San Jose’s 3-1 victory against Detroit gave Team Teal three consecutive wins against their Western Conference rival and pulled them within three points of second place in the conference race. It was another complete game by the Sharks that was capped by a two-goal performance from Dany Heatley.
The start was pivotal as San Jose led on the shot chart 10-1 at one point, helping to jump on a Red Wings club playing their second game in as many nights.
“I thought we really came out hard in the first 10-15 minutes and took control,” Heatley said. “We took a couple of penalties and let them back in a little bit. That last bit of the second and third we dominated pretty well. The last few times we played them they really outplayed us at the start of the game and that is something we wanted to change tonight.”
Heatley’s two goals were not only important for providing the winning margin, but the sniper had scored just once in the previous 12 games.
“Whitey made a great play to get it through off the first one and that play off the power play seemed to be working for us this year. Pavs made a great pass,” Heatley said. “It hadn’t been going in the net lately and it’s nice to get a couple.”
Dating back to last year’s playoffs, San Jose has now captured seven of its last nine contests with Detroit.
“I think it’s fun to play them. I think we really respect them,” Heatley said. “I think tonight you could feel it in the crowd, the fans were really into it. It’s getting to that point at the end of the year and you can feel the fans getting excited with a team like Detroit.”
“They are a good team and we are a good team. They are always good games,” Joe Thornton
The Sharks eight-game winning streak is their longest of the season and a big reason why they hold a six point lead in the Pacific Division. San Jose’s players are very aware that plenty of contests remain on the docket and the focus must remain.
“We’ve put ourselves in a good spot right now, but we’ve got a lot of games left,” Heatley said. “We’ve got to forget about this one and get ready for Saturday night.”
“It doesn’t matter who we play right now, we’ve just got to get wins and climb the standings as much as we can,” Thornton said. “We know there are a bunch of teams on our heels.”
San Jose’s third goal was definitely a result of work, if not a conventional method. On the play, Patrick Marleau
was driving on the forecheck and forced Joey MacDonald to rush his clearing attempt. Marleau got his stick on the puck and it went off an opposing blueliner and across the goal line.
“I just got a little piece of it and it went off their D-man and in the net,” Marleau said. “I hit the puck and at the same time as MacDonald. I knew I got a piece of it.”
Marleau did a favor for a former junior teammate coaching the Spokane Jr. Chiefs and gave a lockerroom tour postgame. The club is in town to face the Jr. Sharks.
Niclas Wallin played in his 600th career NHL game.
With his assist on Heatley’s goal, Thornton is now in sole possession of 55th place on the NHL all-time assist List (684) and is in 80th place on the NHL all-time points list (985).
With his unassisted goal, Marleau tallied his 25th of the season. He is now tied with Logan Couture
for the team lead in goals and is third on the team in points (25—24=49).
SHARKS HEAD COACH TODD MCCLELLAN
[Regarding Dany Heatley] “Positionally strong tonight, skated well, created opportunities to score, went to the net. It’s a pretty good recipe for him.”
[Marleau’s goal] “Its funny what happens when you go hard. I know the guys were bugging Heater. He had a wide open net and missed and Patty didn’t even shoot it and he scored. Sometimes you’ve got to get them ugly.”
“Usually the hockey gods take care of you at the end of the night if you put the honest effort in. It doesn’t always go your way but it likely will.”
RED WINGS HEAD COACH MIKE BABCOCK
“I thought we got through the first ten minutes. We got the game at 1-1. I thought we were better there than in the second period. In the end they scored a power play goal there to go up 2-1. But I thought it was a real good road game for us here tonight.”
“We were on back-to-back nights and I thought we did lots of good things. Unfortunately, that bounce there, I thought we were going to tie it up. In the end, that third goal made it harder.”
“Anytime you play back to back nights, you know the other team is going to come out flying. I thought we did a good job getting the power play goal to come back and make it 1-1, but in the end it wasn’t enough.
San Jose will host Dallas Saturday at 7:30 and tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The contest will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.