The San Jose Sharks traveled to Joe Louis Arena in snowy Detroit for their matchup against the Western Conference leading Red Wings and earned their fourth win in a row with a 3-2 victory. Devin Setoguchi led the way with two goals, including the game-winner, and Evgeni Nabokov stopped 20 of 22 shots to ensure the victory.
With the victory, Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson moved into a tie for first place on the Sharks all-time coaching victory list.
Less than two minutes into the game, San Jose’s Patrick Rissmiller was at the end of a long shift, but stayed on the ice to force the puck deep. Instead of just getting it deep, Rissmiller gained control along the boards and found Joe Pavelski
, who had just entered on a line change. Due to Rissmiller’s forecheck, Pavelski was able to take the pass unguarded in the high slot and he quickly wristed it behind Dominik Hasek for the early lead.
Pavelski, along with Patrick Marleau
and Devin Setoguchi, had the Sharks strongest overall shift midway through the first when they controlled play around Hasek for 40 seconds, but they could not collect the second tally.
San Jose had a late first period power play and almost had the equalizer when Joe Thornton
found the puck and some daylight to the far side of the net, but Hasek recovered in the nick of time to keep the deficit at one.
After 20 minutes, San Jose maintained their 1-0 advantage.
The lead increased to two less than one minute into the second period as Marleau’s line was rewarded for their efforts on this effort. After Hasek made an initial save, Marleau gained control and fed Setoguchi in the slot. The Thursday call-up quickly unleashed his one-timer to make it 2-0.
Detroit would immediately strike back while on the power play. A point pass found Henrik Zetterberg near the hashmarks and he redirected it to the far post before Nabokov could slide over.
With 14 minutes to go in the second, Detroit appeared set to tie the game. Kris Draper carried the puck behind the net and when Nabokov moved to cover the post, the puck found its way out front. The net was open, but a diving Mike Grier prevented the shot from getting off and the 2-1 score stood for the time being.
San Jose had a late power play to close out the second, but was halted by Detroit’s penalty killers and the second period concluded with San Jose up 2-1.
In the third, a driving Thornton drew a power play and this time San Jose would take advantage. On an unusual looking play, a Sharks point shot was stopped by Hasek and deflected up high. No one on the ice could locate the puck, but as it rolled back off the glass to the side of the net, Setoguchi was the first to find it and quickly pushed it across the line.
Detroit would not give up and took advantage of some five-on-three time in the final 10 minutes to tie the game. Mikael Samuelsson slapped a shot from the point that Nabokov had no chance to see with Tomas Holmstrom parked out front. The tally came so quickly on the five-on-three, that Detroit still had 1:50 of power play time left, but the Sharks shorthanded players came through to preserve the lead.
The Red Wings pulled Hasek for a late extra attacker, but could not find the tying tally and San Jose closed out the 3-2 victory.
Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment and the San Jose Sharks congratulate the San Jose Jr. Sharks Midget 16 AAA team for winning the Tier I 2008 California Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) Championship on Feb. 10. This Jr. Sharks club is also the first Northern California team to win a state championship.
The team now advances to the regional tournament, March 6-9, in Anchorage, Alaska. The Jr. Sharks will be facing teams from Southern California, Washington, Nevada and two from Alaska. The regional winner will go to the national championships, April 2-6, in Buffalo, NY.
The Sharks will close out their season long eight game road trip Saturday with a 5:30 p.m. PST start that will be carried on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.