The first multiple-goal game of Jason Williams‘ young NHL career was not enough to make up for the Red Wings’ defensive mistakes or the determination and skill of the San Jose offense, and the Red Wings went down to the Sharks 6-3, while the theme from “Jaws” blared over the speakers in the Shark Tank.
The Red Wings started out with more jump to their offensive game, but got into penalty trouble early on when they got caught with too many men on the ice. The Sharks’ power play passed effectively and got the puck to Mike Ricci behind the net. Ricci passed it out front to Patrick Marleau, who put the puck into the net high over Manny Legace.
Detroit continued to pressure offensively, and Legace made some big saves to cover his team’s defensive lapses. The Red Wings scored their first goal on their fourth power play attempt late in the first period during a hooking penalty to Gary Suter. Sergei Fedorov passed the puck from the left point up to Brendan Shanahan behind the goal line, and Shanahan passed it back to Jason Williams at the left faceoff dot. Williams took a quick wrist shot and put it into the net past goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, whose view of the puck was blocked by Tomas Holmstrom.
San Jose regained the lead early in the second period on another power play goal, this one on a penalty to Uwe Krupp. Owen Nolan got the puck as it bounced off the boards, then fired quickly on net, using Mathieu Dandenault as a screen to keep Legace from seeing the shot before the puck was in the net.
The Sharks scored again within a few minutes. A bad turnover by the Red Wings gave Nolan a breakaway. Legace stopped the first shot, but Nolan was able to pick up his own rebound and bank it into the net off the leg of his teammate, Vincent Damphousse.
Williams put Detroit back within one goal shortly thereafter. Kirk Maltby held the puck in at the blue line, then fired on net. Darren McCarty redirected the puck to slide underneath Nabokov, and Williams tapped it in for that extra speed it needed to cross the goal line.
The rest of the second period was all Sharks. Marleau scored two more times before the period was over, first by knocking a rebound from Marco Sturm’s shot out of the air and into the net, and then by intercepting a pass by Jiri Slegr and going in on Legace all alone.
The Wings did score once more, midway through the third period. Nabokov had been given a penalty for roughing Holmstrom (the penalty was served by Marleau), and Holmstrom was the one to make him pay for it. Igor Larionov shot the puck from the blue line, and Holmstrom deflected it into the net.
A fight started by Scott Thornton against Sean Avery and joined by the other skaters on the ice led to a double penalty to Avery and a single penalty to Bryan Marchment, leaving the Red Wings shorthanded and taking away their chance to come back from their two-goal deficit. Teemu Selanne took the puck into the left wing corner and passed down and across just as he was being hit. Mike Rathje, coming up the right wing side, got Selanne’s pass and put it off the crossbar and into the net past the beleaguered Legace.
The shots on goal were thirty-four to thirty-two in Detroit’s favor. The Red Wings will return home and have a few days off before facing the Chicago Blackhawks Wednesday night at Joe Louis Arena.
The Sharks’ victory tonight moves them past the Colorado Avalanche into second place in the Western Conference standings”¦. Luc Robitaille and Chris Chelios were both healthy scratches for this game”¦. Steve Yzerman is expected to return to the lineup Wednesday night against Chicago.