“Hits and Misses” for Red Wings at Sharks Game 7 WCSF 5/12/11

Result:  Red Wings 2, SHARKS 3    {Sharks win series 4-3}

San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau scores the game and series winning goal in the third period Thursday night. Photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports.

HITS

Devin Setoguchi – Setoguchi scored his sixth goal of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, 13th of his career, on the Power Play at 12:20 of the first period to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead.  With Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson in the penalty box for “holding,” the Sharks Power Play unit went to work inside the Red Wings zone where Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle carried the puck along the lower side board and fired a pass to Sharks captain Joe Thornton, who had positioned himself on the end-board.  With the puck on his stick, Thornton threaded a no-look, needle of a pass across the slot to Setoguchi, who fired a one-timer from the inside the high face-off circle that beat Red Wing goalie Jimmy Howard for the goal.  Setoguchi also had an assist on the game and series winning goal for a two-point night

Logan Couture – Couture scored his fifth goal of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, 10th of his career, at 19:01 of the first period via an awesome individual effort to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.  The goal started with the Sharks winning a face-off inside the Red Wings zone and applying pressure on Howard.  The Red Wings though, won the battle for the puck behind Howard’s net and defenseman Henrik Zetterberg skated out from behind the net with the puck on his stick.  Couture though, stole Zetterberg’s outlet pass with an ice level stick swing and in the same motion, fired a quick turnaround wrist shot on net from the lower face-off circle that beat Howard top shelf for the goal. 

Patrick Marleau – What a week it has been for Marleau, who has been in the eye of the storm ever since former teammate and current VERSUS broadcast analyst Jeremy Roenick publicly questioned Marleau’s heart and called him “Gutless” on the VERSUS post-game show following the Sharks 4-3 Game 5 loss Sunday evening.  To Marleau’s credit, he didn’t engage in a war of words with Roenick and allowed his talent do the talking for him as Marleau scored his third goal of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, 48th of his career, at 12:13 of the third period to give the Sharks a 3-1 lead.  The goal, which held up as the game and series winner, was Marleau’s first of the series {as well as first point of the series} and first goal since Game 5 of the Los Angeles Kings first round series back on April 23 and started all the way back in the Sharks zone, where Marleau won the battle for the puck and got the puck over to high side-board to Thornton, who fired a breakout pass to Boyle in the neutral zone.  With puck on his stick, Boyle carried the puck into the Red Wings zone and while walking the blue line, fired a pass through the legs of Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski that Setoguchi corralled inside the high face-off circle before firing a shot on net that Howard stopped but Marleau, who had positioned himself at the side of the goal crease, was able to get his stick on the loose puck in the goalie crease and poke it into the net for the goal as Setoguchi crashed the net as well.  In addition, Marleau made two HUGE defensive plays in the final 20 seconds of the game to seal the series victory for the Sharks as he broke up a scoring chance for Red Wings forward Patrick Eaves, who was positioned right on top of the goalie crease, with a solid hit and then got the final clear that sent all of HP Pavilion and Sharks fans into celebration mode!

Antti Niemi – Niemi was one of the best Sharks on the ice tonight, stopping 38-out-of-40 shots on net to help lead the Sharks to their series clinching victory over the Red Wings and came up big for the Sharks down the stretch, highlighted by a huge glove save on Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk‘s slapshot with 28 seconds left in the game that caused Niemi to drop an “f-bomb” as he lifted his goalie mask for a drink of water before the ensuing face-off in the Sharks zone.  For the final two games of the series, Niemi stopped 78-out-of-82 shots for a .951 save percentage. 

Ryane Clowe – After missing game 6 Tuesday night in Detroit with what was called an “upper body” injury {some speculation that it was a concussion from the hit he took from Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall Sunday evening in game 4} Clowe returned to the Sharks lineup tonight and while he didn’t register a point in the box score, Clowe provided a spark to the Sharks team effort that was completely lacking Tuesday night.  While Clowe may not be the most talented or skilled hockey player in the world, no one in the hockey realm can ever question his value to the Sharks team or the leadership he brings.

Joe Thornton – The Sharks captain looked like a man possessed out on the ice tonight as he looked to silence all his critics and naysayers, who had labeled both Thornton and the Sharks as “chokers” before the puck even dropped for game 7.  Thornton, who registered an assist for a one point night, won 60% of his face-offs and had his most effective game all series as the result of his solid three zone hockey play, highlighted by him skating his heart out from the neutral zone to break up a 2-on-1 short-handed opportunity for the Red Wings in the second period.

Dan Boyle – Boyle had a two point night with two assists and lead the Sharks in ice time with 27:04.  In addition, Boyle got angry and sent a message to all Red Wings players when he leveled Red Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom with a thunderous check into the goal post late in the third period after Holmstrom took a few liberties at the side of Niemi after Niemi had made a key save.  The message was, “don’t mess with my goalie!”

Douglas Murray – Even though Murray made a few decesions with the puck in his own zone and in the neutral zone that caused every Sharks fans blood pressure to rise, Murray did have a team high five hits tonight and was second on the team with five blocked shots. 

Niclas Wallin – Wallin had a game high six blocked shots tonight and has made me somewhat a fan of his, probably the one one, as the result of his play this series as he either led the Sharks in hits or blocked shots almost every game of this series.

Sharks Defensemen – The Sharks defensemen accounted for 20 of the team’s 25 blocked shots tonight {Wallin had six, Murray had five, Boyle had two, Jason Demers had three, Ian White had two and Marc-Edouard Vlasic had three}.

Power Play – After going 0-for-10 with the man advantage in their three straight losses, the Sharks Power Play unit capitalized on their first Power Play opportunity of the game and finished 1-for-3 on the night.  For the series, the Power Play unit went 5-for-27 with the man advantage with three of the goals coming at home {Joe Pavelski in game 1, White in Game 2 and Setoguchi tonight} and two coming on the road {Setoguchi twice in game 3}.

Penalty Killers – The Sharks Penalty Killers were a HUGE reason why the Sharks were able to win this game and series as they successfully killed off all four of the Red Wings Power Play opportunities for the second consecutive game and went 13-for-14 the final four games of the series.  After killing off back-to-back penalties late in the first period and the first minute of the “too many men” bench minor penalty at 7:33 of the first period before Red Wings forward Niklas Kronwall took an ill-advised “slashing” penalty on Marleau to negate the Power Play opportunity, the Sharks Penalty Killers biggest test came at 14:57 of the third period when Sharks forward Torrey Mitchell was called for “slashing.”  Nursing a 3-2 lead, the Sharks Penalty Killers rose to the task at hand and kept the Red Wings at bay when nearly everyone in the hockey realm, except Sharks fans, expected the Red Wings to tie the game and force overtime.

CSN Bay Area – All good things must come to an end and unfortunately for Sharks fans, CSN Bay Area is not immune as this was the last televised game of the season for CSN Bay Area as both the Conference and Stanley Cup finals will be aired exclusively on NBC and VERSUS.  I have said it for years now that I cannot listen to a Sharks game unless Randy Hahn and Drew Remenda are calling the action and its going to be hard to listen to the remaining Sharks games with the NBC and VERSUS announcers.  On the bright side, at least Randy and Drew got to end their season with win after broadcasting over 90 Sharks games this season between CSN Bay Area and CSN California.

Sharks Team – It took four attempts but the Sharks finally ended the series and knocked the Red Wings out of the playoffs in the second round for the second consecutive season.  In addition, the Sharks avoided becoming the fourth team in NHL history to lose a series after winning the first three games and are now headed to their second consecutive Western Conference Final, third in franchise history.  This series epitomized what Stanley Cup Playoff hockey is all about as with the exception of game 6, each game of the series was decided by one goal and kept fans of both teams on the edges of their seats.  The Sharks showed that their talk all season of developing thick skin and finding ways to win in the regular season was not a facade and got solid contributions from all 18 skaters tonight in what was truly a total team effort.  Now its off to Vancouver for games 1 and 2 of the Western Conference Finals against the top seeded Vancouver Canucks.

MISSES

2nd Period – About the only thing that went bad for the Sharks tonight was the second period as it seemed like the Red Wings had a 20 minute Power Play advantage even though the teams skated 5-on-5 for all but two minutes of the period.  After taking a 2-o lead into the first intermission, the Sharks appeared to take their foot off the gas pedal, which the Red Wings capitalized on by applying tremendous in the Sharks zone.  No sooner the Sharks cleared the puck out, the Red Wings sent the puck right back in.  Had it not been for Niemi’s quick reactions in net on several close plays, the Red Wings could have easily scored three or four goals. 

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About Jon Allred

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

Posted on May 13, 2011, in Sports and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I’ve been waiting for your Hits and Misses….haha…..thanks for these fun recaps. I really enjoy reading them. Good Job! (Were you AT the game tonight? or did you just watch CSN BayArea and Randy/Drew?) I have written up something to write on my blog, but I use “blogger” and it has been down all day (and night)…..should have made a wordpress! haha!

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