for this game

Sharks strike quick early, blank Red Wings

Apr 27, 2007 - 4:06 AM
DETROIT (Ticker) -- Dominik Hasek and the Detroit Red Wings don't wish they had the entire game, one period or even 10 minutes back. All they would want is a measly 24 seconds.

Defenseman Matt Carle and Mike Grier scored 24 seconds apart midway through the first period and Evgeni Nabokov made 34 saves as the San Jose Sharks stole home-ice advantage from the Red Wings with a 2-0 victory in the opener of their Western Conference semifinal series.

Hasek stopped 17 shots for Detroit, which hopes to avoid a two-games-to-none deficit when it hosts Game Two on Saturday afternoon.

After winning three of the four regular-season meetings with the Red Wings, the Sharks continued their impressive play against the top seed in the conference in this one. Following its quick scoring burst, San Jose turned things over to Nabokov, who posted his fifth career playoff shutout and first since blanking Calgary in Game Three of the 2004 conference finals.

"I'm trying to play a game at a time, to win every game I'm out there, to give the guys a chance to win," Nabokov said. "I'm just concentrating and not trying to think too ahead of myself."

The former Calder Trophy winner turned aside 11 shots in the first period, 10 in the second and 13 in the third to keep Detroit scoreless in a postseason game for the first time since Miikka Kiprusoff of the Flames posted consecutive shutout wins in Games Five and Six of the 2004 conference semifinals.

"He's been doing it throughout the playoffs, always coming up big for us," Carle said. "Hopefully, he'll keep continuing to play well."

The stage was set for Nabokov halfway through the opening period as the Sharks cashed in on their only power-play opportunity of the game.

"It gave them momentum early on," Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. "It gave them confidence, too. We were playing catch-up hockey after that."

Entering having notched six assists in San Jose's five-game triumph over Nashville in the quarterfinals, Joe Thornton had the puck below the end line on the right side before passing to Carle, who pinched from the left point and pushed a shot past Hasek from below the faceoff circle at 9:45 for his second career playoff goal.

"We worked it around pretty well," Carle said. "We had some cushion up top and started to move the puck around. We got them moving around and got the puck down to Joe, and he just made a great play. All I had to do was put it in the empty net."

"It was just bing, bang, boom and it was in the back of the net," Thornton said. "Both guys went to Billy (Guerin) because I was eyeing him, and (Carle) made a great play with a one-timer. ... We got the crowd right out of the game."

Following the ensuing faceoff, the Red Wings controlled the puck in their own zone before Johan Franzen - who scored the series-clinching tally against the Flames in overtime of Game Six of the quarterfinals - coughed it up. The puck found its way to Grier, who spun around in the low slot and fired it by Hasek at 10:09 for a 2-0 lead.

"It was a good forecheck," Grier said. "Brownie (Curtis Brown) made a great dump and I was able to pressure (defenseman Mathieu) Schneider a little bit. Then Riz (Patrick Rissmiller) turned 'em over and I just kind of turned around and flung it. I got lucky. Shifts after goals are big. For us to go out there and get another one on the board probably set them back on their heels a little bit."

"He just turned around and shot the puck," Hasek said. "I don't think he knew what he was doing, he just was shooting the puck and it hit the post and the puck went in. It was maybe a lucky goal, but if you make a turnover, bad things can happen, and that's what happened."

Sharks coach Ron Wilson was pleased with his team's quick outburst.

"It helps when you score in the first period and kind of assert yourself," he said. "We're a young team and we usually feel good about ourselves after we score."

It proved to be more than enough for Nabokov, who had a fairly easy time despite San Jose's inability to keep the play in the offensive zone. The Sharks registered just nine shots on goal over the final two periods, including only three in the middle session.

"We'd like to get more," San Jose defenseman Kyle McLaren said. "We had double digits in the first period and I think we settled back. Even in the third period, we sat back way too much and gave them a little more room. When you give Detroit that much room, it's dangerous. Our goaltender was outstanding."

"After the first period, it didn't feel like we had our A game or our legs under us," Wilson added. "To be honest with you, we can play a lot better and Detroit can play a lot better. ... You get a two-goal lead in a playoff game, you don't just want to sit back and defend that. But looking back, we did a helluva job."

San Jose did well in front of Nabokov, successfully killing three penalties in the second period and finishing the game with 18 blocked shots.

"We had those three penalties and they were coming hard," Nabokov said. "They got momentum and they were putting everything on the net. They were shooting from the corners and they were trying to create something. I thought our guys did a good job with the rebounds when I had them. I don't know how many shots they had on their PP, but I thought our guys did a good job blocking them."

"We blocked a lot of shots and got in their passing lanes and frustrated them," Wilson added.

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock also noticed the Sharks' ability to prevent the puck from reaching Nabokov.

"I thought they did a good job on the penalty kill. We didn't get the puck through to the net," Babcock said. "We thought they had four blocked shots on our first power play when we had people in front of the net and the puck never got through."

Kirk Maltby came the closest to scoring for Detroit, but his shot less than 4 1/2 minutes into the second period rang off the goalpost.

"I think we have to get a little uglier in their zone and get the pucks to the net," Maltby said. "They did block a lot (of shots). ... We've got to play hard, play gritty, muck it up in their zone a little bit. ... We feel we've got a lot more in the tank than we had tonight."

Nabokov faced his biggest challenge in the third, when he stopped Jiri Hudler's snap shot 5 1/2 minutes into the period and denied Henrik Zetterberg's wrister with 6:45 remaining.

With the victory, San Jose improved to 3-1 on the road in the playoffs. It recorded a league-leading 26 wins away from home during the regular season.

"We've been a great road team all year," Carle said. "As much as we love our fans in San Jose, it's always good to play on the road. We always seem to get the job done."

"It's good to come into a building like this and get a win," Grier said. "It's not an easy place to play. We're happy to get one, but it's just going to get harder as the series goes on."

Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk combined for 11 shots for the Red Wings, who fell to 3-1 at home this postseason.








  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    SAN JOSE 2 0 0 2
    DETROIT 0 0 0 0 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: SAN - (PP) MATTHEW CARLE 2 (JOE THORNTON, RYANE CLOWE) 9:45
    SAN - MIKE GRIER 2 (PAT RISSMILLER, CURTIS BROWN) 10:09
    2ND PRD: NONE
    3RD PRD: NONE
    POWER-PLAY CONVERSIONS: SAN - 1 OF 1, DET - 0 OF 3.
    SHOTS ON G

    Apr 26 9:58 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    SAN JOSE 2 0 2
    DETROIT 0 0 0 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: SAN - (PP) MATTHEW CARLE 2 (JOE THORNTON, RYANE CLOWE) 9:45
    SAN - MIKE GRIER 2 (PAT RISSMILLER, CURTIS BROWN) 10:09
    2ND PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----

    Apr 26 9:09 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    SAN JOSE 2 2
    DETROIT 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: SAN - (PP) MATTHEW CARLE 2 (JOE THORNTON, RYANE CLOWE) 9:45
    SAN - MIKE GRIER 2 (PAT RISSMILLER, CURTIS BROWN) 10:09
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    SAN 10

    Apr 26 8:16 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL SAN JOSE 2
    DETROIT 0
    1ST PRD: SAN - MIKE GRIER 2 (PAT RISSMILLER, CURTIS BROWN) 10:09

    Sharks vs. Red WingsApr 26 7:59 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL SAN JOSE 1
    DETROIT 0
    1ST PRD: SAN - (PP) MATTHEW CARLE 2 (JOE THORNTON, MIKE GRIER) 9:45

    Sharks vs. Red WingsApr 26 7:59 PM