It was an entertaining game to watch and the Wings defeated the Sharks, 4-2.
Mike Grier got the Sharks on the board first on a power play goal to give San Jose their only lead in the game.
Niklas Kronwall grabbed the puck in mid-air by the Sharks' blueline, brought it up a couple strides, and then took a shot that was deflected into the net behind Nabakov by Mclaren's left skate. It was Kronner's first goal of the season and fourth of his career (123 games).
Just as a power player came to a close, Henrik Zetterberg took a shot that went off the post and into the net as Tomas Holmstrom blocked Nabakov's vision. Hank tied his longest career point streak of eight games. The play came after goaltender Chris Osgood passed the puck from almost the top of the face-off circle to Brian Rafalski, who was in the Sharks' end.
During the second period intermission, Kronwall said that "we have to stay out of the box, which we didn't do in the first period." Kronner had two hooking penalties in the first.
FSN also did a brief feature on Nicklas Lidstrom, the quiet leader.
"He's the best player out on the ice every night." - Niklas Kronwall
"The transition from Stevie to Lidstrom was seamless." - Brett Lebda
Dallas Drake is being held out of the rest of the game for precautionary reasons. He just got his bell rung when McLaren hit him against the boards in the first.
Aaron Downey got into a fight with McLaren in the third resulting in a huge tear in his jersey (left shoulder blade area). He did get in some good left punches in the fight. According to FSN, the new updated Reebok jerseys will arrive in about five weeks.
The Detroit Free Press had a nice article about Downey and his fighting role on the team. Here's a snippet:
"I think all of us got a little extra energy there when he went out and did that," Zetterberg said. "It was a great fight, and it changed the momentum back to our side again. It doesn't happen that often, but now we've got four fights this year in eight games, and it's good -- I think it belongs to the game and the fans like it, and we like it, too."
The difference between Downey and last year's experiment with enforcer Brad Norton is that Downey is a smart contributor.
"In all the games he's played, he's been effective," Babcock said. "He knows how to play. He's never going to be accused of being overly skilled or overly fast, but he is overly determined and he's a great team guy. He says good things and does good things, and he makes our team better."
Downey said his role is to make sure his teammates can play safely.
"I want to contribute some way, and I didn't like what McLaren was doing with Dallie Drake and then with Henrik," Downey said. "You've got to send a message, and I'm sending a message right now -- that no one is going to mess with this team this year."
With 12:26 left in the third, Matt Ellis scored his first NHL goal, which was an awkward motion of the throwing the puck at the net after digging for the puck in the boards. Jiri Hudler scooped the puck out of the net for Ellis to keep as a memorabilia item.
The Wings started a 1:40 long 5-on-3 power play and less than 40 seconds later, Pavel Datsyuk scored on a nice feed from Zetterberg on the opposite side of the crease leaving Datsyuk wide open for the shot. Rafalski notched his third assist of the night on that goal.
The power play unit with the Wings top offensive line, Lidstrom, and Rafalski has been really impressive. It doesn't hurt that Lidstrom is a leftie and Rafalski is right-handed so they can set up nicely on the blueline.
Chris Osgood had a solid game stopping all but 2 of the 25 shots he faced. Nabakov made 23 saves.
The Wings have a day off before playing in Phoenix at 10pm (EST) on Saturday evening.