Goaltender Antti Niemi led the San Jose Sharks (16-11-6) passed the Detroit Red Wings (17-12-5) by the final of 2-0.
It was another gritty and grinding game between these two teams who were engaged in a low-scoring affair the last time they played. In fact a few players got hurt early in Jason Demers for the Sharks and Jakub Kindl from the Red Wings. Fortunately both returned to the game and seemed unscathed.
Unfortunately for Detroit Johan Franzen got injured at some point in the second period and did not play the entirety of the third with the injury being called a lower body injury.
The Sharks struck first once again and it was none other than Joe Pavelski who scored with about one minute left in the first period. His goal, which was his third first period goal in as many games, was more luck than anything as he wheeled the puck toward the slot from behind the net. As he did so the puck ended up going off of defenseman Kronwall’s skate and took a funny bounce into the Detroit net giving the Sharks the 1-0 lead.
Somewhat troubling throught the game, which was evident against the Ducks as well, was San Jose’s issues getting out of the zone. It has been something they have struggled with all year and is one thing that still needs some work. At times their breakouts are smooth but during lenghthy stretches they will continuously fail to complete even one cleat breakout despite have multiple chances to get the puck out of the zone.
San Jose struck again, this time two minutes into the third period, when Joe Thornton intercepted a pass in the Detroit zone and threw the puck in Brent Burns‘ direction. Burns was then able to find the puck and he picked the top corner against Howard to give the Sharks the 2-0 lead.
The first and only power play of the game did not occur until there was about nine and a half minutes left in the game when T.J. Galiardi was called for hooking. The penalty was a crucial one becuase it gave the Red Wings an opportunity to cut the San Jose lead in half. It was even more important because Detroit had scored a power play goal in eight straight games prior to this game.
San Jose did the job on the insuing penalty kill and were able to quell Detroit’s attack for the most part. Henrik Zetterberg had the best chance during the power play when he found himself all alone down low against Niemi just as the man advantage was expiring but the San Jose goaltender stayed patient and made a fantastic save.
Goaltender Jimmy Howard was then pulled with two mins left in the game in a last ditch effort by the Red Wings to get something going, but in the end amounted to nothing. San Jose had a few empty net opportunites but those were thwarted by Detroit’s defense. The importatnt thing, however, was that San Jose won by the final of 2-0.
GGS 3 Stars
1. Antti Niemi (second straight shutout, 27 saves)
2. Joe Pavelski (game winning goal)
3. Brent Burns (1 goal)