“Hits and Misses” for Sharks at Red Wings Game 3 WCSF 5/4/11

Result:  SHARKS 4, Red Wings{Overtime}    {Sharks lead series 3-0}

San Jose Sharks forward Devin Setoguchi celebrates his overtime game winning goal Wednesday night. Photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports.

HITS

Devin Setoguchi Setoguchi recorded his first career “Stanley Cup Playoff Hat Trick,” including the game winning goal at 9:21 of overtime, to give the Sharks the win and 3-0 series lead.  Setoguchi’s first goal of the game, his second of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs and ninth of his career, came at 12:57 of the first period with the Sharks on the Power Play to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead.  With Red Wings forward Darren Helm in the penalty box for “high sticking,” the Sharks got the puck deep into the Red Wings zone.  Sharks forward Patrick Marleau dug the puck out of the high corner and passed it to line-mate Joe Thornton on the side board, who passed it to Setoguchi in the high face-off circle.  With the puck on his stick, Setoguchi fired a pass to line-mate Joe Pavelski in the slot, who shot the puck high over Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard.  Thornton though, worked himself to the side of the goalie crease and knocked the puck down out of mid-air right to Setoguchi, who fired a back-hand shot that beat Howard for the goal……Setoguchi’s second goal of the game, his third of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs and 10th of this career, came at 14:49 of the second period with the Sharks on another Power Play to tie the game at 2-2.  With Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski in the penalty box for “interference,” the Sharks Power Play unit set themselves up in the Red Wings zone.  With the puck on his stick on the high side-board, Thornton passed the puck out to the top of the point to Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle, who quickly fired a pass down to Setoguchi, who was positioned in the lower face-off circle.  With the puck on his stick, Setoguchi fired a shot on net that could be best described as a “Knuckle Puck” {Setoguchi mostly hit ice on the shot attempt} that totally fooled Howard, who overplayed the shot as he was expecting a rocket from Setoguchi, and the puck just trickled passed Howard for the goal……Setoguchi’s third goal of the game, his fourth goal of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs and 11th of his career, came at 9:21 of overtime to give the Sharks the win and 3-0 series lead.  The goal started all the way back in the Sharks own zone where Thornton carried the puck from behind his own net out to center ice and chipped the puck into the Red Wings zone.  Thornton pursued the puck and beat Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson to the puck on the high side board.  With the puck on his stick, Thornton quickly fired a pass to Setoguchi, who was trialing on the play after coming off the bench, and from the top edge of the high face-off circle, Setoguchi fired a laser of a shot that beat Howard blocker side for the goal……The goals were Setoguchi’s first since his game winning overtime goal in game 3 of the Los Angeles Kings series and became the first Sharks player to have a “Stanley Cup Playoff Hat Trick” since Marleau did it back in 2006.

Dan Boyle – Boyle scored his first goal of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, eighth of his career, at 15:52 of the third period to tie the game at 3-3 and force overtime.  Sharks forward Torrey Mitchell fired a shot on net that Howard stopped but left a rebound that Sharks forward Kyle Wellwood pursued to the high corner.  Wellwood was able to win the battle for the puck and centered the puck out in front for Mitchell but Mitchell was tied up by a Red Wings defender.  Boyle, who jumped in on play, gathered the puck on his stick, delayed a shot as Howard went down, and shot the puck over Howard for the goal.  Boyle also had an assist on the second Setoguchi goal for a two point night.

Joe Thornton – The Sharks captain had a three point night with three assists as he assisted on all three of Setoguchi’s goals.  This was perhaps one of Thornton’s best all around games as he battled for loose pucks and it was his pursuit of the puck after chipping it into the Red Wings zone that set-up Setoguchi’s game winning goal.  Many in the hockey realm believe the improvement of Thornton’s game can be attributed to him spending time on the team’s Penalty Kill unit, which has seen Thornton add blocked shots and winning one-on-one battles along the boards to his repertoire of takeaways, puck control and assists.

Antti Niemi – While Setoguchi got the game-winning goal for the Sharks, Niemi was the reason the goal was even possible as it was his performance in net, stopping 38-out-of-41 shots, that kept the Sharks within striking distance and gave them a chance to win.  Simply put, Niemi was jaw-dropping and spectacular when called upon, especially in the opening 10 minutes of the game, the final five minutes of the third period and the overtime frame.

Marc Edouard Vlasic – Vlasic gets a “hit” for not only having a solid all around game but he also saved two goals with his alert plays of sweeping the puck off the goal-line and out of the goal crease before any Red Wings players could react.

Power Play – The Sharks Power Play unit went 2-for-4 with the man advantage tonight, both scored by Setoguchi, and  now have four Power Play goals in the series.  Even better was the fact that both Power Play goals came at critical moments of the game as the the first Power Play goal gave the Sharks a 1-o lead and the second Power Play goal tied the game at 2-2.

Penalty Killers – Despite giving up two Power Play goals, which wouldn’t have happened if the referees hadn’t made weak calls, {more later in misses}, the Sharks Penalty Killers once again came up huge when needed.  Just as in game 6 in Los Angeles where the Sharks Penalty Killers killed off Jamie McGinn‘s five-minute major penalty, the Sharks Penalty Killers killed off Setoguchi’s two-minute “holding” minor penalty in overtime {more later in misses} and just 2:10 after coming out of the penalty box, Setoguchi scored the game-winning goal.

Douglas Murray – Murray had a game high seven blocked shots.

Niclas Wallin – Wallin had a team high four hits.

Sharks Team – Talk about Deja-Vu!  Setoguchi scored an overtime game winning goal in Detroit to give the Sharks a 4-3 win and 3-0 series lead exactly one year to the date that Marleau scored an overtime game winning goal in Detroit to give the Sharks a 4-3 win and 3-0 series lead in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Despite trailing twice in the game due to sloppy play, the Sharks once again showed their resiliency, tough skin and mental toughness by not allowing the Red Wings goals to phase them when past Sharks teams would have hung their heads.  The Sharks continued to play hard, stuck to the gameplan and earned themselves a hard fought victory.  With the win, the Sharks improved to 5-0 in overtime games in this years playoffs and are once again in a position to do something they have never done in their franchise history, which is sweep the Red Wings out of the playoffs.  If the Sharks are going to achieve this remarkable feat, they are going to have to be mentally prepared and bring their “A-game” Friday night because they are going to be playing against a desperate Red Wings team that will come out with their foot on the gas pedal and throw everything at the Sharks they have, including the kitchen sink.

MISSES

Referees – I give up.  I honestly have no idea what game tonight’s referees were watching or what constitutes as a penalty anymore because it is as clear as crystal that the referees are making up the rules as they go along and are only enforcing penalties when they feel its convenient for them.  The first example that to comes to mind was the mega-hit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall put on Sharks forward Dany Heatley in the first period that should have been called a penalty because not only did Kronwall target Heatley’s head, he launched himself into Heatley and his skates came up off the ice!  Sharks fans should remember that Thornton was suspended two games during the regular season for his hit on St. Louis Blues forward David Perron and Scott Nichol got a four-game suspension for launching himself for a hit on a Phoenix Coyotes player.  The second example that comes to mind was the no call on a Red Wings player for interfering with Sharks rookie Logan Couture with the Sharks on a Power Play but as soon as the Sharks Power Play ended, the officials called Sharks defenseman Ian White for a soft “tripping” penalty that led to the first Red Wings goal as Nicklas Lidstrom scored his second goal of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs at 19:38 of the period.  The third example that comes to mind was in the second period where the referees turned a blind eye to Sharks forward Jamal Mayers being yanked down to the ice by his jersey and Setoguchi being tripped up in his own zone.  The fourth example were the two soft “holding” calls on Setoguchi, both of which were drawn by Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi, a man I DESPISE but will save that for another article.  The first “holding” call on Setoguchi was soft enough but the fact that it wasn’t called when Rafalski did it to Marleau moments earlier and led to another goal for the Red Wings to give them a 3-2 lead made me madder than a mosquito trapped in a room full of mannequins.  The second “holding” call on Setoguchi, which was called in overtime, was atrocious.  A blind folded Stevie Wonder sleeping the basement could have seen that Bertuzzi was the one clearly holding Setoguchi but even worse was the fact that referees allowed the Detroit home crowd to make the call for them with their reaction to the play.  Initially, there was no call and when there was a call made, Niemi had skated towards the Sharks bench because everyone thought the penalty was going against the Red Wings.  Without a doubt, something has got to be done about the officiating but I don’t know what that is because we all know the NHL is not going to do a thing about it. 

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About Jon Allred

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

Posted on May 4, 2011, in Sports and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Nice post man. Big game for the Sharks yesterday and the 3 assists from Joe were huge. I think the most important might be that Joe Thornton has to continue to play the same way and help lead his team to the Stanley Cup. They can’t do it without a solid performance throughout from. I don’t think they need him to be super Joe of the regular season but definitely better than he has been. He can’t let the ghosts of playoffs past haunt him and it seems that this playoffs he’s doing a pretty good job of that. He’s got a real good team around him. And I gotta be honest, I cheer against the Sharks just cuz it’s kind of fun to see them flop every year but really it’s good for Joe because he’s a class act. They better not lose this one because I can’t imagine how Joe’s legacy will suffer even more. Gonna be an interesting rest of the NHL playoffs for sure. Also, you think you could check out my blog cuz I’d love to hear what you have to say. http://chrisross91.wordpress.com/2011/05/05/exorcising-the-demons/

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