Detroit had such a good start to the game when the Sharks began to hunt for blood. They managed to score three unanswered against the Red Wings before holding them off in the final seconds for a 3-2 win at Joe Louis Arena Friday night.
The return of Pavel Datsyuk had the Red Wings very excited to get their offense rolling, as it should. Detroit’s magic man had been out for a while since having surgery done on ruptured tendons in his right ankle during the offseason that kept him out of action for over a month. With him back in the lineup, it changed things up for the Red Wings who had lines stacked with offense.
Datsyuk returned to play with the captain and Justin Abdelkader leaving rookie Dylan Larkin to play alongside Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar. The Red Wings first two lines the way they sit could increase their shots on goal, which sit far down in the league. They would try things out against a slightly different Sharks team that has new leadership on the bench and behind it. Though San Jose has lost eight of their last 13, they will try to pull the first of two games against Detroit for a win.
Detroit made things difficult for San Jose as they pushed the puck into the Sharks with Larkin leading the way on the low side. He found Tatar across the ice driving the puck on the high side scoring his fourth of the season. It came three minutes into the period with Larkin tying Patrick Kane for the league lead on plus/minus rating.
Despite all the good ways to start the game, the Red Wings power play was still in need of improvement as they let it get away from them as well as the score. Just 20 seconds after the conclusion of their penalty, the Sharks got hold of the puck setting up Melker Karlsson for a backhander that got behind goalie Jimmy Howard tying the game and giving the sophomore center his first of the season.
Detroit let another man advantage slip away as the Shark’s confidence built behind their fight for possession. Detroit answered battling the Sharks away from their net and taking the attack back on San Jose goalie Martin Jones. It didn’t go well for them as they were hungry for another goal and would get it with tremendous strength.
With nearly two minutes left, the Sharks fourth line skated into the Detroit zone where Matt Nieto took a wrist shot and connected with the net scoring his third this season to give them the lead. Though it was a good start for Detroit outshooting the Sharks 10-7, they left things open a little too long and found themselves down going into the second.
The Red Wings came out with sticks blazing against but the stops that Jones made for San Jose had the confidence rising. They started to fire on Howard near the midpoint of the game where at 10:26, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski scored his ninth deflecting Paul Martin’s drive from the right side of the Detroit net taking a 3-1 lead.
Instead of maintaining focus on keeping the puck and shooting it at Jones, the frustrations got the best of them in the final minutes. Joe Thornton didn’t make things better for Detroit slamming into Luke Glendening who left the ice in the last minute of play. The Red Wings took 12 shots on Jones and the Sharks but the score continued to stand in favor of their opponents.
The third started the remainder of 4 on 4 as Detroit had a lot of ground to make up in twenty minutes. They were find themselves playing against a stronger Sharks team as they were showing more speed in the skates than Detroit had left in the tank. It was the key factor in the final minutes of the game as the Red Wings pulled Howard from net giving Detroit six men to score two goals.
They got halfway to their goal as Jakub Kindl got on the board with a shoot behind the faceoff dot that went off defenseman Justin Braun to give him three goals this season. Howard left the net again with 1:30 left as Detroit had the opportunity to send it to overtime. The Sharks played for possession and killed off time leaving Detroit scrambling. It was enough to fluster them up and hand them another loss.
With the on and off success on the ice, their game would require improvements fast as they head out for a game against the Boston Bruins Saturday.