My name is Kevin List, Brian’s brother, and this is my first post at On the Wings. I’m a freshman at Western Michigan University majoring in education. I’ll fill in for the crew as needed.
The Wings’ pre-Olympic six game win streak came to a halt as the San Jose Sharks won 5-1 in the HP Pavilion Center. Specific to tonight, the Wings came into the game with a 9-1-4 record against the Sharks, and hoped to sqeeze out a victory. The Wings had been the last team to not have lost by 3 or more goals coming into tonight’s game. However, several factors spawned a gradual downfall on the Wing’s strength throughout the game. In addition the absence of Lidstrom, Zetterburg, Holmstrom, Samuelsson, and Kronwall, because of Olympic festivities, hurt the Wings leading edge. All the Sharks goals came on the man-advantage. Manny Legace got the start for the Wings, and had 27 saves with 32 shots on goal, including his first penalty shot save. Vesa Toskala got the start for the Sharks, and had 28 saves with 29 shots on goal. Legace held a strong edge early in the game, but later fell apart in the third period. Numerous penalties from the Wing’s defensive line contributed to Legace’s downfall later in the game. These on the man-advantages allowed the Sharks to enact several tactical power play set-ups. Jonathan Cheechoo and Joe Thorton were two key players for the Sharks, who made many of the Shark’s power play advantages successful.
The Wings opened the game with a power play advantage, after a holding penalty against Christian Ehrhoff eighteen seconds into the first period. Two minutes later, the penalty is offset by a tripping penalty against Kopecky. This gave the Sharks a chance to put forth their strong offensive line and establish several set up opportunities in the Wings territory early into the game. With the power play at hand, Thorton tipped the puck in front of the net to the left side to Ekman, who knocked it in for a garbage goal.
This early score by the Sharks gave the Wings a wake up call to step up their defensive strategies. Because of this, the Wings failed to establish any aggressive action in the Shark zone for the second half of the first period. Instead, the Wings worked on keeping their own area secure from the Shark’s advancements.
During this time, the play went nearly nine minutes without any stoppage. Chechoo and Preissing both got a chance to make shots on Legace, however their attempts ended up in the puck going wide of the goal post. After the Shark’s failed efforts, Williams turned the puck over and got a piece of Toskala, with a slap shot on goal with only fifty-five seconds remaining, which was stopped at the net. The first period ends in the Shark zone.
The second period started off in Shark territory with a shot opportunity made by Chelios, which went wide. Lebda made another wrist shot attempt, which his was stopped by Toskala. The play was then directed back into the Wing’s zone, where Marleau sent the puck to Michalek, who hit it off the right bar of the goal post. The Sharks got their first powerplay of the second period with an interference call on Chelios at 5:43.
Marleau took this opportunity to bring set the puck up once again in the Wing’s zone. After his failed wrist shot, Mohalic recovered the puck and shot it off the cross bar, just missing Lagace’s glove. During this play, Multby recieved a penalty for hooking, which turned the player ratio to a 5 on 3. The Wing’s defensive line put Legace in a bad situation, by receiving penalties that consistently gave the Sharks on the man advantages.
With a large gap in the Wings defensive line, the Sharks immediately took the weight of the game to the Wing zone to set up another on goal attempt. At 6:54, Thorton shot the puck to around the back of the net, where Chechoo made a backhand goal on the left side. At 18:29, the Wing’s luck finally turned around. In the Shark zone, Datsyuk tips the puck off to Shanahan, and sets it up to Lebda. He gets a shot to the left side of Toskala for a goal. This marks Lebda’s 4th shot on goal in the game and his 3rd goal overall in the season. At the end of the period, the Sharks lead at 1-2.
The Wings started the third period out strong and began to play the out of the offensive zone. Lang turned the puck over and was the first to take a shot on Toskala. It is then recovered by Schnieder for another failed slap shot. Ekman soon turned the puck back to the Wings zone. At 4:50, Wooley recieved a hooking penalty by tripping up Michalek with his stick.
Four seconds later, Ekman gets a hooking penalty, making the player ratio 4-4 on the ice. Lang tried to sweep the puck back into the shark zone and makes a shot to the wide right of Toskala. Datsyuk retrieved the puck and weaved around Mclaren and McCuley to get another piece of Toskala, however, the shot went wide. The game is, again, directed back into the defensive end, by Marleau.
At about 7:15, Williams holds Ekman on a breakaway, causing him to fall into the Wing’s net. This resulted in Ekman taking a first-time penalty shot against Legace. Ekman’s side-to-side movement did not fool Legace, who mirrored his every move before the net. Ekman approached the goal late and snaped the puck low on the right side, deflecting off Legace’s glove. This was quite a big missed opportunity for Sharks.
Later into the period, the Wings defense began to fall apart once more. At 4:50, Woolley was caught with a hooking penalty, setting the Wings back one man. However the Wing’s short hand was short lived as Ekman received a hooking penalty seven seconds following. The Wing’s temporarly gain strength with a couple won face-offs and more action in the Shark zone. Draper and Lebda particularly played the puck well during this time and set up a couple key wrist shots in front of the goal, making Toskala a bit nervous.
Old mistakes, however, set in once more for the Wing’s defense. At 10:17, Schneider is caught with a holding penalty in the offensive zone. This failed maneuver set the Wings back once again and gave the Sharks another power play to taunt Legace. Thorton does not pass up his on the man opportunity. He won the face-off against Multby and brought the play into the Wing’s zone. He made a wrist shot on Legace, but it went wide of the net. Ekman retrieved the puck and set it up to Marleau, who banged the puck on the side of the crease, making a goal on Legace. At 11:10, Shanahan got the Wings a penalty for tripping in the defensive zone.
The Sharks used another power play opportunity to get the play into the Detroit end. At 11:41, Ehrhoff got the puck set up for a wrist shot goal. He was assisted by Marleau, and Ekman helped to screen Legace before front of the net. The Wing’s built up tensions finally snapped when a fight broke out in front of the Shark net. Cleary began the brawl by knocking Thorton to the ice and taking a few good swings at him. The center of the conflict then was directed to Berneir and Mowers, who started their own fist fight as well. The referees immediately broke up the play and took Bernier and Mowers to the penalty box with roughing calls.
At 13:48, Thorton made a power play goal on Legace, with an assist by Ehrhoff. Two minutes later, Doug Murray made a cheep hit on Multby from behind and resulted given a Boarding penalty on the Sharks. This power play gave the Wings an opportunity to set up one last advance into the Shark zone. Datsyuk tipped the puck to Shanahan, who made a slap shot on Toskala from 16 feet away. The puck was covered up by Toskala and stopped the play. Lang brought the puck back into the Shark territory and made a backhand shot, which was almost knocked with the help of Shanahan’s amazing lacrosse skills. However, the Wing’s last chances to make an impact in the game quickly went sour, and the game soon ended in the neutral zone. The final score: Wings 1, San Jose 5.
*compiled by Brian