By virtue of their hard-fought 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday afternoon, the San Jose Sharks have captured the first two games in their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series to take a 2-0 series lead over the Red Wings and to take confidence and momentum on the road as the series now shifts to the Motor City for games 3 and 4.
“It’s huge. Up 2-0 vs. the spilt gives us a lot of confidence,” said Sharks defenseman Ian White. “Going into their barn, we’re playing as well as we’ve been playing all year. We’ve got lots of confidence and we’re going to go in there feeling good about ourselves.”
Taking an early 2-0 lead in the series is also especially satisfying for the Sharks knowing that Detroit was one of the better road teams in the NHL during the 2010-11 regular season compiling an impressive 26-11-4 record on the road.
But while the early series lead has given the Sharks a level of confidence, a sense of satisfaction is still a long ways away as the team knows that there is much work to be done and that a trip into Joe Louis Arena won’t be easy.
“We did the job at home,” added Sharks forward Dany Heatley. “Now they’re gonna come hard. We were in the same position last year. Nothing changes. Nothing changed after game one. We’ll just make some adjustments and get back out there for Game 3.”
The best-of-seven series now shifts to Detroit where the Red Wings will look to even the series. During the regular season, the Red Wings finished with an impressive 21-14-6 record at home although the Sharks captured both regular season meetings in Detroit with a 5-2 win on December 6 and a 4-3 victory on February 22. Although the Sharks have now run their record to an impressive 5-1 in the head-to-head match-up against the Central Division Champs, nobody in the Sharks locker room is taking the remainder of the series lightly.
Likewise, the Red Wings, who don’t feel that they have yet played to the best of their abilities in the series, will look to even things out at Joe Louis Arena.
“We’ve gotta keep on ‘em. Keep finding a way to get involved and be as disciplined as we can. ” said Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock. “Now we’re going home. We’ll have our crowd. We’ve gotta do something.”
And the Sharks know that there is a lot of hockey left to be played if they want to advance to Round 3.
“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” said Sharks defenseman Jason Demers
. “This team (Detroit) can turn it around at anytime. We’re happy with the win. We played really well. But we’re going into a good building in Detroit and we’ve gotta be ready to go because they for sure are going to be waiting for us.”
The Sharks will travel to Detroit on Monday morning in preparation for Games 3 and 4 of the series to be played Wednesday, May 4 at 5 p.m. and Friday, May 6 at 4 p.m. at Joe Louis Arena.