In the final regular season matchup between the top two teams in the Western Conference, the San Jose Sharks and the Detroit Red Wings seemed poised to bring the mutual firepower displayed at the HP Pavilion on January 17th back to the Joe Louis Arena. As if that wasn't enough, add in the subplot involving the de-retirement of Claude Lemieux, a despised individual in Motown, and you're certainly going to have sparks flying, non?
How did it go? Well, to explain, I've hired a translator by the name of "Babel Shark." Join us after the jump... and by "jump" I don't mean off of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Me - Well, the Sharks lost 4-1.
- Babel Shark - We looked like pretenders to the throne out there. Did the Sharks stop in New Orleans for Mardi Gras en route from Dallas? Those Hand Grenades will really mess you up...
BUT the season series is tied at 2 apiece.
- Translation - The Red Wings outscored the Sharks 17 to 11 this season.... and 17 to 9 last season... How the HELL did we outscore them 18 to 9 two seasons ago, despite losing in six games in the second round?
Ty Conklin was in goal for the Red Wings.
- Translation - Chris Osgood was in net the last time the Sharks beat Detroit, 6-5. Conklin shut us out before that. Babcock learned his lesson.
Evgeni Nabokov made 29 saves tonight.
- Translation - ConkBlock has had 87 saves in 3 games compared to Nabby's 76 in the same games. And Ozzie managed 35 saves to Nabby's 29 in that 6-5 win.
The Red Wings won 31 faceoffs to our 24.
- Translation - Detroit has had over 50% of the faceoff wins in 3 of the 4 matchups with San Jose this season.
Christian Ehrhoff had the only Sharks goal, on the power play; it was one of his 5 shots on goal for the evening.
- Translation - We couldn't score even-strength tonight if the Stanley Cup depended on it. Detroit's ferocious backchecking was something for us to model - ironic, given our coach. Oh, and a defenseman other than Dan Boyle had to lead us in offense? Not a recipe for success.
Two of Detroit's goals were on the power play - and a third was during ours.
- Translation - We'll concede the 5-on-3 goal. Unfortunately for Nabbers, his save percentage for the evening immediately tanked to 50% after the first pp goal - do the math. The shorthanded goal - well, see below for how that went down.
Ville Leino had the game-winner for Detroit.
- Translation - Who???
Leino swatted the goal mid-air into the virtually empty net.
- Translation - Can Leino pinch hit for the Tigers next season?
The Sharks were incidentally just 1 for 7 on the power play, AND let in a shorthanded goal.
- Translation - I thought Detroit had the 3rd worst penalty killing in the league! And what happened to our 2nd-best-in-the-league power play?
The Sharks DID manage to outshoot the Red Wings 35 to 33.
- Translation - We helped out Ty Conklin's save percentage. Oh, and the Wings DID put up 17 shots in the 2nd frame alone.
Unfortunately, the Red Wings had 7 takeaways to our 1.
- Translation - That's pretty frickin' bad.
Making matters worse, the Sharks had an apparent 1st period goal by Joe Pavelski negated upon video review.
- Translation - Does Toronto have camera angles unbeknownst to us? Dave Jackson sure as hell waved his arm like that was a goal, and nothing conclusive was shown on our "plebian" TVs. We call shenanigans.
Adding to the teal frustration, the referees made a few questionable calls.
- Translation - Were they blinded by octopus ink or WHAT? (though we side with Dave Jackson if only for getting our back regarding Pavs - see above)
For example, the shorthanded goal during the Pavel Datsyuk tripping penalty (itself a terrible call, in all fairness) came about when the play was not whistled dead after the puck hit the netting.
- Translation - Yeah, but we benefited from the same non-call last season, and scored on Detroit. The refs have long memories of what goes down at the Joe.
Claude Lemieux had 3 shots in his 5:38 of TOI, though he was a minus-one.
- Translation - After Pepe's stroll down memory lane terminates in Montreal, just 4 days before D-Day, it wouldn't be out of the question for Doug Wilson to shuffle the teal deck, if you catch my drift. Hate to break up the Monsters of Medicare, but that's the business side of things.
The Red Wings managed to neutralize the Sharks' #1 line of Marleau-Thornton-Setoguchi.
- Translation - They were held to 4 shots combined tonight, with half coming from Setoguchi. Guess there won't be any "optional practices" in the near future, eh boys?
Evgeni Nabokov should've had that Marian Hossa goal.
- Translation - Evgeni Nabokov should've had that Marian Hossa goal.
Speaking of Marian Hossa - he left the ice in the third period with an injury, after posting 10:10 in TOI.
- Translation - San Jose wishes you well, you mercenary for hire.
San Jose DID have 28 hits to Detroit's 21.
- Translation - Yeah, and San Jose also eclipsed Detroit as the 10th largest city in America, but it doesn't mean shit now, does it?
The Sharks play Ottawa tomorrow before finishing the road trip (and their Eastern Conference scheduling) in Montreal on Saturday.