“Hits and Misses” for Red Wings at Sharks Game 2 WCSF 5/1/11

Result: Red Wings 1, SHARKS 2    {Sharks lead series 2-0}

San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi makes a save on Red Wings forward Danny Cleary Sunday afternoon. Photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports.

HITS

Ian White – White scored his first goal of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, first of his career, at 4:54 of the first period with the Sharks on a Power Play to give the Sharks an early 1-0 lead.  With Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader in the penalty box for “high sticking” Sharks rookie forward Logan Couture in the face, the Sharks Power Play unit established puck control in the Red Wings zone.  From the blue line of the Red Wings zone, White passed the puck over to Sharks forward Dany Heatley, who skated in on Howard from the blue line and after drawing several Red Wings defenders towards him, Heatley, from the lower face-off circle, passed the puck back out to White, who had repositioned himself.  With the puck on his stick, White delayed his shot as he skated up to the top of the point and displayed tremendous patience as he allowed traffic to build up in front of Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard.  With four Red Wings players and one Shark in front of Howard, White fired a shot on net that beat Howard for the goal.

Niclas Wallin – Wallin scored his first goal of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, fourth of his career, at 1:39 of the third period to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead.  The goal, which held up as the game winner, started all the way back in the Sharks zone where Sharks forward Ryane Clowe fired an outlet pass to Wallin at center ice.  With the puck on his stick, Wallin skated into the Red Wings zone along the lower side board and from just inside the lower face-off circle, Wallin showed off his heavy shot by firing a shot on net that hit Howard high on the shoulders, floated over Howard’s head and landed in the back of the net for a goal.  The goal was Wallin’s fourth career playoff game winning goal and the first career regulation playoff goal as his previous three had come in overtime.

Antti Niemi – Niemi was jaw-dropping in net for the Sharks, stopping 33-out-of-34 shots, including a short-handed breakaway opportunity by Red Wings forward Danny Clearly in the second period.  Every time the Sharks made a mistake in the game, Niemi was there to bail them out with his spectacular saves, including three huge back-to-back-to-back saves in the third period.  After not playing to the best of his abilities in the first round series against the Los Angeles Kings, Niemi is getting back to his expected standard of excellence form that carried the Sharks down the stretch of the regular season and the Chicago Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup Championship last year.

Ryane CloweClowe had a two point game with two assists as he was the only Sharks player to have a multiple point game and dished out two hits.

Douglas Murray – Murray had a team high four blocked shots and got HP Pavilion rocking with his nifty back-hand shot from in front that beat Howard through the legs but was swept off the goal line by a Red Wings player.

Sharks Defensemen – In addition to White and Wallin scoring the two Sharks goals, the Sharks defensemen blocked 17 Red Wings shots.  Leading the way were White, Wallin and Marc-Edouard Vlasic, each of whom blocked four shots, Dan Boyle, who had a game high eight shots on net, and Jason Demers each blocked two and Murray blocked one.

Penalty Killers – The Sharks Penalty Killers once again had another solid outing in successfully killing off 5-of-6 Red Wings Power Play Opportunities and combined with their performance in game 1, the Sharks Penalty Killers are 7-for-8 in the series.  The highlight of the game for the Sharks Penalty Killers came in the first period where not only did they successfully kill off a four-minute “high-sticking” double minor penalty to Benn Ferriero but they held the Red Wings to only one shot on net!  If that doesn’t speak volumes about how hard the Sharks Penalty Killers are working, I don’t know what will.

Sharks Team – Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson said on KNBR radio the other day that “different people are have to going to step up on different nights” and that’s exactly what happened today as the Sharks got both of their goals from their defensemen to take a 2-0 series lead.  In addition, unlike in previous seasons where the Sharks would have hung their heads after giving up a late goal in the third period and crumbled the final few minutes of the game, this Sharks team was unphased by the late Red Wings goals and that can be attributed to the “thick skin” the Sharks developed during the regular season where the Sharks learned how to win close games instead of panicking.  Looking back on it now, that six-game losing streak the Sharks endured back in January was perhaps a blessing in disguise.

MISSES

Jimmy Howard – For the second game in a row, Howard took a shot at a Sharks player, this time “slashing” Sharks captain Joe Thornton, after the whistle due to his frustration of receiving a “Snow Shower.”  I’m sorry but that is a part of the game and Howard and TSN’s Darren Dreger, who tweeted during the game, “how many snow showers must Howard endure before the Red Wings respond or a penalty is called?,” cannot have it both ways.  Either Howard draws a goalie interference penalty by taking a hit from a Sharks player or he gets sprayed, simple as that.  Enough of the over-reacting!

Referees – I don’t mind if the referees miss a call because hockey is a fast game.  What upsets me as a fan is when the referees watch an infraction being committed and instead of making the call, they turn away and act like nothing happened.  Perfect example of this happened in the first period when Red Wings defenseman Brad Stuart CROSS CHECKED a Sharks player in front of TWO REFEREES and neither of them called a penalty!  What is the point of having referees if they are not going to call a penalty when it happens right in front them? In addition, how on God’s green earth can the referees give Thornton and Sharks forward Joe Pavelski warnings for their “snow-showers” on Howard but not give the Red Wings a warning for their intentional delay of game tactics on several “icing” calls?  As my twitter friend Michael Nolden tweeted me the other day, “Hope Nemo {Niemi} won’t drop his water bottle, would be a 5min major.”

NBC Commentary – If I hadn’t seen the NBC logo on my television screen, I would have sworn I was listening to the Red Wings commentators with the blatant, biased announcing for the Red Wings that was extremely nauseating to listen to.  First, the commentators accused Couture of “selling” Abdelkader’s stick hitting him in the face and shortly later, did everything they could to discredit Couture’s spectacular rookie season by stating Couture isn’t a “true rookie” because he played in 25 games last season and saw time in last year’s playoffs.  They accused Pavelski and Thornton of intentionally spraying Howard with “snow-showers” when that wasn’t the case but praised the Red Wings for their intentional delay of game tactics on “icing” calls that allowed their players to rest.  Finally, the commentators were so upset the Sharks won the game, they couldn’t get off the air fast enough.  That had to be the shortest post-game interview I’ve ever seen after a playoff game on NBC.  One good thing that did come of this was that I have even more appreciation for Sharks commentators Randy Hahn and Drew Remenda, who do what the NBC commentators SHOULD BE doing in giving both teams credit and not favoring one over the other.

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About Jon Allred

Life long San Jose and Worcester Sharks fan that bleeds teal and black.

Posted on May 1, 2011, in Sports and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. woodsidevaulter

    Great write-up. Glad to see I’m not the only one who thinks NBC (and VS too actually) were wearing Red-tinted glasses.

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