Game Three Postgame Notes

It may or may not be a popular opinion, Detroit hockey fans are notorious for their opinions on goalies after all, but I’m throwing Jimmy Howard under the bus for this loss.

San Jose’s first and third goals never should have happened and they fall on Howard. On the first goal he got lazy and lifted his pad, giving room for Devin Setoguchi to slide the puck in. On the third goal he was off his post and in a stance that left too many holes open, making it possible for Logan Couture to bank a shot in off of him.

Brian Rafalski deserves some goat credit as well. As the defenseman on a two-on-one, your only purpose is supposed to be to cut off the pass. Rafalski failed to do that and didn’t seem to make that much of an effort.

I can’t decide if it’s funny or not but the Red Wings accomplished pretty much every goal they said they needed to before today’s game and they still lost.

They silenced Joe Pavelski. They didn’t allow a single power play goal. They were better in the faceoff circle and they had more shots on net.

And they still lost.

Some people will continue to blame the refs but – while I didn’t like a couple calls – this was the best-officiated game of the series. That said (and I said it at the time), the penalty shot call in the first period was absolutely horrible.

Which reminds me of the two coaching complaints I have.

One is that Todd Bertuzzi should have taken that penalty shot. He was one of Detroit’s more reliable shooters in the tiebreaker during the regular season while Henrik Zetterberg was inconsistent at best.

The other is wondering how the hell the fourth line ended up on the ice against Thornton, Heatley and Marleau for the last shift of the game. I’m blaming Rafalski for that one but you’ve gotta wonder if it would have happened in the first place if another line had been out there.

I’m not sure what to think going forward. I think the Red Wings have the talent to win the next four but, like too many times in the Phoenix series, I’m not seeing the desire at all. They quit in the third period with a two goal lead tonight. That’s unacceptable and if they’re playing like that they deserve to lose.

Game Three Pregame Notes

The Red Wings face a must-win in their first home game of the series tonight against the Sharks. A loss puts them a game from elimination and needing to win four in a row.

Patrick Eaves is out again for Detroit. I’ll let Mike Babcock explain the impact of that…

Patrick Eaves for us is a forechecking, banging, penalty-killer. Thats’ where the adjustment is. When you take 10 penalties in a game you can use a penalty-killer. Our plan tonight is to not take any penalties, so we don’t have to worry about it as much.

And that’s all I’m saying about penalties before the game.

Detroit also needs to be better in the faceoff circle. It hasn’t hampered much of their offense but winning some defensive-zone faceoffs in the first two games could have prevented several goals.

Tonight is the Red Wings’ fourth home game of the playoffs but the first at their usual home start time of 7:30 PM.

Red Wings Fall to Sharks in Penalty-Filled Affair

The Detroit Red Wings dropped a 4-3 decision to the San Jose Sharks on Sunday night, falling down two games to none in their playoff series in a game that was marred by 14 penalty calls.

The Sharks trailed 3-2 heading into the third period and the Red Wings seemed to have momentum. Then Todd Bertuzzi and Niklas Kronwall were sent to the box. On the ensuing five-on-three, Joe Pavelski scored his second of the night to tie the game 4:40 into the period.

Joe Thornton would score the game-winner with 7:23 left in regulation, putting home the rebound of a Dany Heatley shot on a three-on-one after Nicklas Lidstrom‘s stick shattered at the San Jose blue line.

Pavel Datsyuk had opened the scoring at 6:51 of the first period, flinging a wrister off the post and in behind goalie Evgeni Nabokov while covered by two Sharks.

Pavelski tied things up on a power play blast from just inside the blue line 2:10 later.

Ryane Clowe put the Sharks ahead with a backhander from in close with 9:28 left in the first but Tomas Holmstrom tipped a Brian Rafalski power play shot past Nabokov 2:45 later to tie things back up.

Nicklas Lidstrom blasted a shot past Nabokov to put Detroit in front just as a power play expired, two minutes into the second period.

The Red Wings finished the night one-for-four on the power play with 4:38 of time with the extra attacker. The Sharks went two for ten in 12:54 of time, including 1:06 of five-on-three.

Jimmy Howard made 41 saves on 45 San Jose shots. Nabokov stopped 28 of Detroit’s 31 chances.

The series will shift to Detroit for Game Three on Tuesday.


The Red Wings were without forward Patrick Eaves, out with an elbow injury. He was replaced in the lineup by Jason Williams.