It's not that often in hockey that a player gets hit with a high stick, is bleeding from the cheek and instead of drawing a double minor for his team, is instead sent to the box himself. That's what happened with Johan Franzen and the Detroit Red Wings in the second period of Game 1 in the Western Conference Semifinals.
Franzen was called for tripping Devin Setoguchi, despite Setoguchi's stick hitting Franzen in the face prior to the tripping call. Yeah, figure that one out. A minute later Setoguchi drew (and embellished) a high sticking call on Valtteri Filppula, giving the Sharks a 5-on-3 power play.
Fifty seconds into the third period, the 5-on-3 for the Sharks allowed Joe Pavelski to score his second power play goal of the night to put the Sharks ahead. The eventual game winning goal, on the power play that shouldn't have been.
The Wings dug a huge hole for themselves early on with 3 goals allowed in the span of 1:19. Pavelski started the scoring with a power play goal following a slashing call on Filppula. Dany Heatley scored 56 seconds later after a poor dump in by Darren Helm lead to an icing call and an eventual defensive zone draw that the Sharks won. Heatley put a pass from Joe Thornton past Jimmy Howard for a quick 2-0 lead. The Sharks would have had another power play opportunity on that play as Andreas Lilja got caught holding Thornton but the goal negated the call. Another defensive face-off loss cost the Wings a goal as Devin Setoguchi scored 23 seconds after the Heatley goal to make it 3-0.
But Detroit quieted down and started playing responsibly on defense. The offense started creating opportunities the other way and eventually a goal by Dan Cleary sparked some life in the Wings. Cleary's goal, at the 11:40 mark of the opening period, came as an easy tip-in after a great pass from Jonathan Ericsson along the boards. Cleary was alone in front of the net and had no problem burying the goal.
Detroit's second goal came off the stick of Franzen as Cleary screened Nabokov. Franzen ripped the shot home from the slot and Nabokov had no chance with screen by Cleary. The penalties at the end of the second period set the stage for Pavelski's goal. After Pavelski's goal, the Wings struck back with exemplary passing as Pavel Datsyuk dropped a pass soft pass to a streaking Brian Rafalski. Rafalski's goal at 2:57 provided the Wings with a bit of a spark but they were unable to tie the game up in the remaining minutes of the third.
There were surprisingly few shots on net for both teams (27 for San Jose, 23 for Detroit) considering the amount of offense that both teams have on their roster. The game was very choppy as penalty minutes riddled the game and destroyed a flow for either team.
Sure, the Sharks were still winning at the time of the questionable non-call but the inconsistency and utter stupidity behind the referees decision at that time is baffling. There's no guarantee that the Red Wings would have scored if they were given the double-minor power play but it would have given them the chance that the rulebook says they should have. If anything, the situation dictated penalties for both players which would have put Setoguchi in the box and the second penalty would not have been called.
Shocking stat of the night: Despite the numbers in the goal column, Jimmy Howard didn't play that bad of a game. He was once again left to fend for himself on a few plays because of poor penalty killing or defense. Of the four goals, he probably should have only stopped the last one. Even then, it was a 5-on-3, hard to pin him for that.
Player of the game: Dan Cleary. Cleary was the most active player on the ice for the Red Wings tonight. He tallied the first goal and screened the second goal. Cleary was all over the ice tonight and was a noticeable presence. Bonus points for pretty much immediately coming back out on the ice after the knee to the head.