After 65 minutes of the least compelling Detroit/San Jose hockey I have ever seen Logan Couture scored the lone goal and Antti Niemi made a marvelous save in the shootout to earn the Sharks two points against the Red Wings.
A point would have been a fair result for the Sharks who had to scratch and claw for every zone entry and exit throughout the night as the Wings did everything in their power to suffocate San Jose's offense. The absence of Brent Burns, Raffi Torres, Martin Havlat and Dan Boyle on the Sharks' bench and Niklas Kronwall from Detroit took a lot of the fire power out of this contest before it began.
The shots ended up being pretty darn even -- the Red Wings outshot the Sharks 27-24 thanks to a strong third period from Detroit. The ice started to tilt in the third and it took a very strong penalty kill by the Sharks to keep the Winged Wheels off the board with five minutes to go in the final frame.
San Jose had the better of the chances in overtime but was not able to capitalize, sending the game to the dreaded skills competition that ended their perfect season in Dallas. Luckily for the Sharks, Niemi was up to the task as he made nice saves on Daniel Alfredsson and Todd Bertuzzi while using his Jedi mind-powers to will Pavel Datsyuk into missing the net entirely.
Patrick Marleau had Jimmy Howard all but beat but couldn't elevate the puck over the outstretched goalie's leg to open the Sharks portion of the shootout. Couture followed up with a nice move that beat Howard stick side. Unfortunately for all of us, this meant Tomas Hertl did not get to have a go in the third round of the shootout and will have to end another goalie's career some other time.
- The Red Wings might be in a new conference, but it's still a heck of a lot of fun to see the Sharks go into the Joe Louis Arena and earn two points.
- Freddie Hamilton tried to earn his first NHL goal with a nifty spinorama move. I'll have to look at the numbers when they're tabulated, but I thought he played okay.
- That being said, I hope Brent Burns is back when the Sharks take on the Bruins because a first line with Thornton and two rookies is probably not gonna cut it.
- John McCarthy is still a better NHL player than Matt Pelech and I hope he hangs around for a bit.
- Marc-Edouard Vlasic had an incredible game and is having one of the best seasons of his career.
- Logan Couture had a five-shot night.
- The Sharks went 0-3 on the powerplay. The powrplay has been rough without Dan Boyle -- take away Brent Burns too and it's real tough for the Sharks to score.
- Antti Niemi had 24 saves tonight and pitched the equivalent of a perfect game in 10 innings. Not a bad night. (GIF of crazy foot save below)
- I still hate the shootout.