With their 4-3 win over the Red Wings on Sunday night, the Sharks have put together back-to-back victories and a 2-0 series lead over Detroit. In this seven game series, San Jose has a stronghold over their fifth-seeded opponent.
There’s no better way to head into Joe Louis Arena for Game 3.
“We took care of home ice,” said left wing Ryane Clowe
who had a goal in the first period. “I don’t know what happened in the past at Joe Louis, but I know how we feel about our game and that’s the important part. I’m sure that’s going to be a tough building to go into, but whatever happens we’re just going to keep fighting through it.”
Clowe was on his game Sunday night, scoring one of the prettiest goals of the playoffs. Not only for the finish (between the legs), but also for the delivery (a cross-ice pass from Joe Pavelski
His linemate Pavelski was also on point. The Plover, Wisconsin native scored two goals and added one assist to become only the third player in NHL history to have three-straight multiple goal games in the playoffs.
When asked about how he felt about being up 2-0 heading back to Detroit, Pavelski had a cautious outlook.
“You’re trying to win four,” said Pavelski following the game. “Every game you grab is important, especially with home ice. We realize they’re really good at home as well. We still have a long ways to go and we’ll only worry about the next game.”
Detroit finished the season with a home record of 25-10-6 while the Sharks finished 27-6-8. While both teams do best at home, the Sharks did split their two games at Joe Louis Arena.
Detroit took the first meeting in the shoot out, 3-2 on Nov. 5, but San Jose turned the tables on Feb. 11 and beat Detroit in the shootout by the same score.
So now the Sharks will travel to Detroit and the boys are anything but arrogant about entering “The Joe” with a two-game advantage. In four games against the Red Wings this season, San Jose went 1-2-1, 0-10 on the power play.
Although the Sharks have swept the first two games of the Western Conference Semifinals, they know better than to assume it’s in the bag.
“They play so well at home,” said center Manny Malhotra who went 11-5 (69%) in the faceoff circle in Game 2. “It’s going to be the same type of game; emotional, tight checking and we’re going to have to work for our opportunities.”
According to Head Coach Todd McLellan, the Sharks have a tough task ahead of them.
“We know going into their building, they play extremely well there,” said McLellan about preparing for Game 3. “They’ll have a bit of energy because their fans will be behind them. We face a very tough task. There have been many teams that have been up before and haven’t finished the task. Like I said before, I don’t think you can carry momentum from one game to another. You have to re-establish it and we’ll be looking to accomplish that early.”
On Tuesday night the Red Wings will come out desperate. The atmosphere at Joe Louis Arena will be thunderous, but according to Dany Heatley, it won’t be that different than the last two games at HP Pavilion.
“It’s playoff hockey,” said Dany Heatley. “I don’t think it matters where we’re playing. We’ve got to come out and do what we did the first two games; skate, forecheck and hit.”
The Sharks fly to Detroit on Monday morning and play Game 3 on Tuesday, May 4 at 4:30 PM PT. The game will be available on CSN-CA in High Definition, 98.5 KFOX FM and SJSHARKS.com.