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Red Wings return home down two games to Sharks

by Eric Goodman /
(Sharks lead best-of-seven series, 2-0)
Big story:
  A 4-3 comeback win by the Sharks on Sunday has put the Red Wings in an unfamiliar position, down 0-2 to start a playoff series. Since 1929, the Original Six club is only 4-21 when it drops the first two games of a series and last battled back from an 0-2 hole in 2002, reeling off four straight wins to defeat the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference Quarterfinals. A return to Joe Louis Arena might be the elixir that cures what’s been ailing the Wings, as they are 29-4-1 with one tie against the Sharks in their all-time regular-season series at home and 6-3 in the playoffs.

Team scope:
San Jose benefitted from two guys name Joe on Sunday. "Little" Joe Pavelski notched a pair of goals and became the first player to tally multiple-goal efforts over three straight playoff games since the Penguins’ Mario Lemieux did the same in 1992, while "Jumbo" Joe Thornton potted the game-winner in the third period for his first goal of the 2010 playoffs. Sunday also saw the reunification of the Dany Heatley-Patrick Marleau-Thornton line later in the game, after coach Todd McLellan made some quick changes to get the returning Marleau (flu) back in the flow with his old linemates. It was that line that notched Sunday’s clinching tally.

McClellan was pleased to see Thornton finally score a goal, but made it clear that his veteran center is worth much more than what you see in the box score.

"I don't think that we should question Jumbo's confidence at all," McLellan said. "I think if you purely evaluate his play on goals and assists, you're very mistaken. He has to contribute in the faceoff circle, he has to play against a guy like Pavel Datsyuk which isn't an easy task. For the most part in the first two games, I think he's done a very admirable job."

Red Wings:
The Wings were 0-for-5 on the power play in Game 1, but finally notched a goal with the man advantage off a Tomas Holmstrom tip-in during the first period of Game 2. The odds appear to be stacked against Detroit for this series, but coming home to JLA is exactly where the Wings want to be. Both games at HP Pavilion were decided with a 4-3 score, so the Red Wings are hoping that the octopus-throwing madness from the Motor City faithful might give them the extra edge they need to actually take a close game or two from San Jose.

"It'll be nice to get home ice again," captain Nicklas Lidstrom said on Sunday. "We're down 2-0 in this series, but we're heading home. It's going to be an important Game 3 coming up in Detroit. We're confident playing at home, but playoffs is different than the regular season. We know we have to play a lot better for 60 minutes to have success against this team.”

Who's hot:
Pavelski leads all scorers with nine goals during the playoffs. Datsyuk (12 points) trails Pavelski by only two points for the Western Conference playoff scoring lead.

Injury report:
Marleau (flu) was back in the Sharks lineup Sunday and assisted on Pavelski’s first goal. Wings forward Patrick Eaves (arm) did not play Sunday and it’s unclear if he’ll return for Game 3.
Stat pack: The Wings had to kill off 10 penalties on Sunday and have been shorthanded 16 times in the first two games. The Sharks have scored twice on 5-on-3 power plays this series.
Puck drop:
With a substantial series lead in hand, one would think that the Sharks would be looking to carry over the positive vibes that came from Games 1 and 2 into Tuesday’s affair, but McLellan is committed to take it one game at a time.

"I'm not a believer that you carry over momentum from game to game," McLellan said during Monday’s off-day press conference. "I think you have to come out and establish it and earn it again. We start at scratch. We have to come out and establish how we want to play."

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