Posts Tagged ‘San Jose’

Detroit at San Jose (11/30/10)

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

The Red Wings were on the road tonight playing the San Jose Sharks. The goalies were Howard and Niittymaki.

The Sharks got off to a better start than the Wings did. Shots on goal were 15 to 9 after the first period and it seemed like the Sharks were the slightly better team. However, the Red Wings had the lead thanks goals by Cleary and Datsyuk.

The second period was all Detroit and in the third the shots were even but Detroit still seemed to be in control.

Overall the Red Wings played a great road game. Datsyuk and Zetterberg were incredible as they scored three of the Wings five goals. Cleary and Eaves were the other two goal scorers. It was a good, well-rounded effort.

I thought Howard played a solid game as well. As usual, none of the goals allowed were bad ones.

This 5-3 win brings us to:
34 points

Western Conference Semifinals, Game 5 (5/8/10)

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

Tonight it was the second do or die game for the Red Wings in this series against the Sharks. After the pummeling delivered by the Wings in game four the Sharks were expected to show some serious push back. The starting goalies were Nabokov and Howard. Brad Stuart was a game time decision. Luckily he was able to go so he was in the lineup tonight after taking a hard hip check from Blake and missing most of game four. Lebda was also in the lineup tonight as an extra defenseman.

The first period was mostly all San Jose. They applied a ton of offensive pressure. The shots were 15 to 6 in favor of the Sharks. Jimmy Howard was superb however and the Wings weathered the storm. The bounces were going the Red Wings’ way as there were several chances where the Sharks missed the net or had the puck jump over their sticks. The penalties were going against Detroit though. There were only two penalties in the first period and both went against Franzen. The second one still had 27 seconds which carried over to the second period. I think the Red Wings were pretty happy just to have escaped the first period without giving up a goal.

The Wings killed off the rest of the penalty to start the second period. Then they started to generate a little offense of their own. Rafalski shot from the point with Bertuzzi screening Nabokov. The puck hit the post and went in. So although San Jose had played better to that point, the Wings had the lead. The can be very demoralizing for the other team.

Than a few minutes later Stuart was called for elbowing. Demers shot from the point and the rebound came to Thornton who popped it home for the game tying goal.

The rest of the second period was pretty much all Red Wings. Detroit had more power plays in the second period and were able to pull even and then take the lead in shots on goal. There were a few sequences where they came extremely close to scoring. They were getting lots of traffic in front. In spite of the heavy effort level though, the tie held to the end of the second period.

In the third period Pavelski had a breakaway against Kronwall who missed the puck and then got turned around. He hooked him to prevent the scoring chance and Pavelski was awarded a penalty shot. He came to the net with speed and missed high over the crossbar on Howard’s glove side.

Later in the period Franzen was hit in the head by Murray and leveled. He was down for a while but most of it took place during a TV timeout. There was no penalty on the play. After the TV timeout the Wings had the faceoff in their own end. Rafalski ended up with the puck behind the net. Heatley pressured him enough to free the puck and it went to Thornton. He passed to Marleau in front who quickly shot and scored to break the tie.

A few minutes later Stuart laid a big hit on Murray from his blindside and stunned him pretty good. At least he was paid back for the hit on Franzen.

The Red Wings stepped it up even more. The hitting was ferocious and there were many dangerous scoring chances. They pulled the goalie with a little over a minute and a half left. Then with about 50 seconds left Boyle was called for holding so the Wings had a 6 on 4 for the rest of the game. It was a valiant effort but the Red Wings were not able to tie the game and Sharks clinched the series.

The Wings played a great road game tonight but it just wasn’t enough. They started out on their heels in the first period but they weathered that storm and then took over in the second and third. This was an extremely close series. Every Sharks win was very close.

So ends this season for the Red Wings. They faced a ton of adversity this season and in the end I think they emerged even better.

Probably the best thing to come out of this season was the blossoming of Jimmy Howard. He already played like a veteran and now he has playoff experience as well. He knows what it takes to win in the playoffs and he’s experienced losing. I have very high hopes for the future with him in net.

This 1-2 loss finishes this Western Conference Semifinal series at 1-4 San Jose.

Western Conference Semifinals, Game 4 (5/6/10)

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

It was do or die for the Red Wings tonight. They faced the Sharks at Joe Louis Arena down three games to none. Lebda was out of the lineup tonight and Lilja was back in. Also, Jason Williams was out and Ritola was in. The goalies were Howard and Nabokov. Babcock also did some line juggling for this game. Datsyuk was on a line with Filppula and Holmstrom, and the second line was Franzen, Zetterberg and Bertuzzi.

In the first minute of the game Detroit was called for too many men on the ice. Luckily the Red Wings were able to kill it off.

Then Brad Stuart took a hit from Rob Blake. It was a hip check that caught him right in the thigh. He left the ice right afterwards and then left the bench.

A few minutes later the Red Wings had their own power play when Helminen tripped up Lidstrom. The Sharks almost killed it off but with just a couple of seconds left Zetterberg passed the puck to Franzen with Bertuzzi in front of the net. Franzen shot it and it hit Bertuzzi’s leg and went in. That gave the Red Wings the all important first goal and the early lead in the game.

Later in the first, Zetterberg passed it Franzen in front of the net. It was in tight and it hit Franzen’s skates. The puck bounced behind him and he quickly turned around and shot it. Nabokov had no chance, the net was wide open. That made it two nothing Red Wings. The Sharks thought there should have been goalie interference called because there was contact between Franzen and Nabokov. I’m actually surprised they didn’t call it. Nabokov was outside the crease but Franzen did bump into him. It wasn’t a hit though, he just brushed into him.

Just past the halfway point of the first period Bertuzzi had the puck in the zone and waited for Franzen to catch up. He dished it behind him to Franzen who ripped one that beat Nabokov cleanly for a top shelf goal over the glove. That made it three to nothing Red Wings very early in the game. The fans threw hats because the first goal was awarded to Franzen on the ice but it was clear that it hit Bertuzzi so Franzen really only had two.

Just a few seconds later Franzen took another shot but Nabokov stopped it. The rebound came back to him and he shot again and once again scored! So the hats were justified after all and Franzen bagged the rare natural hat trick which is three consecutive goals by one player. That made it four to nothing Wings and there was still over nine minutes left in the first period.

Mickey Redmond said before the game that Franzen needed to step it up. I guess he got his wish!

As the end of the period was approaching Filppula and Holmstrom were in the corner in the Sharks’ end battling for the puck. Dan Boyle tried to backhand the puck to Murray in front of his own net. Instead it bounced off Murray and went toward Nabokov. It hit him and bounced into the net making it five to nothing. That was some seriously bad luck for Dan Boyle who put the puck in his own net during the previous series against Colorado, although that one was also redirected. Filppula got credit for the goal since he was the last Red Wings to touch it.

At the start of the second period they announced that the first goal was officially changed to Bertuzzi and also that Franzen had broken the Red Wings’ record for most points in a period with four. Also, Nabokov was given the rest of the night off and McClellan put in Thomas Greiss.

Early in the second period the Red Wings had a power after Helminen was called for tripping. Rafalski made a nice play to start the rush and passed ahead to Bertuzzi then went up towards the wing. Bertuzzi passed it back to him and he one timed it into the net to make it six nothing. Greiss got a piece of it but not enough to stop it.

Later in the second San Jose had a 5 on 3 power play after Kronwall was called for interference and Lidstrom was called for hooking. Heatley wound up and ripped one by Howard to get the Sharks on the board and then still had over 1:40 of power play time left. The Wings killed off the rest of the power play.

In the third period things got a little ugly. Thornton dumped Holmstrom after the whistle and Franzen came in to defend him. There were a few punches thrown between Thornton and Holmstrom and they both went to the box.

Later, on the power play Lidstrom shot and broke Bertuzzi’s stick as he tried to deflect it. The puck bounced to Franzen who scored again. That was his fourth goal and sixth point which set the Red Wings’ record for most points in a playoff game and tied him with Crosby as the points leader of this playoff season.

Throughout the rest of the third period there were tons of penalties as things got a little chippy. Three game misconducts were handed out to the Sharks and there were a few fighting majors as well.

The final score was seven to one. It doesn’t get much better than that.

The Red Wings were incredible in this game. Led by Franzen, along with Bertuzzi and Zetterberg, and with their backs to the wall, the Wings came through with one of the best games I’ve ever seen them play.

Now they just have to do it three more times. After the way they played tonight it doesn’t seem so farfetched.

This 1-7 win brings this Western Conference Semifinal series to 1-3 San Jose.

Western Conference Semifinals, Game 3 (5/4/10)

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Tonight the Red Wings and the Sharks moved to Detroit for game three. The starting goalies were once again Howard and Nabokov. Eaves was still out of the lineup so Williams was in again. They also had a change on defense. Lilja was replaced with Lebda in order to provide a quicker outlet pass.

In the first period Filppula passed across the slot to Zetterberg who was heading toward the net. The puck went off his skate as he was putting on the brakes and it went in the net. It was called a goal on the ice but it was hard to tell if he was kicking or just stopping. After a lengthy video review the goal was disallowed because of a distinct kicking motion. It was really too close to call so I thought it would have been left as called on the ice but I guess they felt it was definitive enough to overturn the referee’s decision.

A few minutes later the Wings did it again and this time it counted. Franzen brought the puck into the zone and shoveled it ahead to Holmstrom. He sent it back to Lidstrom and they all cycled. Holmstrom went to the net and Franzen circled around to the left side. Lidstrom took it around the back of the net and passed it to Franzen who centered it to Holmstrom. He tapped it in for the first goal of the game. That was some great puck movement and it put the Wings up one to nothing. They again reviewed it and for a moment I thought they were going to overturn that one, too but the call on the ice stood.

Later in the first period Bertuzzi had a nice wrap around try and Nabokov stopped it. Couture shoved the puck into the net goalie’s pads in the crease and he was called for covering the puck and Bertuzzi was awarded a penalty shot. Although this one was in the Red Wings’ favor it was another abysmal call. Couture never covered the puck. He just pushed it with his glove. What a terrible call. Zetterberg took the penalty shot. He tried the backhand and Nabokov gloved it on the goal line. It was an incredible save.

A few minutes later the Wings were pressuring again. Miller got the puck and tried to send it around the back of the net but it hit the referee and came back to him. He passed it to Cleary in the slot who one-timed it into the back of the net to put the Wings up by two with under two minutes left in the period.

The Wings had a nearly perfect period but with less than three seconds left the Sharks scored. Setoguchi had the puck along the back boards. He passed it to Pavelski and went to the slot. Pavelski got it back to Setoguchi who released a turnaround shot that just barely squeaked under Jimmy Howard’s pad while he was moving.

So the first period ended with Detroit up two to one. They had outshot the Sharks 14 to 8 so it was a pretty good period.

Early in the second period Filppula had the puck and sent it deep to Zetterberg near the goal line along the side boards. He flipped it towards the net and it hit Murray’s skate and went right by Nabokov and in. The Red Wings were up by two again.

The Wings ended the second period on the penalty kill after Franzen was called for tripping.

The Red Wings killed off the rest of the penalty but the Sharks had all the momentum to start the third period. The Wings seemed to be on their heels. They were playing conservatively and weren’t generating much offense.

Then the Sharks won a faceoff in the Wings’ end and Thornton ended up with it. He took the puck around the net, stepped out front and fired. The puck hit Datsyuk’s stick and redirected into the net making it a one goal game with over 13 minutes left.

After that Jimmy Howard made several spectacular saves to keep the game under control.

Later Couture took a pass deep in the Wings’ end. He was standing on the goal line when he shot it. It went into Howard’s pads and somehow got through into the net for the game tying goal. That was a pretty soft goal but you have to expect a few of those.

With about three minutes to go Holmstrom was called for inference. Nabokov was way out of his crease and Holmstrom was fighting for position with Boyle. Boyle went down and landed on top of Nabokov who acted like he’d been run through with a bayonet. Holmstrom was called for interfering with Boyle, not Nabokov but they were fighting for position. I guess whoever falls down first get’s the power play. It was absolute garbage.

The Wings killed off that penalty and the score held until the end of the period so the game went to overtime tied three apiece. It was the first overtime game of these playoffs for Detroit.

In the overtime period the Wings had some good chances to score but didn’t get it done. Then with about 13 minutes left in the OT, Detroit had an odd man rush. Williams shot and missed the net. The puck went hard around and came quickly out to Thornton in the neutral zone. He took off with it as Marleau joined him. They were behind everybody except Rafalski. Thornton took the puck into the Wings’ zone and passed across to Marleau who tapped it in for the game winner.

This was clearly a game that the Wings should have won. It seemed like they had it under control and then they were just outworked in the third. Now they have to win the next four games in a row and we all know how likely that is.

This 4-3 loss brings this Western Conference Semifinal series to 0-3 San Jose.

Western Conference Semifinals, Game 2 (5/2/10)

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

Tonight the Red Wings had their chance at revenge after dropping game one to the Sharks. The Wings played well in the last game but the Sharks had three quick goals, most of which were fluky. The Wings have a lot to build on from game one even though they lost. Tonight the goalies were Jimmy Howard and Evgeni Nabokov. Marleau was back in the lineup for the Sharks after recovering from the flu. For the Red Wings, Eaves was out tonight and Jason Williams was in. Eaves was a little bit sore so he got the night off.

This game started out with a lot of pressure from San Jose. Jimmy Howard was stellar in keeping the Sharks off the board. The Red Wings had a few chances of their own but the momentum was mostly going San Jose’s way.

Then, about seven minutes into the game, Datsyuk picked up the puck at his own blue line. He skated through the neutral zone and into the Sharks’ end. He ripped a shot that went over Nabokov’s shoulder and into the net to put the Wings on the board first.

A few minutes later Abdelkader went to the box for slashing. On the power play Pavelski shot one from high in the slot. The puck was tipped somewhere along the way and changed directions a little bit. It got by Howard and tied the game at one.

Just a few seconds after that goal the Sharks scored again. Pavelski set up Clowe this time with a nice centering pass. Clowe received it in the slot, turned around and backhanded it into the net. That put the Sharks up two to one just past the halfway point of the first period.

Not long after that, Rafalski shot one from close to the blue line. Holmstrom was in front of the net screening Nabokov and he tipped the puck into the net to tie the game at two.

Just two minutes into the second period the Wings scored another power play goal. Lidstrom shot from he point and got it through traffic to beat Nabokov and put the Red Wings backup up by a goal. Holmstrom was in front of the net again screening the goaltender again.

The Wings played really hard in the second period and seemed to be generating a lot of momentum. They were still outshot by the Sharks but it’s not surprising since the Red Wings had to kill two penalties.

In the third period the Sharks had a 5 on 3 power play after another phantom call. It was the second one of the night on Bertuzzi alone. During the power there was a big pile up in front of the Wings’ net. Howard was out of the net after making the initial save. Datsyuk was attempting to keep the puck out of the net but it got by him after a shot by Pavelski. That tied the game at three.

Later in the third Lidstrom tried to fire a one-timer but his stick broke and Heatley took off with the puck. He shot it and Howard stopped it but the rebound came right to Thornton in the slot with Howard sprawled on the ice. It was an easy goal for Thornton. That put the Sharks back up by one.

The Wings pulled the goalie at the end of the game but then they took a penalty for too many men on the ice.  They weren’t able to re-tie the game and the Sharks came away with another win.

Believe it or not the Red Wings played a pretty solid road game tonight. The biggest problem was the officiating and I’m not one to normally complain about that. The calls were terrible in both directions. The Red Wings had 10 penalties. I wouldn’t mind that if they actually had 10 infractions but many of the calls should not have been a penalty. The Sharks only had four penalties and at least one of those was completely bogus as well. It seemed like the referees wanted to be the stars of this game. I hate to see bad officiating effect the outcome of a game and that was definitely the case tonight.

The Sharks’ third goal was the direct result of a bad call that went against Bertuzzi and their fourth goal was the direct result of a broken stick for Lidstrom. Hopefully these bad breaks will start to even out in the next game.

This 3-4 loss brings this Western Conference Semifinal series to 0-2 San Jose.

Western Conference Semifinals, Game 1 (4/29/10)

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Fewer than 48 hours after winning game seven in Phoenix the Red Wings were in San Jose to start game one against the Sharks. The goalies tonight were Jimmy Howard and Evgeni Nabokov. The big news for San Jose was that Patrick Marleau was unavailable for this game because of illness. Apparently had a fever and wasn’t feeling well enough to play.

The first five minutes of the game seemed like the typical feeling out process. Both teams had a few scoring chances but nothing too dangerous. Both goalies seemed to settle in. The energy level seemed good for both teams even though San Jose was rested and Detroit was not.

Holmstrom and Mitchell went after each other a little bit and got matching roughing minors. With only 13 seconds left in the 4 on 4 Filppula was called for slashing. During the 4 on 3 power play the Sharks won a faceoff deep in the Red Wings’ zone. Just after the matching minors expired Boyle made a centering pass to Pavelski in the slot. He let one go that got through the traffic and into the net to put the Sharks on the board first. Howard didn’t have a very good look at that one because of the screen.

Just a few seconds after that goal the Sharks won another faceoff deep in the Wings’ end. They moved the puck around without much resistance. Thornton ended up with it behind the net. He passed it quickly to Heatley driving up the slot. He tapped it in and made it two nothing. The goals were just 56 seconds apart. Detroit was getting a delayed penalty that was negated by the goal. Nabokov was headed to the bench but the Sharks didn’t have the extra skater on yet.

About two seconds after that the Red Wings lost another faceoff in their own end. Pavelski made a diving pass to Setoguchi in the slot. His shot hit Zetterberg’s stick and changed direction sharply. Where else would it go but the back of the net? It was three to nothing Sharks and just barely past the halfway point of the first period. Jimmy Howard wasn’t playing badly. There wasn’t much he could have done about any of those goals.

A minute or two after the Sharks goal Ericsson had the puck along the boards and Cleary was wide open in front of the net banging his stick on the ice. Ericsson got him the puck and Cleary tapped it in to chip away at the Sharks’ sudden lead.

In the second period the Red Wings lost a faceoff in the Shark’s end but Franzen kept after it and the puck ended up coming to Datsyuk along the boards. Datsyuk passed back to Franzen who took it to the slot. Cleary was in front of the net right in Nabokov’s face. Franzen released a perfect shot and Nabokov never saw a thing. That goal made it three to two Wings.

As Lilja was about to get a high sticking penalty a scrum ensued. Abdelkader wrestled with McGinn while Ericsson nailed Couture with a couple of nice rights. The Sharks had a power play because of Lilja’s extra minor. Ericsson and Couture offset and Abdelkader and McGinn got a pass.

Near the end of the second period Cleary collided with Abdelkader and fell down. As he was falling he was run into by Blake and took an accidental shot to the head. He was down for a while and had to be helped back to the bench. Then Franzen was hit in the face with a high stick by Setoguchi and cut badly. Instead of that being called, Franzen was called for tripping and the Sharks had a power play. That was a very questionable call. During their power play Filppula was called for high sticking Setoguchi. There was no doubt that he was hit by Filppula’s stick but his reaction was so overdone that it should have been called unsportsmanlike. Regardless, the Sharks had a 5 on 3 power play but it was interrupted by the second intermission.

The Sharks had almost a minute of 5 on 3 time to start the third. With about 8 seconds left on it Pavelski shot one that beat Howard through the five hole to put the Sharks back up by two goals. Then they had over a minute of 5 on 4 time which the Wings successfully killed off.

A few minutes later the Red Wings answered right back. Franzen got it to Datsyuk in the slot who spotted Rafalski. Datsyuk just tapped it over to Rafalski who flipped it into the back of the net and put the Wings back within a goal.

Howard made some spectacular saves to keep the Wings in the hunt. They pulled him for the extra skater in the final moments but they weren’t able to score.

This was another game where specialty teams was the difference. The Wings were 0 for 5 on the power play and San Jose was 2 for 6. That’s not going to cut it in this series.

For the most part the Wings played well and Jimmy Howard was sharp. However, I think the game winning goal was one that Howard would want back.

The Red Wings showed great resilience tonight but it just wasn’t enough. They’ll get another crack at it on Sunday evening at 8:00pm eastern.

This 3-4 loss brings this Western Conference Semifinal series to 0-1 San Jose.

San Jose at Detroit (2/11/10)

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

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

Detroit at San Jose (2/2/10)

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

The Red Wings were out west tonight for a game against the San Jose Sharks. The Goalies were Jimmy Howard and Evgeni Nabokov. Thankfully, Kronwall was not seriously hurt on the dangerous looking play in the previous game so he was still in the lineup. Holmstrom returned tonight as well. He was still the leading goal scorer even after missing 13 games so it’s really huge to get him back. Ericsson was a healthy scratch tonight after not performing up to expectations so far this season. They decided to let him watch the game from the press box and put Meech in on defense to replace him.

In the first period, Heatley brought the puck into the Red Wings’ end and fired one that hit Howard up high. Howard had trouble controlling it and the rebound dropped to the ice right next to him. Joe Thornton was driving the net and shoved it across the line to give the Sharks the early one to nothing lead.

A few minutes later there was another situation where Howard wasn’t able to corral a rebound after a shot by Heatley. Again Thornton was on the doorstep and put the puck around Howard and into the net. At that point it wasn’t even halfway through the first period and the Sharks were up two to nothing.

Not long after that the Red Wings got the puck in deep and Filppula dug it out of the corner and got control of it. He moved towards the side of the net and made a sweet pass to Cleary who was pretty much wide open in front of the net. Cleary tapped it in to put the Red Wings on the board.

Nearing the end of the first period the Red Wings had a two man advantage for about a minute and a half after a tripping call and a delay of game. Datsyuk threw it to the net and the rebound came to Holmstrom right in front. He whacked at it and Nabokov blocked that one, too. However, the second rebound came to Zetterberg at the side of the net and he banged it home. It was a great power play goal and the second point of the night for Holmstrom in his first game back. That goal tied the game at two.

There was no scoring in the second period.

In the third period the Red Wings were on the power play. The Wings were pressuring and the puck ended up down low near the goal line. Meech fired it and bounced it off of Nabokov’s back and into the net. That gave the Red Wings the lead three to two.

A few minutes later the Wings took a two goal lead when Rafalski spotted Eaves down low all by himself. Rafalski made a beautiful pass and Eaves put in the net easily. That was the fourth unanswered goal for the Red Wings.

During the third period Ken Daniels announced that Kronwall had left the game because of a “slight tweak”. He said it was nothing serious and I certainly hope that’s true.

The Sharks pulled their goalie but the scored held and the Red Wings won it four to two. What a great road win for the Wings, especially after being down two to nothing. They really showed some heart tonight. It sure was a much needed two points! Let’s hope it’s a sign of things to come for the remaining games before the Olympic break. The Red Wings really need a big push for these last few games to go into the break in decent shape.

This 4-2 win brings us to:
64 points

Detroit at San Jose (1/9/10)

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

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

San Jose at Detroit (11/5/09)

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

The Red Wings and the Sharks faced off tonight at Joe Louis Arena. Ericsson and Rafalski were both feeling better today so they were back in the lineup. Nabokov was the Shark’s goalie and Osgood was in for the Wings. Just like the Red Wings, the Sharks had several key players out of their lineup due to injury.

Tonight was Budd Lynch bobble head night. Every fan got a Budd Lynch bobble head in honor of the 60th anniversary of Budd’s association with the Red Wings. He also did a ceremonial puck drop before the game. Congratulations to Budd Lynch!

The Red Wings looked pretty good in the first period but neither team scored. The Sharks only had a couple of good scoring chances. On those rare occasions Osgood stood strong. Detroit had several really good scoring chances but just weren’t able to finish.

Most of the second period went by with no scoring. When they were approaching five minutes left in the period the Sharks entered the Red Wings end on the rush. Ericsson stumbled which opened up a little room for the puck carrier, Callahan. He passed it back to Couture who let fly a hard shot that beat Osgood and gave the Sharks a one to nothing lead.

The Red Wings continued playing well throughout the second period but still didn’t score. The period ended with Sharks up by one. The Sharks were slightly outshooting the Red Wings but the Wings had more scoring chances.

Early in the third period the Red Wings finally scored. It was a Zetterberg goal but it was set up by the hard work of Helm. He had been working like a maniac to keep the puck in the offensive zone. He finally got it back in deep to Eaves who wrapped it around the net and then passed it to Lidstrom at the point. Lidstrom shot and Nabokov stopped it with his left toe. The puck was under his skate but the referee didn’t blow the whistle. Zetterberg came flying in off the bench and pushed the puck from under Nabokov’s skate into the net. The Sharks probably weren’t happy about the slow whistle but that’s life. It was a great hard working goal for the Wings and it tied the game at one.

The tie held until the end of regulation.

In the overtime period the Red Wings continued to work hard and play with incredible energy. The Sharks were on their heels for most of the OT but the Wings just couldn’t score. The Sharks didn’t really get any scoring chances since the Wings kept the play at the other end. Neither team scored so it was time for a shootout.

In the shootout Datsyuk went first. He deked and then elevated the puck over Nabokov’s pad and scored. Then Osgood stopped Dan Boyle. Next was Jason Williams. He had a good shot but Nabokov stopped him with the pad. Ryane Clowe came up next and Osgood stopped him, too. Zetterberg was the third shooter for the Wings. He came in fast, faked out Nabokov and scored a beauty of a goal for the win.

This was the best game I’ve seen the Red Wings play in a long time. It was great to see the jump they had. They were all at the top of their games. Helm was incredible. Bertuzzi had a ton of scoring chances and he must be starting to think that he’s cursed because none of them went in. Osgood was excellent, and so were Datsyuk and Zetterberg. The Red Wings just keep improving and that’s great to see.

This 1-2 win brings us to:
17 points