San Jose at Detroit (2/11/10)

The San Jose Sharks came to Detroit for tonight’s game. Holmstrom was back in the lineup. Eaves and Kronwall were both still out. This was Franzen’s second game back. He said he felt really good in the last game so hopefully his energy level isn’t a concern. Nabokov was in net for the Sharks and the Red Wings continued to go with Jimmy Howard who has still been playing very well even when the team loses.

The Sharks are probably the Red Wings favorite opponent this years as they’ve beaten them all three times they’ve played them.

The game had a physical edge right from the start. Helm got leveled along the boards and then Brad Stuart took a big hit. Franzen was also delivering some big hits. Both teams were finishing their checks and playing with a lot of energy.

Clowe elbowed Filppula in the head and was called for it so the Red Wings had the first power play. The Wings had a few good chances but the Sharks were able to kill off the penalty.

A few minutes later Detroit had a good penalty kill of their own thanks in part to an amazing save by Jimmy Howard.

Later in the first period Detroit went on the power play. Zetterberg brought the puck into the zone and dished it back to Franzen without even looking at him. Franzen ripped it and Nabokov got a piece of it with his glove but the shot was so hard that it still got through and into the net giving the Wings the lead.

Just a few seconds after that, Wallin fired the puck from the blue line off the backboards. Howard was out to challenge expecting a shot on net and Thornton moved in behind him. The rebound came right to Thornton who had a wide open net because of how he had positioned himself behind Howard. Just that quickly the Sharks tied the game at one.

The Red Wings had a big push for the last several minutes of the first period. Datsyuk was playing like his hair was on fire; he was just everywhere. He was throwing the body around, getting great chances and just looking awesome. Franzen was also playing really well. In fact it seemed like every line was getting great scoring chances.

Then, at the end of the period, just when the Red Wings really had some momentum going, Helminen was left wide open in front of the Wings’ net. Mitchell got the puck to him and Helminen put it in the net easily because Howard was over at the other side of the net covering the guy with the puck. That gave the Sharks the lead with just 10 seconds to go in the period.

The Red Wings played great in the second period. They had chance after chance and tons of energy. They didn’t score but they did build a lot of momentum that would hopefully carry over to the third period.

In the third period the Red Wings continued to play better than they have in weeks. They had tons of shots and scoring chances and Nabokov had to stand on his head to preserve the lead.

Then with about seven minutes left in the game Jason Williams brought the puck into the zone and made a nice toe drag move around his defender. He released a blistering shot that went into the net and back out so quickly that the referee didn’t notice it and neither did the goal judge. Play continued for a few more seconds and at the next whistle it was reviewed and called a good goal. That tied it up at two with the Wings looking incredible.

A few minutes later Ericsson fought with Clowe. It was a fairly long fight but there weren’t that many punches. That was a big boost to the fans and the team. Not that they needed it. I think Clowe had been aggravating Ericsson all night and he had finally just had enough of it and dropped the gloves.

Datsyuk had a breakaway a few minutes later and was hooked down entering the zone so the Wings had a power play with about five minutes left in the game. The Sharks killed it off but the Red Wings continued the pressure. They weren’t able to score though and the game stayed tied until the end so Detroit secured a point and went to overtime.

In the overtime Datsyuk drew another penalty with 2:21 left. Again Nabokov and the Sharks stopped the Wings’ power play. That was pretty much it for the overtime period as neither team scored. Detroit ended up with 52 shots on goal to the Sharks’ 26. It was just an amazing effort by the Wings.

In the shootout Datsyuk went first. He made some moves and shot it but hit the post. Pavelski was up next. He came in stopped short to try and throw off Howard but he stopped the shot. Williams came up and made a nice move that Nabokov just barely stopped. Nabokov ended up in the net and the puck was right on the goal line. Clowe went next and missed the net. Bertuzzi was last up for the Wings and Nabokov stopped his shot as well. Then it was Marleau for the Sharks. He deked and shot beating Howard for the game winning goal.

This was the most exciting game I’ve seen in a long time. The Red Wings had so much energy and the competition level was playoff quality. Detroit really deserved to get two points tonight but getting one is better than nothing. As well as they played you can’t really complain. This was one of the most complete games I’ve seen from them this season. Let’s hope they can keep this momentum rolling on Saturday when the Senators come to town.

This 3-2 overtime loss brings us to:
66 points

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