HP Pavilion was jumping early in the first period as the Sharks catapulted to a 2-0 lead on the rival Red Wings, however, things fell apart as the game went on and San Jose lost 4-2 in a disappointing contest.
The great start came via two terrific tallies from the talents of Joe Thornton
and Dany Heatley.
San Jose found the opening goal on a play started and finished with Thornton. The big guy blocked a shot by Detroit and then banged the puck up to Heatley. When Heatley moved across the blue line, he fired a shot on Detroit’s Jimmy Howard that left a juicy rebound. Thornton never stopped moving his feet after his initial pass and was there to bang in the loose change.
For San Jose’s second goal of the opening period, it was again a shot by Heatley that Thornton picked up and potted for the rebound. This time it came during some four-on-four action and Heatley’s shot from out front was found by his fellow Olympian for an easy put back.
“It was an easy goal,” said Thornton. “I got to the net and tapped it in. I happened to be in the right spot.”
The Sharks had the game in control, but wished they would have kept pressing.
“We let them back in the game early,” said Thornton. “We probably should have stepped on them a little.”
5 ON 3
The turning point for the night came late in the first with San Jose up a goal. Ideally they would have clung to that lead heading into the intermission, but couple of unfortunate penalties gave Detroit 1:32 of five-on-three time and they quickly tied the contest. A delay of game penalty to Rob Blake for clearing the puck over the glass from the defensive zone was what caused the two-man disadvantage.
“That was a tough break,” said Thornton. “It’s one of those things that happens.”
Just 18 seconds into the two-man Detroit advantage had tied the game. Nabokov had absolutely robbed Tomas Holmstrom a split second prior, but Henrik Zetterberg was alone at the side of the net and slammed the puck home before Nabokov could prepare for another stop.
“Nabby made a couple of good stops, but you can’t give a team like that three whacks,” said Pavelski.
“You give a skill team a five-on-three, they’re probably going to score,” said Thornton.
DOWN TWO MEN
Not having Dan Boyle
and Marc-Edouard Vlasic
definitely hurt the Sharks from a puck-moving standpoint on the night.
“They hunted us down pretty good. Their forecheck was real good,” said McLellan. “There was a point in the game where they decided they were going to get in behind us and they really came after us. They caught us back in our own zone. As a result, we played in our end more. Our forwards didn’t get the puck into their hands as much as we would have liked. It was a bit of a frustrating night.”
ONE MORE CHANCE
Detroit has now won all three games against the Sharks, but San Jose will have one final effort to take a victory against the Red Wings.
“We get them one more time and we have to execute,” said Heatley.
The rematch will take place on the upcoming road trip on February 11.
San Jose honored their eight Olympian in a pregame ceremony when five local youth hockey players skated onto the ice wearing the jersey and holding the flag of each country represented by Sharks players. Each Olympian then came over to where the kids were on the ice. San Jose’s Olympians are Dany Heatley, Joe Thornton
, Patrick Marleau
and Dan Boyle
for Canada, Evgeni Nabokov for Russia, Douglas Murray
for Sweden, Joe Pavelski
for the United States and Thomas Greiss
Thornton recorded his second two-goal game of the season (the previous was Dec. 17 against Anaheim).
Heatley extended his assist streak to three games and his points streak to four games with his two assists. Jason Demers
extended his point streak to three games (2+2=4) with his first-period assist.
DETROIT RED WINGS HEAD COACH MIKE BABCOCK
“We have been due to play well. I thought we stuck with it. Our good players were good; our special teams were very good, and we just found a way to score enough goals to win. You have to give our guys a lot of credit after going down 2-0 early. I didn’t think we were playing that bad, but that’s the way it went. We stuck with it and got a win.”
“I don’t think they had a lot going right off the start but then they scored. It’s a 60 minute game and you have to stick with it.”
“We got points in 3 straight games. We relied on our goaltender too much in the first two games but we still won. I think it’s real important that we got two points here tonight. You always like to start a road trip on a positive note, especially when you have back-to-backs it’s important to get the win the first night because it makes you feel better about yourself the second night.”
The Sharks will visit St. Louis on Thursday in a 5 p.m. game that will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.