The Red Wings welcomed the resurgent San Jose Sharks to their house on Tuesday night to see which winning streak would end first, the Wings' five-gamer or the Sharks' three. Turns out it was the Wings turn to face a loss, as they fell 4-3 to the Northern California wearers-of-teal. Both teams burned up the shot clock in this one, the final count was 43-38 San Jose.
Ten of those 43 San Jose shots came during an 18-shot first period in which the Wings took turns asking Logan Couture "Why so serious?" with their sticks, creating a double-minor and full two-minute 5-on-3. The Wings were able to stop that chance, but couldn't capitalize on the momentum that should have given them. To make matters worse, they did end up giving up a power play goal late in the first. The small saving grace to only killing 75% of the penalties taken was that they did manage to score one on their two power play chances.
Jimmy Howard had an incredible first period for the Wings, stopping all 18 San Jose shots and recording three big saves in that period alone: The first off an early turnover, the second off a Thornton shot deflection and flurry in front, and the third on a Couture shot from the slot. Unfortunately, those would be the only three big saves he would record in the game and one would be canceled out by the Shark's fourth goal, which was soft. He also gave up another half-bad goal, making his rating for the night a pedestrian +1.5.
Reminder: The H2H2 Pledge Drive continues through march 5th
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
Penalty Adjustment (x2): Midway through the first, Jonathan Ericsson gets a double minor for high-sticking on Logan Couture. Less than two minutes into that, Nicklas Lidstrom gets another two for also high-sticking Couture. Both Ericsson and Lidstrom will get minuses for this.
1st Period 19:52 - San Jose Goal (PP): Joe Thornton (backhand) from Joe Pavelski and Dan Boyle
With Jiri Hudler in the box for holding, the Sharks gain control after a faceoff win by Draper and a pass behind the net from Stuart to Kronwall. Kronner has time to collect the puck and clear, but instead, takes a chop at the puck that flubs up the boards straight to Pavelski. Heatley and Thornton play catch to Howard's left before going back to Boyle at the point. Dan Boyle gets a shot through traffic, which is deflected by Pavelski straight to Thornton standing in front to put it past Howard before he can react to the change in direction of the puck. The call is weak, but Hudler reaches from some distance to get a free hand on Clowe to take the penalty. For this, Jiri will get a half-minus. Other than that, Kronwall will also get a minus for his half-assed clearing attempt.
2nd Period 7:06 - Detroit Goal: Danny Cleary (wrist shot) from Jiri Hudler and Nicklas Lidstrom
Following some good forechecking on a dump-in from Hudler, Datsyuk digs it off the boards and feeds it to Lidstrom at the point to move to center ice and deliver a blast through traffic. Niemi stops it, but Hudler gets it on the side and shovels it off the backhand off of him. While the puck is trickling over the goal line, Cleary gets a stick on it to poke it the rest of the way home. Cleary was the last Wing to touch it, but this is Hudler's goal. I do feel that Cleary deserves an assist for helping dig the puck out at the boards. Hudler will also get a half-assist for recognizing that the dump-in was the best move and for poking it behind the net to Datsyuk to free up the puck and eventually lead to the goal.
2nd Period 14:08 - San Jose Goal: Ryane Clowe (backhand) unassisted
Ericsson takes a slapper from the point without looking to see that Clowe is in his lane. The puck bounces off of Clowe's shinpads and past Ericsson, who doesn't even have the good sense to drag the guy down before he goes in on a breakaway. Clowe dekes Howard and lifts a backhand over him. This is all Ericsson. Big Rig will get an extra minus while the rest of the players are cleared of their minuses. Rafalski, Zetterberg, Bertuzzi,and Franzen will not get minuses.
2nd Period 14:42 - Detroit Goal: Danny Cleary (wrist shot) from Jiri Hudler and Niklas Kronwall
Just 34 seconds later the Wings answer, as Hudler enters the zone, runs a give-and-go with Kronwall, and then fires a slap shot from the top of the right faceoff circle. The puck bounces off Niemi straight to Cleary at the other side. Cleary tries to lift it over Niemi, but the goalie stops it. Following up his own shot, the Wings' Newfie tries again and slams it home at the side. Pavel Datsyuk crashing the crease helps create traffic problems, but he's not truly screening, so Dats will only get a half-assist.
2nd Period 18:43 - San Jose Goal: Devin Setoguchi (wrist shot) from Joe Thornton and Logan Couture
Late in the period, the Wings 2nd line loses the puck deep in the San Jose zone. Thornton, Couture, and Setoguchi skate through center on a line as the Wings have three men back of their own. Bertuzzi steps up on Thornton in center ice and misses the guy, turning it into a 3-on-2. Thornton passes to Couture on the wing and goes to the net while the rookie fires it at Howard. Jimmy can't control the rebound and Thornton picks it up heading behind the net. With his long reach, Thornton throws it out front at the other side of the net where Setoguchi is crashing and gets the goal as he's stepped behind Bertuzzi. Bert's mess up is the biggest issue here and he'll get an extra minus for taking himself out of position. Late in the play, Hudler came on for Franzen right before the rush happened where the Sharks scored. Hudler will not get a minus, but Franzen will get a half-minus. I feel he was a little quick to abandon the forecheck in favor of a line change, making it too easy for the Sharks to exit the zone three-wide. .
3rd Period 13:12 - San Jose Goal: Devin Setoguchi (slap shot) from Joe Thornton and Logan Couture
With the Wings pressing in the second half of the third period, they turn the puck over as Holmstrom and Stuart miscommunicate. Homer has it on the boards in the Sharks end and Stuart sneaks low into the zone. Homer doesn't recognize this and throws it to an open point, which springs Setoguchi going the other way in what's almost a two-on-one with Setoguchi and Thornton against Salei. Fortunately, Miller comes back to break up the cross-ice pass to Thornton. As the Wings come back and try to regain control, Thornton feeds a puck to Setoguchi in the center of the zone for a slap shot that may or may not have deflected off Zetterberg's stick and definitely deflected off Howard's glove on the way into the net. This is a weak goal by Howard. I'm going to let Zetterberg keep his minus for failing to block the shot or deflect it away from the net. I'm also going to let both Holmstrom and Stuart keep a minus and a half on this play for the miscommunication which led to the turnover and ultimately the goal. Salei and Miller are cleared of their minuses.
3rd Period 18:09 - Detroit Goal (PP): Henrik Zetterberg (snap shot) from Tomas Holmstrom and Johan Franzen
Off a faceoff win, the Wings try to go from the point, to Franzen at the half-boards, to Holmstrom at the side of the net, to Rafalski on the back door. This try fails, but Rafalski picks the puck back up, goes to Lidstrom to reset the play, and they do it again. Lidstrom passes to Franzen at the half-boards to Niemi's left and Franzen passes it forward to Holmstrom at the side of the net. Holmstrom holds the puck a little longer and threatens to step out for a shot on net this time. Just as the defense adjusts to Homer, he passes on to Zetterberg on the back door who snaps it in to make the final moments interesting. The Heatley penalty which put Detroit on this power play was the most chintzy of the game, so nobody will get a plus for drawing it. On the play itself, both Rafalski and Listrom will get half-assists. Holmstrom makes an excellent adjustment and a great pass here. Homer will get an extra half-plus.
-1 to Darren Helm: Aside from a defensive zone turnover that led straight to a scoring chance, he just wasn't on his game in this one.
-1 to Johan Franzen: Franzen had a few very bright flashes of good offensive play, but he looked completely uninterested in backchecking in this game.
+1 to Pavel Datsyuk: Waiting for him to take to the ice again so the Wings would get scoring chances became something of a painful game by the 10-minute mark of the third period in this one.
+0.5 to Danny Cleary and Jiri Hudler: Datsyuk wasn't the only reason that line was the only one of the Wings' lines that consistently created pressure. These two showed hustle and skill throughout the game.
+1 to Brad Stuart and Niklas Kronwall: These two played a majority of the shorthanded minutes in the first, including almost all of the two-minute 5-on-3. Howard was definitely the best PKer during that stretch, but these guys did an excellent job on that kill.
Honorable Mentions: The Clowe slew foot was a result of the guy making a stupid play rather than Franzen forcing it on him, so there was no adjustment on that play. Zetterberg also played pretty well on the 5-on-3, but I didn't give him a plus for it because I felt like he gave up that good play with two turnovers elsewhere in his own zone.