Detroit at San Jose (1/9/10)

The Red Wings played the Sharks tonight in San Jose. Nabokov was the starting goalie for the Sharks. For the Red Wings there was no question that Jimmy Howard would get the start after his amazing game in Los Angeles. I think it’s pretty clear that he’s now the starting goalie. He’s earned the right to be number one by playing very well and very consistently. The win in Los Angeles would not have been possible if he hadn’t played so brilliantly.

About halfway through the first period there was a faceoff in the Red Wings’ end. Thornton won the draw and got the puck to Dan Boyle who ripped it at the net. Howard stopped it and the rebound dropped next to him. Marleau was there and tried to bang it in but Howard dove and made a second save this time with the outstretched stick. The puck slid off the end of the stick and Marleau stayed with it. Howard was down and Marleau had an easy shot to put in the net and take the lead one to nothing. You can’t blame Howard for that one. He made two great saves and still didn’t get any help from the rest of the team. In fact if Marleau hadn’t scored Dany Heatley was right behind him just as uncontested as he was. I don’t know who was being covered but they sure weren’t.

In the second period the Sharks had just entered the Red Wings end when Datsyuk jumped on one of their passes, picking it off and heading up ice on a breakaway. He entered the zone and fired a wrister that burned Nabokov cleanly to get the Wings on the board and tie the game at one. It was a great individual effort by Datsyuk and it helped to energize the rest of the team.

Later in the second period Janik had the puck at the point and took it along the blue line towards the middle. He shot it down the slot and Eaves tipped it down and into the net giving the Red Wings the two to one lead. The play was reviewed to see if it was a high stick but you couldn’t see it very well on the replay and the call on the ice was upheld.

Just 1:09 later Cleary got the puck and started up ice. Lidstrom saw an opportunity and joined the rush for a three on two breakaway. Cleary carried the puck up the left wing with Filppula in the middle and Lidstrom on the other wing. Filppula went straight to the net and stopped there. Lidstrom was in position to receive a pass. Nabokov had no idea what Cleary would do. Huskins was on Cleary and he laid down for a shot block. Cleary waited until he slid out of the way then he fired off a shot, and it was a good one. It beat Nabokov giving the Red Wings a three to one lead. It was a great job all around on that play!

In the third period the Red Wings got stuck on the ice for a while after two icings in a row. Thornton won the faceoff but it went back to his own end. Boyle dropped back to take it and attempted to clear it. Eaves was pressuring him and he didn’t get it out of the zone. Instead it came to Helm who picked it up and took it to the net. He shot it and Nabokov made the initial stop but Helm stayed with it and pushed it into the net. That made it four to one Wings. Eaves didn’t get an assist on the play but he was a big part of causing the turnover.

Later in the third Cleary got into a scuffle with Setoguchi. Cleary had checked him in the back and sent him flying into the net which he didn’t really appreciate. It wasn’t really a fight although they did get fighting majors for it. Setoguchi was trying to throw punches but Cleary had him in a hold and he couldn’t get his arms free. After a few seconds Cleary took him down and that was the end of it. Cleary got the extra two minutes for interference so the Sharks got a power play out of it. The Red Wings killed it off though so no harm done.

That was pretty much it as the Red Wings kept it tight for the rest of the game and ended up with the four to one win.

The Wings played really well tonight. Jimmy Howard had another fantastic game. Luckily, he wasn’t tested nearly as much as he was in the previous game. The Red Wings played much better defensively tonight and only allowed 22 shots on goal. This was a much more Red-Wings-like game.

Now the team heads back home for a few days off before they travel to New York for Tuesday night’s game against the Islanders.

This 4-1 win brings us to:
52 points

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