One statistic sums up the Sharks 4-1 loss to the Red Wings on Saturday night: 20 giveaways.
After taking a 1-0 lead into the second period, the Sharks gave up four consecutive goals --- three of which spurred from turnovers --- to an injured Red Wings squad that sits in ninth place in the Western Conference.
Following the game, Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan expressed his frustration with his team.
“I thought one team was prepared to play a simple game; their D was prepared to move the puck up quick, their forwards made our D turn, they managed their shifts length, they didn’t lose a lot of loose puck battles,” said McLellan.
“On the other hand, for some unknown reason, we thought we needed a bunch of risk and we needed to be a fancy team to beat them,” he continued. “I don’t know how many times we need to play against teams like that to realize it, but they still haven’t learned the lesson.”
Sharks Captain Rob Blake was the first player to address the media following the loss and focused on his team’s lack of offense against Detroit.
“Tonight we made them a lot more dangerous than they are,” said Blake who logged three shots on goal and 20:02 minutes of ice time. “They beat us in a lot of aspects. We weren’t nearly good enough in that game.”
Saturday’s game started off on the right foot when Patrick Marleau
gave the Sharks an early lead by tapping in a hearty rebound from Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard at 11:02 of the first period. Sharks center Joe Thornton
started the play with a faceoff win back to Dan Boyle
who ripped a shot from the point. Howard made the initial stop, but Dany Heatley and Marleau were parked on his crease and Marleau jumped on the rebound to score his 29th goal of the season.
“We were both whacking away there,” said Marleau about being alongside Heatley when he scored. “I wasn’t too sure who was going to get to it.”
But mistakes in the second and third period cost San Jose the game.
Three straight goals by Detroit shocked the sellout crowd at HP Pavilion. The Wings capitalized on two Sharks turnovers and one long change to take a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes of play.
“When we did have possession, we made a few mistakes and that caused odd man rushes,” said Marleau. “When you get a team like Detroit, they have a lot of skill and know how to find the back of the net.”
Detroit started their frenzy by capitalizing on a Sharks turnover at 6:37 of the second period. Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk broke up a Sharks offensive transition while the defense was changing. Douglas Murray
rushed back to the play, but couldn’t reach Datsyuk before he ripped a wrist shot back the outstretched glove of Nabokov.
The second goal came while the Sharks were stuck on a long shift. Defenseman Doug Janik took a shot from the point and the raised stick of Patrick Eaves deflected the puck past Nabokov’s glove at 14:53. The Sharks netminder immediately protested the goal, arguing it was tipped by a high-stick. But after a review of the play, the call on the ice was confirmed.
One minute and nine seconds later, the Red Wings struck again. Valtteri Filppula broke up a Sharks drive and led a three-on-two the opposite direction. Filppula passed the puck over to Cleary and Kent Huskins dropped to the ice, committing to Cleary’s shot. The right winger dragged the puck around the outstretched Sharks defenseman and took a point blank shot past Nabokov.
The third period belonged to Detroit. The Red Wings netted their fourth goal of the game after Darren Helm intercepted a clearing attempt by Dan Boyle
at the blue line. Nabokov stopped Helm’s initial shot, but the Red Wings center tapped home the rebound for his eighth goal of the season at 4:34.
Devin Setoguchi sparked some life into the final minutes of the game when he dropped the gloves with Cleary at 15:40 of the third period. The fight was the second of Setoguchi’s NHL career, with the first coming on April 9, 2009 against Martin Hanzal of the Phoenix Coyotes.
WELCOME TO THE NHL
23-year-old John McCarthy competed in his first NHL game on Saturday night against Detroit. The 6-foot-1, 195 pound left winger registered one shot and two hits in 11 minutes of ice time.
“It’s a little bit different than Worcester,” said McCarthy. “It’s a higher level of play. Everyone’s a little bit smarter and a little bit quicker and you’ve got to catch up.”
Heatley – Thornton – Marleau
Clowe – Pavelski – Setoguchi
McCarthy – Mitchell – Ortmeyer
Shelley – Nichol - Staubitz
Murray – Boyle
Vlasic – Blake
Huskins - Demers
Nabokov – Greiss
The Sharks will now embark on a two-game road trip where they’ll play back-to-back games against Los Angeles and Phoenix. San Jose will take on the Kings on Monday, Jan 11 at 7:30 PM and then battle the Coyotes on Tuesday, Jan 12 at 6:00 PM. Both games will air on CSN-CA in HD and 98.5 KFOX FM.