My last recap was back in February when the Leafs beat Detroit 3-2 thanks to Matthews scoring the GWG with 30 seconds left. I officially launched the #TankForDahlin campaign after that and boy has it taken off since. The Wings are currently 6th to last in the NHL and are 2-7-2 since. Now obviously I don’t like rooting for my team to lose, but Rasmus Dahlin is a generational talent we desperately need. So with tonight’s game in the Shark “TANK,” to kick off a four-game West Coast trip, I’m feeling good. Let’s get to it.
Interesting starting line for the Wings with Helm-Larkin-Mantha, but hey when things aren’t going well, might as well change it up. I’m in a fun mood for this West Coast trip, so I’m setting the O/U at 4.5 shifts until Witkowski takes a penalty. Good pace to start the game, teams exchange offensive zone pressure. AA and Svech on a line will be a duo to remember as this game goes on I feel. Top lines for the Wings doing work so far, all of it from the young guys too. Mantha, Larkin, AA, Svechnikov looking good early. Bam just like that, the early jump pays off as Daley finds a lose puck in the high slot, turns around and fires a wrister home. 1-0 Detroit. Sharks take a penalty as we head to the first TV timeout, all Wings early.
Larkin, Mantha, Bertuzzi, Green and Frk the PP unit, could Blashill finally being accepting the youth movement???? (I still want to sub out Frk for Svechnikov to see that shot of his). PP looks bad again, right on cue a SH chance the other way on a 2-on-1 for the Sharks’ Eric Fehr that Howard made the save on. Brutal PP ends as the Sharks start swarming (pun intended). 2nd TV timeout.
Holy wow what a goal from the Sharks as they take a 3-on-2 into the zone that turns into a full zone tic-tac-toe wide open goal for Joonas Donskoi. Pavelski and Kane started the chance. 1-1. It is ALL Sharks since they killed off the penalty earlier, and whaddya know they bury another one. A delayed penalty to the Red Wings led to a 6-on-5 and a long zone chance for the Sharks that turned into a Brenden Dillon point shot and Eric Fehr deflection. 2-1 Sharks. That’s Eric Fehr’s first goal since 1/18/17.... when he was with Pittsburgh.... that’s now 2 teams ago for him. Ay yai yai. Final TV timeout.
Red Wings we’re outshooting the Sharks 8-1 BEFORE their PP, were outshot 2-0 on that PP and now shots are 10-8 SJS. My friends and I talked before the game that this just seemed like a game the Wings would win, but they sure aren’t playing like it (also S/O to my friends for staying up with me). Final 2 minutes of the period and if I were wanting the Red Wings to win, I’d want them to build some momentum here heading into Period 2. Welp, they didn’t do that, Sharks continue to pepper shots at Howard and not let the puck leave the zone. What looked to be a promising start for the Wings, has led to a disastrous 1st Period, they’re lucky it’s only 2-1.
Score: 2-1 SJS
Shots: 12-9 SJS
Svechnikov TOI: 2:39
Witkowski TOI: 2:52 (Yes I’m keeping track of these two to bring awareness to this problem)
Helm-Larkin-Mantha line continues to be the best line for the Wings as they have a good first shift to set the tone in the 2nd Period. Well, never mind. Chris Tierney steals the puck from Svechnikov at neutral ice, sped passed Jensen to create a chance that was eventually jammed home by Kevin Labanc. 3-1 San Jose. Svechnikov’s ice time is sure to take a hit now, because Blashill’s best way to teach young players not to mess up is to bench them. Well somehow the Red Wings answer, Daley hopelessly fires a shot on goal from the point that gets through, hits the post and is finished off by Nyquist. 3-2 Sharks. Bertuzzi with 2 assists now tonight which I very much enjoy. Sharks are waking up once again now as we head to the 1st TV timeout.
I’ll tell you one thing, Dylan Larkin has been the lone bright spot all year and he could really be turning into an elite player. He uses his speed in a race for the puck and somehow found an open Helm in front of the net (guess how that went). Larkin, again, best player so far for the Wings. Svechnikov looking better offensively as he sauces one to an open Abdelkader in the slot who fanned on a one-timer. Game evening out, 2nd TV timeout.
Well if West Coast games aren’t hard enough to stay up for, their worse when the game slows down (like it currently is). Guess I can’t complain too much as it’s been fun up to this point. Evander Kane takes a tripping penalty as AA was speeding passed him in the defensive zone. Sharks with a great chance to extend their lead now shorthanded. Hahaha and right away Logan Couture came barreling down on another breakaway attempt that Howard had to make another save on. Torchetti’s PP’s are awful. And on cue, I was almost proven wrong. Larkin-Bert-Mantha go tic-tac-toe for Mantha’s 24th of the year BUT, he kicked it in. What else could go wrong? *checks Canucks score to see that their losing too.* Nothing else on the PP, final TV timeout.
Red Wings first PK of the game as Mike Green is guilty of slashing with 3 minutes left in the period. Sharks PP looks as bad as the Wings. Brent Burns loses the puck leading to a LGD breakaway who was robbed by Jones (and almost fell down in the process). No dice on the Sharks PP. Nothing else the rest of the period as well, that does it for 2 periods at the HP Pavilio...er... SAP Center.
Score: 3-2 SJS
Shots: 21-20 SJS
Svechnikov TOI: 5:22
Witkowski TOI: 6:14 (I wish I was joking)
Back and forth to start the 3rd, Wings with a few small chances, but nothing major quite yet. Sharks threatening once again and a chance in front leads to a Danny Dekeyser hooking penalty (he did save a goal in the process), so Sharks get their 2nd PP of the game. And what do you know, PP goal for the Sharks. Howard lost his stick and after a mad scramble in the zone Mikkel Boedker circled around and let go a wicked wrist shot through traffic. Might have been tipped by Timo Meier, but regardless, 4-2 Sharks. And holy smokes right away the Red Wings answer. A no-look pass from behind the goal by Nyquist finds Captain Z in front who buries the goal. 4-3 San Jose. Sharks start picking up pace once again. Despite being a 1-goal game, San Jose clearly the better team tonight (which you knew coming in). AA with a gorgeous chance in front after Abdelkader fed him back door, but he just didn’t get enough on it and Jones made a big save. Delayed penalty coming back for the Wings now, finally the 1st TV timeout with 11 to go.
Bertuzzi with 3 assists tonight which I very, very much enjoy. Nothing doing on the Sharks PP as it seems like they are tightening up defensively. Short run in between commercials, 2nd TV timeout. Wings gotta get moving if they want to end this losing streak (I hope they don’t). Red Wings starting to pick up play, but really not much else going as we hit the final TV timeout. 5 minutes to go in the game, still 4-3 SJS.
I have a bad feeling about this ending. Feels exactly like one of those tie the game late only to lose in overtime situations (which does nothing but hurt our tanking chances). Also, pretty sure Svechnikov hasn’t seen the ice in the 3rd. Now I’m starting to really get upset with Blashill because what’s the point of calling him up only to play him 5 minutes a night? I just don’t get this organization sometimes.
Anyways, under 3 minutes to go and I expect to see a lot of the Helm-Larkin-Mantha line. Red Wings can’t get set up in the offensive zone and a terrible coaching decision as to when to pull Howard leads to an empty-netter right away. Chris Tierney with the goal to make it 5-3 Sharks. Stretch that losing streak to 7 now folks. #TankForDahlin is on fire right now and I’m loving every minute of it (I hate when the Wings lose, but losing the rest of the way is winning in the long term). On to LA Thursday.
Score: 5-3 SJS
Shots: 34-26 SJS
Svechnikov TOI: 7:13 (2 shifts in the 3rd, one at the end of the game. Unbelievable)
Witkowski TOI: 6:14 (Didn’t play in the 3rd, that’s good at least)