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Sharks disappointed after loss prevents sweep

by Rick Sadowski /
DETROIT -- The bad news for the San Jose Sharks is that they were drilled 7-1 by the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena and failed miserably in an attempt to sweep their Western Conference Semifinal series.

The encouraging news, if there is such a thing after such a blowout defeat, is that the Sharks own a 3-1 series lead and will have an opportunity to clinch on home ice Saturday night at HP Pavilion.

"We came here to split and we did that, and now we just have to go home and win,c center Joe Thornton said. "We've had a good home record all year long and now we have to go home and do some business."

Taking care of Red Wings forward Johan Franzen certainly will be one of the priorities. Franzen was a one-man wrecking crew with four goals -- three in the first period -- and two assists for a team-record six points.

"We're all very disappointed, and I haven't had to use that word in a good month in our hockey club, so we're all disappointed," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "Not so much the fact that we lost, the fact that we weren't prepared and we knew what was coming. We said all the right things, but we didn't go out and respond to it.

"Maybe this spanking that we had tonight will wake us up and make us aware that we're in a heck of a series here. We're not out of the woods by any means. Again, I'm saying it, but we have to respond to it."

McLellan had warned his players that the Red Wings were too talented and too proud to have their season end without a fight. He said the Sharks could be in for a Detroit "hurricane" if they weren't ready, and he was right.

The Red Wings scored five first-period goals on nine shots against defenseless goalie Evgeni Nabokov, who was given the rest of the evening off.

"You have to learn from it," Sharks captain Rob Blake said. "We have to understand that there were three or four mistakes on each one of those goals. We'll learn from that and understand that our level of play has to be much higher.

"They're going to come in desperate again (Saturday) and we have to be ready for it. We have to raise our level of play. We knew they would come at us and we were not ready at all in the first period."

The Sharks had won six games in a row before Thursday, with three of the victories coming on the road.

"We were on a pretty good run and we lost a game," left wing Ryane Clowe said. "We've been in situations where, even after we won, you still have to forget about the game because the teams refocus. We weren't ready to compete at their level tonight.

"We could have lost that game 2-1 in double overtime. It doesn't matter. We're still up 3-1. There's obviously things we need to get better at, but we'll get there."

The Sharks might have known it could be a long night after they didn't take advantage of two good chances early in the first period.

They couldn't capitalize on a power play that began 61 seconds after the opening faceoff, and Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard snared Logan Couture's shot on a 2-on-1 rush 39 seconds after the man advantage expired.

"We had a couple chances in the first two or three minutes," defenseman Dan Boyle said. "If we score, maybe … I don't even want to say that. We just made a lot of stupid mistakes that we hadn't made in probably a month or so. We made a lot of dumb mistakes."

Nothing went right for the Sharks, and their frustration mounted in the third period when they were assessed 11 penalties totaling 41 penalties.

Even Thornton, who didn't have a penalty in the Sharks' first nine playoff games, was assessed a double minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct in the third period. He knocked down Franzen following a faceoff and mixed it up with Tomas Holmstrom.

"I thought they were diving around there pretty good," Thornton said. "I don't know why I got 10 minutes. Homer just kind of ran into me and I'm just a bigger guy, that's all."

It was a tough night for practically every Sharks player. Torrey Mitchell was minus 4-, while Boyle, Thornton, Dany Heatley and Douglas Murray were minus-3. Six other Sharks also finished with minuses.

"We have to give credit to the Red Wings; they played extremely well," McLellan said. "They were here to play and we saw that hurricane. I am disappointed that we didn't respond. They anted up and we didn't. So we'll see what happens moving forward."       

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