The Detroit Red Wings were shorthanded in more ways than one on Tuesday night as they dropped a 5-1 decision to the San Jose Sharks in both teams’ first game back.
The Red Wings were without Tomas Holmstrom, Niklas Kronwall, Nicklas Lidstrom, Mikael Samuelsson and Henrik Zetterberg, the Swedish gold medal winners who had not yet returned from a celebration in Stockholm. With only 17 skaters on the Detroit roster, they were further undermanned by penalties, with all five San Jose goals coming with the man-advantage.
Nils Ekman opened the scoring just 3:34 into the game, getting the puck along the goal line to Detroit goalie Manny Legace’s left before moving in on goal and bouncing a shot off Leagce’s arm and into the net.
Jonathan Cheechoo extended the San Jose lead at 6:54 of the second period, lifting a shot over Legace after a cross-crease pass Joe Thornton while on a five-on-three.
The Red Wings drew within one with their only goal of the game when Brett Lebda beat Vesa Toskala with a shot from the left circle after an end-to-end rush by Pavel Datsyuk with 1:31 remaining in the second.
Legace stopped Ekman on a penalty shot to start the third period but the Wings never got back in the game.
Patrick Marleau put in a rebound from the side of the goal with 9:24 remaining in the game and just 1:05 later Christian Ehrhoff scored on a blast from the right circle.
Thornton closed the scoring with 6:12 remaining in the game, putting a shot from the right circle between Legace’s pads.
The Sharks finished the game with goals on half of their ten power plays, while the Red Wings were scoreless on six chances.
Legace made 27 saves on 32 shots and Toskala made 28 saves on 29 shots.
The Red Wings return to the ice on Wednesday when they visit the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, where their Swedish Olympians will rejoin the team.