Quick Goals Doom Red Wings in Game One Loss

The San Jose Sharks scored three goals in a 1:19 span in the first period Thursday night, putting the Detroit Red Wings in a hole that they couldn’t dig out of.

Joe Pavelski opened the game’s scoring with a power play goal at 9:05 of the first. Pavelski was left alone in the slot to take a pass from Dan Boyle and whip a shot past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard.

Dany Heatley scored his first of the playoffs 56 seconds later. After the Sharks controlled a faceoff in the Detroit end, Joe Thornton took the puck behind the net and sent a pass out to Heatley at the top of the crease. Heatley banged it past Howard to give San Jose a 2-0 lead.

Just 23 seconds later, Devin Setoguchi made it 3-0 on another goal from the slot, snapping a shot into the net with Howard caught slow coming across.

The Red Wings got on the board 1:16 later, when Danny Cleary scored his first goal of the postseason. Cleary was all alone in front of San Jose netminder Evgeni Nabokov and redirected a Jonathan Ericsson pass into the net.

Johan Franzen pulled Detroit to within a goal at 4:45 of the second period, snapping a shot from the slot into the top of the net.

Pavelski restored San Jose’s two goal lead 50 seconds into the third, swinging a shot from the inside edge of the left faceoff circle between Howard’s pads while the Sharks skated on a five-on-three.

Brian Rafalski responded 2:07 later, pinching in to snap a shot from the right faceoff circle past Nabokov.

The Red Wings failed to even the game up despite pulling Howard for the extra attacker in the game’s final minutes, with the Sharks holding on for the 4-3 win.

San Jose scored on two of their six power play chances, including 57 seconds of five-on-three time. The Red Wings were scoreless on five power play tries.

Howard finished the night with 23 saves on 27 shots. Nabokov stopped 20 of 23 Detroit chances.

The two teams will meet in Game Two on Sunday night.

The Sharks were without forward Patrick Marleau, who missed the game with flu-like symptoms.

Game One Postgame Notes

I’m not blaming the refs for Detroit’s loss tonight but I’m still a bit p*ssed about the officiating at the end of the second period, directly leading to the eventual game-winning goal early in the third.

That said, if the Wings had scored a single power play goal we’re in overtime right now. San Jose took advantage of the chances they got and the Red Wings didn’t.

For the first time in these playoffs, the Wings lost a game where I was happy with their effort. Despite the loss, Detroit played a really solid game tonight and that bodes well for future games.

Things that I liked…

Dan Cleary. The guy was all over the place and it was great to see him come back after what looked like a head injury. Finally picked up a goal, too.

The entire fourth line. Justin Abdelkader and Drew Miller were buzzing, whether or not Cleary was on the line with them.

The way the Red Wings fought back. Going down 3-0 so early in the game, Detroit could have given up pretty easily. They didn’t, though, and were a shot away from forcing overtime. Doesn’t do much good for the result but it shows they’re not going to be rolled over.

Things that I didn’t like…

Three fast goals against. This one’s easy. Though they rallied to make it close, you can’t expect to win a game when you give up that many goals so quickly.

Only 20 shots taken. Evgeni Nabokov is the weak link on this Sharks team and the Red Wings didn’t test him enough.

Bad night for Jimmy Howard. 23 saves on 27 shots isn’t bad but the last two goals shouldn’t have happened. He was out of position on the third goal and slow to shut his pads on the fourth.

On the Sharks…

San Jose did a great job of clearing the zone. They usually had a guy open in the faceoff circle during a battle along the boards so they could get the puck to him and get the clear. The Wings are going to have to battle along the boards better if they want to win this series.

Schedule for Red Wings – Sharks Series Announced

The NHL announced two possible schedules for the second round of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs today, contingent on the winner of tonight’s matchup between the Washington Capitals and the Montreal Canadiens.

The schedule for the Detroit Red Wings and the San Jose Sharks is virtually set in stone, though the start time of a possible Game Seven is not yet determined. The start time of a possible Game Five set for 10:00 if the Capitals win and 10:30 if the Canadiens advance.

The Red Wings and Sharks will start things off on Thursday night in San Jose before taking two nights off while the HP Pavilion is used for a pair of concerts. The rest of the series will be played on an every-other night schedule.

The full schedule is as follows (all times Eastern):

April 29 – @ San Jose – 9:00
May 2 – @ San Jose – 8:00
May 4 – @ Detroit – 7:30
May 6 – @ Detroit – 7:30
May 8 – @ San Jose – 10:00 or 10:30
May 10 – @ Detroit – 7:30
May 12 – @ San Jose- TBD

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