“Hits and Misses” for Red Wings at Sharks 3/3/11
Dany Heatley – Heatley recorded his 58th career multi-goal game, his first since mid January, and now has four career goals in 13 career games against the Red Wings. Heatley’s first goal, his 21st of the season, came at 3:51 of the first period that gave the Sharks an early 1-0 lead. Sharks forward Patrick Marleau picked up a loose puck in the slot, skated all the way around the Red Wings net and back out to the blue-line, where Marleau dropped the puck off to Sharks defensemen Ian White. With both Heatley and forward Ryane Clowe battling for position in front of Red Wings goalie Joey MacDonald, White fired a slapshot that trickled under the pad of MacDonald and Heatley was there at the side of the crease to poke the puck into the net. Heatley’s second goal of the game, his 22nd of the season, came at 3:54 of the second period with the Sharks on the Power Play. With a face-off in the Red Wings zone and to the right of MacDonald, Sharks captain Joe Thornton, who recorded his 399th career assist, won the face-off and got the puck over to the right side where Sharks forward Joe Pavelski played the puck off the boards. Pavelski threaded a needle pass over to Heatley, who was standing right in front of MacDonald, and the puck went off of Heatley’s stick and into the net for a 2-1 Sharks lead.
Patrick Marleau -Late in the third period and protecting a 2-1 lead, Thornton used the boards to clear the puck out of the Sharks zone. Marleau raced after the puck alongside Red Wings Jonathan Ericsson. MacDonald, who slightly hesitated, came out to play the puck. Unfortunately for the Red Wings, MacDonald played the puck right to Marleau, who got his stick on the puck and somehow, the puck found its way into the back of the Red Wings net at 15:48 of the period to give the Sharks a 3-1 lead. The goal was Marleau’s 25th of the season and he now has 18 career goals against the Red Wings, 17 of which have come on home ice at HP Pavilion.
Antti Niemi – Making his 20th consecutive start in net for the Sharks, Niemi was once again outstanding and was there to save the Sharks when the Red Wings were applying tremendous pressure in the Sharks zone. Niemi stood on his head again and stopped 26-out-of-27 shots for his fifth career win against the Red Wings and third against the Red Wings this season.
Jamal Mayers – Mayers gets a “hit” because he sacrificed his body in the final seconds to block a Red Wings shot from just inside the blue-line, which was his only blocked shot of the game.
Ian White – White had a solid defensive game, blocking a game high five shots.
Niclas Wallin – Wallin gets a “hit” for playing in his 600th career NHL game.
Sharks Team – With the win tonight, the Sharks have now won a season high eight games in a row and took three-out-of four games from the Red Wings this season. Over the last 20-games, the Sharks are 17-2-1 with 35 points and were just several periods away from being a perfect 20-0-0. This tremendous run has seen the Sharks vault themselves into first place of the Pacific Division with 82 points, six ahead of the second place Los Angeles Kings and Phoenix Coyotes, and now only trail the Red Wings by three points for second place in the Western Conference Standings. The Sharks now know how to win games and that is through great goaltending, hard work, determination and battling and competing hard for every puck.
Power Play – While it was a “hit” that Heatley scored on a Power Play in the game that snapped an 0-for 7 slump for the Sharks with the man advantage, the overall performance of the Power Play was just not up to par. The Sharks went 1-for-3 with the man advantage and are now just 1-for-9 over their last three games, which has shown how crucial and vital defensemen Dan Boyle, who has missed the last three games due to injury, is to the Sharks Power Play.
Tomas Holmstrom Goal – This goal should have never happened because the Sharks had TWO chances to clear the zone before the goal was scored. With Sharks defensemen Justin Braun serving a two-minute minor penalty for “Delay of Game” and after a Red Wings goal had just been wiped off the scoreboard due to goaltender interference, the Sharks won an own-zone face-off. White shot the puck off the board to clear the zone but the puck was kept in at the blue-line by Red Wings defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom, who turned the puck over to Thornton, who failed to clear the zone and gave the puck back to Lidstrom, who passed the puck over to Red Wings forward Mike Modano. Modano took a shot from inside the blue-line and Holmstrom, who was parked in front of Niemi, tipped the puck into the net, right under Neimi’s pads, to tie the game at 1-1 at 18:19 of the first period. It cannot be stressed enough that when the Penalty Kill unit fails to clear the puck out of their own zone, the puck ends up in the back of their net.
Open Nets – Are the Sharks cursed with open nets? Sharks rookie Logan Couture missed an open net from center-ice against the Pittsburgh Penguins on February 23 that would have sealed the game and Heatley missed one tonight from the blue-line in the final minute of the game that would have given him a Hat Trick.