Detroit at San Jose (1/17/09)

The Red Wings rolled into San Jose for tonight’s game against the Sharks.  Interestingly enough, this game marked the latest point in the season that two teams with this high of a win percentage have ever played each other in the history of the NHL.  It’s kind of an obscure stat but still interesting.  Osgood was the goalie for Detroit and Nabokov was in for the Sharks.  Also, this game gives us another look at Todd McClellan’s awesome new team.  The Sharks are arguably our biggest rival in the Western Conference.  The victor in this game would claim the top spot in the West.

The Sharks scored first in this game.  Dan Boyle got puck right around the faceoff circle.  He ripped one that went over Osgood’s shoulder into the top shelf.  It was a heck of a shot to give the Sharks the early lead.  Osgood didn’t give him much room but Boyle threaded the needle perfectly.

Just a few seconds later Filppula entered the zone with the puck.  He released a shot that Nabokov got a piece of but not enough to stop it from going into the net.  So the Red Wings had a quick answer for Boyle’s goal.

Later in the first there was a delayed penalty call against the Red Wings so the Sharks had an extra man on the ice.  They moved the puck really well and got a pass from one side to Pavelski on the other side.  He one timed it into the net before Osgood could get over.

Early in the second period Hossa drew a penalty.  On the power play Datsyuk passed the puck from the boards to Hossa in the circle.  Hossa shot the puck immediately and burned Nabokov to tie the game at two.

Nearing the five minute mark of the second period Detroit took the lead.  Datsyuk threaded the needle through traffic in front of the net.  He got the puck to Franzen on the other side.  It was an easy tap in goal for Franzen to put the Wings up three to two.  This goal came after a very timely timeout call by Babcock that got some much needed rest for his guys.

Later in the second Detroit was shorthanded after Samuelsson hit Nabokov and then got involved in a scrum.  On the penalty kill Lilja slashed Thornton so the Wings were short two men for a minute and a half.  The Wings killed off the 5 on 3 but the Sharks scored with just three seconds left on the second penalty .  There was a shot and the rebound came to Ehrhoff.  He teed it up and launched it past Osgood to re-tie the game.

Then the Wings scored right off a faceoff win.  Zetterberg won the draw by kicking the puck back with his skate.  It ended up pinballing around in front of the net and Zetterberg popped it in.

Near the end of the second period the Sharks were on the power play.  There was a shot from the point that hit traffic in front of the net and bounced to Cheechoo.  He poked it in to tie the game at four.

There was a nasty edge to this game that built throughout the first two periods.  It definitely had a playoff feel to it.  In fact it had the feel of the old Colorado Detroit rivalry.  These two teams do not seem to like each other very much, no matter how good of a friend the Sharks coach is.

After two periods the Red Wings had been badly outshot by the Sharks.  That is very unusual for the Wings and even more unusual is that fact that the game was still even.  Based on the shot total I’d have expected to be losing at that point.

At the end of the second there was a rather large scrum.  Somehow Thornton ended up with an extra minor even though everything seemed pretty even.  That gave the Wings a power play to start the third period.  Franzen received a minor in that scrum but was not in the box reportedly because he was injured.  They announced that he was out with a lower body injury and would not return.  Very disturbing.  I later learned that the problem was a sore hip that had actually been bothering him throughout the day.  It was not anything that happened during the game.

Midway through the second period Michalek took the puck at center ice and entered the Red Wings zone with speed.  The Wings gave chase but it was too late to catch him.  He came in one on one against Osgood and took a shot that beat Ozzie to take the lead for the Sharks.

A few minutes later it happened again.  Patrick Marleau got the puck streaking into the Red Wings zone.  He split the defense, came in on Osgood and burned him for a goal.  That put the Sharks up six to four.

With only two minutes left in the third Detroit scored again to pull within one.  Zetterberg dropped the puck off for Rafalski.  He skated in hard a ripped it past Nabokov for the goal.

With Osgood on the bench in the final minute the Red Wings had several good chances to tie the game but the Sharks and Nabokov came up strong to prevent it.

Even though the Red Wings lost, this was a very entertaining game.  It was hotly contested from beginning to end and felt very much like a playoff game.  I can’t wait to see the two teams play again.

This 5-6 loss brings us to:
68 points

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