The San Jose Sharks defeated the the Detroit Red Wings by the final score of 1-0 in a shootout at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi earned his first shutout of the season.
The Sharks dealt with their lowest scoring affair to date against a formidable Red Wings opponent who plays the game much like they do. In fact, San Jose’s game is modeled after Detroit’s with Todd McLellan serving under Mike Babcock and even winning a Stanley Cup with him before becoming San Jose’s top man.
As such, both teams were evenly matched with neither team reallly holding too much momentum. Both the Sharks and the Red Wings did a great job of nullifying the breakouts with great forechecking and bottled up the rush in the neutral zone, which made for a tactically challenging game for both head coaches. Also, neither team was able to capitalize with the man-advantage as the Sharks and Red Wings combined to go 0-5.
Due to all of this, the Sharks had their lowest shot output of the season with just 25 regulation shots and ended up going to their second overtime game of the season. The defense held the Red Wings to just 22 shots including 11 combined in the first two periods. That’s incredible considering Detroit has guys like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.
The lone goal of the game came during the shootout on a Logan Couture goal which beat Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard on his stick side. There was not much to the move, but Couture’s quick release was good enough the beat the goaltender.
It is worth noting that the Sharks were without defenseman Dan Boyle once again but were also missing winger Brent Burns due to an injury sustained in the game against the Calgary Flames. In their places were defenseman Freddie Hamilton who played the first game of his NHL career and John McCarthy who was recalled from Worcester.
Antti Niemi was one of San Jose’s best players all night even though he did not get very busy until the third period. He was forced to make a number of great saves, inlcuding on a key Red Wings power play with five minutes left in regulation, and ultimately was the one that led the Sharks to the victory. His best save of the night came on Detoit’s final shot of the shootout by Todd Bertuzzi. He straight robbed Bertuzzi after it looked like Niemi was clearly beat, but insteaad stuck his leg pad out to get a piece of the puck to make the game-winning save.
His counterpart, Jimmy Howard, did not have as busy a night as all of San Jose’s other opponents so far this season, but he was also great. He ended the game with 24 saves including a couple during the overtime period. He also made two saves in the shootout.
1. Antti Niemi (24 saves)
2. Jimmy Howard (26 saves)
3. Logan Couture (1 goal)