With all his accolades, Dan Boyle
’s three assists can sometimes slide under the radar, but it jumps out when a rookie blueliner is on the stat sheet twice. Jason Demers
had a major league playoff game by dishing a helper on both of the Sharks first two goals. Getting up 2-0 was key to the victory.
“We got off to the good start,” stated Demers. “We knew they were going to battle hard and they were not going to give us anything.”
Manny Malhotra led the Sharks in the faceoff circle and McLellan continually went to the well to keep earning possession of the puck.
“Down the stretch Manny (took) five, six, seven faceoffs in a row where he really did a good job and battled,” said McLellan.
The Sharks announced just prior to the game’s start that they would be without their leading goal scorer Patrick Marleau
. McLellan noted after the game that Marleau “absolutely” would be good to go for Sunday.
“Patty was fighting the flu the past 24 hours,” said McLellan. “His temperature was at a point where it was dangerous for him to play. It wasn’t healthy. We shouldn’t risk his health for one night. We missed him and I felt the rest of the team stepped up.”
Nobody on the Sharks roster thought the Red Wings would roll over when they found themselves down 3-0 and that was critical to keeping the pedal pushed to the medal.
“We knew they were going to come hard after we went up 3-0 and I think we handled it well,” said Demers.
“They went into desperation mode,” said Joe Thornton
. “They’ve got a lot of pride over there and we knew they were going to come back and make a push. I thought we did a pretty good job after the first one. We held on tonight.”
The Sharks started the third period with a critical five-on-three power play. A goal would push the lead to two. No goal would push momentum the Red Wings way. The game-winning tally was found.
“We got to start five-on-three, which was huge,” said Boyle. “We needed to score that goal. If we don’t’ score it could have changed the momentum of the game. It went in for us tonight. That fourth goal was huge.”
The Sharks two power play goals were the difference in the game, but it was also immeasurable that the penalty killing unit stopped all five Red Wings efforts.
“Our PK was really solid for us,” said Demers. “The penalty kill did a great job blocking shots and not letting them get set up in our zone.”
THREE IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
The Sharks scored three goals in a 1:19 span in the first period. It is the fastest three goals in postseason franchise history breaking a mark set April 13, 2008 vs. Calgary (2:02).
Boyle’s three assists tied a single-game franchise postseason record – done seven times [MR: Christian Ehrhoff (4/25/06 vs. Nashville)] – and moved him ahead of all NHL blueliners in defenseman scoring for the 2010 postseason (2+7=9).
DETROIT HEAD COACH MIKE BABCOCK
“We think we have a good team and we think its going to be a good series. They obviously got off to a good start tonight. I don’t think we played poorly.”
“I thought (Dan) Clearly was excellent tonight. I should have played him more. You need everyone come playoff time to be successful.”
“We thought we were right there. They got the two goals and then there was a TV timeout, then they shot the puck in our net one more time. We wish we could have the 5-on-3 power play back. We had it all covered off, but they put it in the net, but that’s just the way it is sometimes.”
Game 2 will be Sunday at 5 p.m. and will be on Versus, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.