San Jose at Detroit (12/18/08)

San Jose came to town tonight to test the Red Wings.  Nabokov was in net for them and Conklin was in for us.  Osgood is nursing a sore groin but was still able to back up Conklin.  San Jose is the best team in the league right now so the Red Wings needed to bring their A-game tonight.  The Sharks had just played the night before and had played a lot of road games in a short period.  For that reason we probably didn’t see them at their best.

The Wings got off to a much better start then they’ve been doing recently.  They were playing pretty tight defensively and getting some saves from Conklin.  There were a couple of close calls including one where Conklin was down and the puck was in front of the net and up in the air and seemingly everywhere.  Somehow it stayed out of the net though.

The Red Wings got the first goal of the game.  Lebda made a short little pass to Franzen just inside the blue line and Franzen ripped it from way up there.  Nabokov wasn’t expecting such a quick shot and he just flat out missed it.  Then less than two minutes later Datsyuk ripped a shot from the high slot that also beat Nabokov giving the Wings a two goal lead.  Kronwall was in front of the net and may have distracted Nabokov but he was out of the way by the time Datsyuk released the shot so he should have had a clear view of it.

In the second period Detroit continued to play very well.  They scored their third goal thanks to an amazing pass by Datsyuk and quick shot by Hossa.  Datsyuk entered the zone while the rest of the team was changing.  Without looking he passed the puck back to the slot where Hossa was headed.  It was placed perfectly for him to snap it.  Nabokov got a piece of it but it ricocheted into the net giving the Wings a three nothing lead.

In the third period the Red Wings played some tight defense.  The Sharks did have a few good chances but Conklin made some excellent saves to preserve the shutout.  Detroit added to their goal total with a nice play that had almost everybody involved.  Lilja got it started with a pass into the zone which was taken by Hudler.  He passed it to Cleary who sent it to Filppula.  The passes were fast enough that Nabokov wasn’t in position to stop Filppula’s shot, he just had to tap it in.

Later in the third there were offsetting penalties so we had some 4 on 4 play.  San Jose turned the puck over in their own zone to Datsyuk.  He took a quick shot from the slot that may have been deflected.  It got past Nabokov to give the Wings their fifth goal.

To add insult to injury the Wings scored yet again.  It was right off the face off and the puck came back to Kronwall.  He passed to Stuart in the middle who shot from the blue line and it found it’s way into the net.  Datsyuk took the face off so he got one of the assists which gave him four points for the night.

That was the end of the scoring.  Conklin played very well and earned the shutout.  The Wings looked great in this game.  It was a solid sixty minute performance.  Exactly what I’ve been wanting to see all season long.  The only thing that could detract from the victory is the knowledge that the Sharks were really out of gas before this game even started.  Still though, the Red Wings played a great game.  They didn’t give the Sharks any chance to come back and they continued to played well with the lead.

This 6-0 win brings us to:
21-6-4
46 points

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