while Joe Pavelski had three and Ryane Clowe had four. Pavelski, Thornton and Devin Setoguchi had overtime heroics, with three game winners in extra time over the six games played. Pavelski was a thorn in Detroit's side last playoffs, getting four goals and three assists over the five games played. Thornton had three goals and five assists during those games, as well.
Antti Niemi will be looking to have a stronger performance in round two, and will get that started tonight in game one. Niemi had a 3.99 GAA and a paltry .863 save percentage against the Kings, which forced Antero Niittymaki into the game twice in relief, where he looked very good.
One key to the game will be the power play, as Detroit scored four times on fifteen chances with the man advantage, while the Sharks only put two in net on twenty-three tries. The flipside to that is the fact that the Red Wings gave up six power play goals on eighteen penalty kill shifts against the Coyotes. It will be interesting to see how that equates to potential Sharks goals with the man advantage.
These are two juggernauts going at it, and the only result that would be surprising at this point would be a four-game sweep either way. Game one is tonight on CSN California at 7:00 p.m.
The San Jose Sharks know they're taking on the Detroit Red Wings in round two of the 2011 NHL Playoffs, the semifinals, and now they know when they'll be playing. As the second seed to Detroit's third, the Sharks will get home-ice again at the HP Pavilion. It's basically a wildcard as to whether or not that will mean anything, seeing as how they won three of their four games against the Los Angeles Kings in round one on the road at the Staples Center. Play will begin on Friday, which means the Red Wings have eight days of rest, while the Sharks have three days of rest on their own. Again, this is debatable as to what it means for a team, Detroit could certainly come out cold, which of course is the counter-point to the fact that the Sharks could come out drained. It's a wildcard like it always is when these two teams play.
#2 San Jose Sharks Semifinal Series Versus #3 Detroit Red Wings
Friday, April 29th at San Jose, 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 1st at San Jose, 12:00 p.m.
Wednesday, May 4th at Detroit, 5:00 p.m.
Friday, May 6th at Detroit, 4:00 p.m.
*Sunday, May 8th at San Jose, 5:00 p.m.
*Tuesday, May 10th at Detroit, TBA
*Tuesday, May 12th at San Jose, TBA
The asterisks, of course, denote games that may or may not actually need to happen in a best-of-seven series. Detroit swept their first round opponents, the Phoenix Coyotes, in four games, while it took San Jose six games to put away the rival Kings. The entire semifinal schedule is below:
Thursday, April 28th at Vancouver, 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 30th at Vancouver, 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, May 3rd at Nashville, TBA
Thursday, May 5th at Nashville, TBA
*Saturday, May 7th at Vancouver, 5:00 p.m.
*Monday, May 9th at Nashville, TBA
*Wednesday, May 11th at Vancouver, TBA
#2 San Jose Sharks vs. #3 Detroit Red Wings
Friday, April 29th at San Jose, 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 1st at San Jose, 12:00 p.m.
Wednesday, May 4th at Detroit, 5:00 p.m.
Friday, May 6th at Detroit, 4:00 p.m.
*Sunday, May 8th at San Jose, 5:00 p.m.
*Tuesday, May 10th at Detroit, TBA
*Tuesday, May 12th at San Jose, TBA
Friday, April 29th at Washington, 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 1st at Washington, 4:00 p.m.
Tuesday, May 3rd at Tampa Bay, TBA
Wednesday, May 4th at Tampa Bay, 4:00 p.m.
*Saturday May 7th at Washington, 9:30 a.m.
*Monday, May 9th at Tampa Bay, TBA
*Wednesday, May 11th at Washington, TBA
Saturday, April 30th at Philadelphia, 12:00 p.m.
Monday, May 2nd at Philadelphia, 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 4th at Boston, 4:00 p.m.
Friday, May 6th at Boston, 5:00 p.m.
*Sunday, May 8th at Philadelphia, 12:00 p.m.
*Tuesday, May 10th at Boston, TBA
*Thursday, May 12th at Philadelphia, TBA
Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson made an appearance on KNBR 680 this afternoon to talk about San Jose’s upcoming series against the Detroit Red Wings. The Sharks, who will be facing the Wings in the postseason for a second straight year in a row, head into the series fresh off an uplifting goal from Captain Joe Thornton that clinched the series in overtime of game six.
Throughout the series San Jose struggled with three major aspects of their play. Turnovers were prevalent in the neutral zone, the special teams were not as tight as many hoped they would be, and perhaps most importantly, goaltending was an issue. Sharks starting goaltender Antti Niemi posted a mere .863 SV% against Los Angeles, a team hardly known for their offensive firepower. Wilson addressed those concerns head on in his interview, citing the confidence the organization has in their former Stanley Cup winning netminder.
“He’s earned a lot of equity with his performances over the last couple of years. Often when a coach pulls a goaltender it’s reflective of the whole group, not just how the goaltender has played. You’ve seen that in the playoffs this year perhaps more so than ever,” Wilson told KNBR. “He (Niemi) is a guy that our coaches, our players, all believe in tremendously. They want to play for him. But Nitty is also a very strong goalie, we believe we have a really strong tandem.”
Wilson also expressed the feeling surrounding the team heading into the series. The Detroit Red Wings are one of the most widely-respected franchises in all of hockey, and perhaps in all of sports, primarily due to their levels of sustained achievemenets. With twenty straight postseason appearances to their name heading into the 2011 playoffs, Detroit has become synonymous with success.
Something that Wilson is quick to acknowledge when speaking of improvements that his team must make from the first round against Los Angeles.
“We weren’t pleased with our penalty killing most of the season this year, but they’ve come up very big when it’s mattered. Particularly the last game,” Wilson mused, referencing the 5 minute PK San Jose had to endure at the end of game six. “We know what our capabilities are. It’s now just being efficient and executing them to the levels that we expect.”
With Wilson poised to watch another battle between two Western Conference powerhouses, and Sharks fans everywhere anticipating what is bound to be yet another playoff classic between these two clubs, it’s safe to say the second round can’t come soon enough.
As we reported earlier today, Sharks-Wings is expected to kick off on Friday night at HP Pavilion. The official schedule will be released later tonight.
As always, stay tuned to SBN Bay Area for more breaking news on the Sharks quest for their first Stanley Cup.
To listen to KNBR’s interview with Wilson in full, please click here.
It makes sense to believe that the San Jose Sharks and Detroit Red Wings will begin play on Friday, and there's rumors abound that it's likely. David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News says he's got a source that's saying the Sharks will play on Friday to accommodate the Hockey Night in Canada crew and their preferred Saturday night game in regards to the Vancouver Canucks-Nashville Predators series.
Red Wings open in San Jose on Friday, then Sun. Geez, that didn't take long to figure out.
So we've got a likely Friday start at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, which would likely mean Sunday is game two, also in San Jose. The Sharks will once again have home-ice advantage, but that didn't seem to mean much against the LA Kings. The Kings got both of their wins (game two, game five) at HP Pavilion, and the Sharks grabbed three of their four at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Sharks' only loss to the Red Wings during this past regular season (3-1) came at home in San Jose.
A Friday start would give the Red Wings eight days of rest, while the Sharks would get three.
Well, the Vancouver Canucks held on by the skin of their teeth in their set against the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2011 NHL Playoffs. After springing out to a 3-0 series lead, the Blackhawks came back to take it to a game seven, and what a game seven it was. In the final three minutes of play, Vancouver got a power play, already with a one-goal lead, but Chicago responded with a shorthanded goal to take the game into overtime. The Canucks eventually prevailed, eliminating the Blackhawks from the 2011 NHL Playoffs.
Had the Blackhawks won, they would have went on to face the San Jose Sharks in round two, fresh off their 4-2 series win over the Los Angeles Kings. With their loss, the Sharks will instead face the Detroit Red Wings, who recently completed a four-game sweep of a very tough Phoenix Coyotes team. The Sharks beat the Red Wings last year in the Western Conference Semifinals, and took three-of-four games from them in this year's regular season.
The quarterfinals against the Kings was a rocky one for the Sharks, with three games going to overtime and the Sharks suffering two defeats at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, including a 4-0 shutout in game game two. Still, all three overtime games were won by the Sharks, thanks to heroics from Joe Pavelski, Devin Setoguchi, and Captain Joe Thornton in game six. Antti Niemi, the team's starting goaltender, was pulled twice in favor of Antero Niittymaki, who looked like a starting-caliber net-minder in lieu of Niemi, but the team stuck with Niemi after every bad performance, including the game five loss in which he allowed three goals off of four shots.
There were so many positives and so many negatives to take from the series. The Sharks showed excellent poise under pressure to rally around and win in overtime, and showed that they should never be counted out when they recovered from their four-goal deficit. Players from all over the line played well in big situations, and even when they lost Ian White in game one and had to stretch themselves thin, they prevailed. But there were the negatives, as noted. Their propensity to start slow and let the Kings take the life out of them showed, and they illustrated a startling tentativeness when it came to shooting the puck.
Accentuate the positives and eliminate the negatives - those are the primary objectives for the Sharks heading into this series against the Red Wings. There was nothing easy about
2009-2010's four-game sweep 2009-2010's 4-1 series victory of the Red Wings, and now it will be even more difficult this go-round. The Red Wings look very legitimate, dispatching of a Coyotes team that gave the Sharks fits in the regular season. Detroit scored four or more goals in all four games, and held the Coyotes to less-than three goals three times. This is a stiff test.
The Sharks are likely to begin play in round two on Friday at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, but we don't know that for certain. The schedule should be released on Tuesday after the remaining round one matchups are complete. Be sure to catchup on the round one series against the Kings by checking out our previous story stream, and always check out Fear The Fin, our San Jose Sharks blog.
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