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Wings Top Sharks 2-1 in Wednesday Night Shootout

San Jose Sharks v Detroit Red Wings

Detroit comes out of the All-Star break ready to get back in the swing of the playoff ra....hahahhaa. Nevermind.

The Sharks come to town without Joe Thornton and looking to take out last night’s loss in Pittsburgh out on Detroit. Let’s see how this plays out, shall we?

Link to’s Box Score

First Period

Blashill matched the Kids up against Joe Pavelski to start the game and things started high-energy, but the fist chance was 35 seconds in as San Jose got a 2-on-1 opportunity (a shot over the net). Both teams rolled with high energy out of the gates with some extra energy expended when Brenden Dillon got upset with Martin Frk for a hit in the corner. Nothing out of that, but we did get a penalty at 3:49 on a hold by Jonathan Ericsson after a turnover. Couture rings one off the post early in the advantage, but the noise seems to wake up the PKers, as Detroit does a very good job limiting chances for the remainder of the two minutes and then takes that momentum to a pretty good shift by the Zetterberg line back at 5-on-5.

Things settled for both sides between the next two commercial breaks. I think there was one shot per side during this stretch, but AA got a chance after blocking a Joel Ward clearing attempt and winning the race (of course) to the puck.

Following this, the Wings get a good chance as Ericsson, Z, and Mantha win a 3-on-3 board battle in the neutral zone that ends with Mantha feeding Z for a slot from the middle that Jones stops with no rebound given. Detroit takes the shot lead, gives up another chance to Couture, and then heads to the power play on the other end after AA steals from Vlasic and draws a slash from Labanc.

Detroit’s power play gets one good look on a Frk shot, but then over-fancies on the puckhandling and can’t get another chance against the Sharks’ aggressive kill. Detroit was able to keep the pressure on after the PP ended, but sloppiness crept back in for both sides, with the worst of it being a lame-duck cross-ice pass in the Wings’ zone by Ericsson that Brent Burns picked off and forced Mrazek to make a dandy reflexive poke on the passing attempt.

The Period Summed Up in One Sentence: Prom night hockey started fast but ended sloppy.

Score: 0-0

Shots: 12-11 Detroit

Standout Players: Athanasiou, Mantha

Sitdown Players: Jensen, Ericsson

Second Period

The period started with two icings and then a breakaway for Helm off a good Trevor Daley pass block, but it ended like a Darren Helm breakaway usually ends. From there, the refs went into “letting ‘em play” mode, as a few grabs & holds and even a high stick went uncalled for both sides prior to the first break.

At this point, I’m kind of stuck describing shifts that don’t look as bad as the others. Z’s line drives possession pretty well leading a few chances through a partial change, but nothing breathtaking. If I’m being honest, this game has settled into a boring routine of what looks like the age old battle of rust vs. fatigue.

Fortunately Blashill has a line blender for that.

With 7:02 left, Detroit goes shorthanded again as Larkin is whistled for a defensive zone trip getting his stick caught up in Tierney’s skates. The Sharks take 1:13 to get a shot on net that Mrazek finds through a screen and gloves. The Sharks get more pressure on late, but no sale on those chances before Larkin comes out and immediately starts a 2-on-1 off a strong play by Athanasiou to muscle his way into good position to get up ice before missing the shot at the other end.

Detroit gets the next power play with under a minute to go as Zetterberg gets position on Joel Ward and gets hauled down for his trouble.

The Period Summed Up in One Sentence: Detroit outplayed San Jose, but not by a bunch.

Score: 0-0

Shots: 13-9 Detroit (25-20 Detroit overall)

Standout Players: Mrazek, Athanasiou, Ericsson

Sitdown Players: Tatar

Third Period

The Wings start with a continued power play and funnel pucks to Frk for three shot attempts, but he can’t find the net, even continuing pressure after Joel Ward’s return with Braun making a real quick kick save to deny a rebound chance at the doorstep. The next good chance happens thanks to Tatar getting away with a hook to spring Larkin in on a 2-on-1 that he goes backhand over the net on.

Shortly after, the Sharks get their first real dangerous chance in what feels like a while off a feed from Couture that Vlasic pumps wide on the one-timer. Not too long again, the Sharks got another scary chance as the post bails out Mrazek on a rebound.

Finally, a goal! Ericsson makes a good backcheck at center to get it to Neilsen, who immediately feeds Daley on quick transition. He enters the zone with speed and support, drawing a penalty in the process, but saves us all from having to watch the PP as he fakes to forehand and slides a backhand that trickles through Jones to give Detroit a 1-0 lead.

Hey, a pseudo-Kronwalling!

Daley protects his own lead with just under 9 to play as Ericsson hops up on a play in the offensive zone and gets caught when his shot is blocked. Daley wisely tracks back and breaks up a 3-on-1 before it can recover from a bad outlet pass. If he overcommits here, he’s toast, but remembers to track the dangerous lane and pokes away a Tomas Hertl pass.

San Jose ties it up with 4:59 left to play after a long bit of possession in the Wings’ zone granted thanks to a broken stick for Luke Glendening. Labanc zaps it into the top corner from the high slot and it’s a 1-1 tie.

The Period Summed Up in One Sentence:

Score: 1-1

Shots: 12-10 Detroit (37-30 Detroit Overall)

Standout Players: Daley, Ericsson, Nielsen

Sitdown Players: Glendening, Mantha


Blashill starts us out 3-on-3 with AA-Larkin-DK and the Wings win possession, getting Larkin a shot from the slot about 25 seconds in that Jones stops. 20 seconds later Green fires it off Jones and out of play for a whistle. Gus-Hank-Green are up next, but lose the offensive zone faceoff. Green can’t get a shot off odd-man after Donskoi makes a good move to create a chance that Mrazek stops. A shift and a half later, Larkin breaks in past Burns and draws a penalty for hooking with 2:43 left in the OT.

Detroit’s 4-man PP after the timeout consists of Frk-Z-Abdelkader and Green. Hank wins the faceoff and the Wings set up in the zone trying to get Frk’s shot off. They do early but it misses. Z breaks back in and forces Jones to make a good save prior to another Frk shot blocked out of the zone. Finally, Vlasic gets a clear and the Wings’ PP ends. Hertl gets a rush up ice but doesn’t get a shot off and the OT period ends with no change in scoring.

Shots: 7-0 Detroit


Nielsen: 5-hole shot stopped

Pavelski: 5-hole shot scores

Nyquist: 5-hole shot scores

Couture: High glove shot scores

Athanasiou: Forehand-to-backhand deke shoveled in scores

Labanc: Triple-deke forehand shot stopped

Zetterberg: Shot fake to backhand stopped

Donskoi: Backhand-to-forehand deke stopped

Larkin: Backhand 5-hole slide attempt stopped

Burns: Forehand-to-backhand deke hits goalpost

Tatar: Forehand-to-backhand-to-forehand deke finished bar down

Tierney: High glove shot scores

Abdelkader: Stop-up forehand-to-backhand scores

Hertl: Forehand-to-backhand quick 5-hole attempt stopped


Final Thoughts

Turns out I don’t miss Patrick Marleau being on the Sharks.

I enjoyed the first intermission coverage of David Booth and the path that led him to playing for the Red Wings on what was basically his last NHL chance. It’s a fun reminder that I can not be a fan of a move but can be a fan of a guy behind a move and that’s perfectly ok in a season like this (or any season, really). Booth seems like a genuinely great guy and I’m glad that his positive attitude and work ethic are around, all things considered.

I’m getting oddly comfortable with how absolutely unnoticeable Danny DeKeyser can be at times. That might be coming from the cringeworthy nature of how he was previously noticeable. It was a stage that Ericsson went through before I started noticing more of his good plays, so just let me hold out hope here for a minute.

I’ve gushed about him enough that I feel I kind of owe it to people to say when Tyler Bertuzzi has kind of an off game. He wasn’t bad or anything, but lacked that extra oomph on his shifts that made him stand out. Seemed a bit too slow to commit on the forecheck and disrupt the play. He did make the Sharks mad after the Daley goal, but overall pretty meh.

I don’t know if Mantha doesn’t currently have the surprise extra gear he was showing earlier or if he’s just not using it, but there were two rushes in the third period where I wanted to see it and was disappointed.

Next up the Wings are in Florida to take on the Panthers at 7pm Friday night.