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Detroit Takes Game Five 4-1

by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks
The Sharks fell 4-1 in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals at Joe Louis Arena today to the Detroit Red Wings. Although the Sharks took an early lead, four consecutive goals by Detroit sealed the victory and gave the Wings a 3-2 lead in this second round series.
 
As they have done all series, the Sharks came out flying to open Game 5. Sustained pressure by Joe Thornton, Jonathan Cheechoo and Milan Michalek forced the Red Wings back on their heels in the early stages of the first.
 
The early hustle by San Jose paid off and just 4:53 into the game, the Sharks got on the scoreboard. Marcel Goc scored his second goal in as many games on a pin-point shot from the top of the circle to Dominik Hasek’s right. Mike Grier received a pass from Kyle McLaren in the neutral zone and carried the puck over the Detroit blueline with speed. Grier handed the puck off to Goc who stepped into his shot and beat Hasek low to the glove-side for the early 1-0 lead.
 
The Sharks kept their foot on the gas and with 13:13 to go in the first, Curtis Brown nearly made it a two-goal lead. Marc-Edouard Vlasic pressured the Wings breakout and deflected the puck back into the Detroit zone. Brown, who was deep in the zone after finishing his check, beat his defender to the puck and slammed a shot on Hasek from the slot. Hasek was forced to make a big save and kept it a 1-0 game.
 
With 12:33 to go in the opening stanza, strong play on the half board by Ryane Clowe forced Detroit forward Kirk Maltby to take a hooking penalty, sending the Sharks on the first man advantage of the game. The Sharks pressed, but were unable to convert.
 
An inspired shift by Captain Patrick Marleau at the midway point of the period resulted in a quality scoring chance by Steve Bernier, but Hasek held his ground on the near-side post and got enough of the puck to turn it aside. Marleau took the puck away from the Wings defender in the corner after finishing his hit and found Bernier on a tape-to-tape centering feed for the shot.
 
With 1:20 to play in the first, Detroit forward Henrik Zetterberg drew the first penalty on the Sharks on a great individual effort. Zetterberg went shoulder-to-shoulder with Scott Hannan who inadvertently tripped the forward. The Wings closed out the first period on the power play, but after one, San Jose lead 1-0.
 
The Red Wings opened the second on the power play for 40 seconds, but were unable to convert on the carry-over from Hannan’s penalty.
 
At 2:15 of the second, Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, who quietly made eight saves in the first period, snagged a Johan Franzen offering out of the air for his best save of the game.
 
But Detroit was relentless and at 16:50, the Red Wings broke through. Detroit forward Tomas Holmstrom battled with Kyle McLaren in front of the Sharks net, knocking the Sharks defenseman’s stick out of his hands. The puck made its way back to Detroit Captain Nicklas Lidstrom who put it towards the Sharks cage. Holmstrom collected the puck, then made a backhand pass to Zetterberg who snuck in the back side and put the puck past a sprawling Nabokov for the 1-1 tie.
 
The momentum shifted in Detroit’s favor and with 14:02 to play in the second, the Wings nearly took the lead. Wings forward Robert Lang went in alone on Nabokov on a mini-break, but sailed the puck wide of the Sharks cage. After missing the net, Detroit’s bench got anxious on the play and was whistled for too many men on the ice.
 
The Sharks threatened on the ensuing power play, but with 12:25 to go in the second, Christian Ehrhoff was called for holding. The call was questionable as it looked like Ehrhoff was in a foot race with Lidstrom, but the officials deemed that Ehrhoff had gotten his loose hand free and held the Wings Captain.
 
Nabokov made a pair of superb stops on the penalty kill, keeping it a tie game. Upon exiting the penalty box, Christian Ehrhoff joined the penalty kill and was hooked by Wings defenseman Danny Markov as he attempted to clear the puck. The Sharks were unable to convert on their third power play and the game remained locked at 1-1.
 
A innocent looking clearing attempt by Detroit set up the Wings second goal with 3:47 to play in the second. The puck moved down the ice slowly towards Nabokov who moved out of his crease to play it. Nabokov’s clearing attempt hit Detroit forward Pavel Datsyuk and dropped down to his stick. Datsyuk moved around Nabokov and put the puck in the vacated Sharks goal for the 2-1 lead.
 
Detroit carried the lead into the locker room, 2-1, after 40 minutes of play.
 
San Jose began the third period on the power play, a carry over from a scrum at the end of second period. San Jose was unable to convert on their two-minute advantage. Less than two minutes after the teams returned to even strength, Detroit was awarded their third power play of the game.
 
Mark Smith was called for hooking and the Wings went to work. Needing just 29 seconds, Mikael Sameulsson notched the game’s fourth goal. The slap shot, set up by Zetterberg and Dasyuk gave the Red Wings the 3-1 lead with 16:14 to play in the third.
 
A goaltender interference call on Mike Grier with 14:39 to play set up another Wings power play and they would again strike. This time Zetterberg and Datsyuk set up Holmstrom, making it 4-1.
 
The game’s intensity picked up and the personal battles began. With 12:44 left in the third, Maltby took a run at Michalek prompting Thornton to take a roughing penalty behind the Wings cage.
 
Hard work by Mark Smith opened the door for the Sharks when he drew a high-sticking penalty on Wings defeseman Andreas Lilja. The Sharks did not convert and Detroit held their advantage late in the game.
 
Joe Thornton had a scoring chance when he attempted to bank it around Hasek who was laid out on his back, but the sprawling goaltender grabbed the puck outside the goal line. A scrum ensued following the play, but no penalties were handed out for the extracurriculars behind the net.
 
In the final minute, the Sharks failed to close the gap. Detroit’s two-goal third period sealed off San Jose, and after sixty minutes of play, Detroit won game 5 by the score of 4-1.
 
SHARK BYTES
Red Wings defenseman Mathieu Schneider, who scored the overtime game winner in Game 4, left the game after just three shifts and 1:49 of ice time with a forearm injury.
 
LINEUP
Bill Guerin (facial laceration) is day-to-day, but did not dress. Rookie center Joe Pavelski dressed in his place.
 
Michalek – Thornton – Cheechoo
Clowe – Goc – Grier
Rissmiller – Marleau – Bernier
Brown – Pavelski – Smith
 
Hannan – Vlasic
McLaren – Ehrhoff
Carle – Rivet
 
Nabokov – Toskala
 
NEXT GAME
The two teams return to San Jose for Game Six of their Western Conference Semifinal series. The game will be on Monday evening at either 6:00 PM or 7:00 PM (Pacific). Game time will be determined based on the outcome of the Ottawa/New Jersey game later this evening. The game will be broadcast on FSN Bay Area in high-definition, KFOX 98.5 FM, Sharks Radio Network Affiliates and SJSHARKS.com.
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