The Shark won a big game in Detroit Tuesday and there were two big reasons as both Niclas Wallin and Jason Demers
returned to the lineup. San Jose has played recently with as much as 50 percent of their regular blueline missing, with Demers and Walling returning, Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan had almost his full compliment of blueliners available. Wallin played 11:19 and Demers 11:08, but the addition of both in the seven man rotation ate up more than 20 minutes of ice time against the Red Wings.
No NHL player enjoys the press box seat whether it’s due to an injury or a coach’s decision, but Demers and Wallin were more than ready for their health to return so they could return. Getting both back at the same time was a huge bonus.
“It felt good. It is frustrating to not be able to play,” Wallin said.
The start against Detroit wasn’t ideal for the entire team, but having two more regulars on the backend didn’t hurt in calming the club against the fast Red Wings attack.
“The first period wasn’t very good, but I thought the second an third period we turned the game around,” Wallin said.
And Wallin played a major part in the turnaround. Just 4:53 into the second period with San Jose trialing by a goal, he tied the affair with his second marker of the year and then eight seconds later, Logan Couture
put San Jose up for good. The two goals in eight seconds just missed the club record of two goals in seven seconds set Nov. 5, 1992 by Larry DePalma and Dave Snuggerud against Buffalo.
“Sometimes that happens, but we haven’t had the bounces some times and we had some yesterday,” Wallin said. “Early in the season we didn’t have the bounces in games with 50 shots. It was nice to see that happen.”
Following his first game back, Wallin felt strong and looks forward to another quality performance in Philadelphia for both he and the team.
“When you don’t play for a while, it’s timing,” Wallin said about the hardest part of returning to the lineup.
Wallin is also hoping he and his teammates can finish off the final two games of the road trip in an impressive fashion.
“The whole team was up for the Ottawa game and I thought we played really well that game,” Wallin noted. “Against Montreal, it was a step back. Then we got a big win against a team who is always one of the top teams in the conference. Today was a day off with no skate and we’ll get back to it tomorrow. We play tomorrow and in Buffalo on Thursday and we look forward to playing for those four points and hopefully we get them all.”
Wallin feels the Sharks have a run in them to put a string of victories together.
“Every game is a test and a battle and we have to start winning games,” Wallin said. “We’ve won one, lost one, won one, lost one. In this league, you have to put up a winning streak. That is how you separate yourself from the other teams in the division.”
Wallin’s tally was his second of the season, quite an increase considering he didn’t register one goal last season. Wallin hasn’t score three in a year since lighting the lamp four times in 2005-06, but he now has two-thirds of a season to best his last four campaigns.
When he was in Carolina, Wallin’s nickname was “Rilla”, as in short for having the strength of a gorilla.
“It’s a name that came up when I was throwing some weights around I guess,” Wallin said. “The first guy to say it was Sean Hill.”
Sharks first round pick Charlie Coyle has been tabbed as one of 29 finalists to possibly represent Team USA at the upcoming World Jr. Championship.
’s first period shorthanded goal was the Sharks first shortie on the road this year.
The Sharks five goals against Detroit were the most the club had scored in Joe Louis Arena in a regular season game and the three goal margin of victory tied San Jose’s regular season and playoff record in the building.
The Sharks will visit Philadelphia Wednesday at 4 p.m. and the game will be on Versus, 98.5 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.