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Sharks Start Road Trip With 3-2 Win in Detroit

(Originally published at Sports Radio Service)

The San Jose Sharks defeated the Detroit Red Wings on Friday by a score of 3-2. It was an excellent start to a six game road trip. Sharks goals were scored by Matt Nieto, Joe Pavelski and Melker Karlsson. Five Sharks defensemen had points in the game, and goaltender Martin Jones stopped 26 of 28 shots for the win. For the Red Wings, Dylan Larkin made an excellent impression skating in his first NHL game. He set up the Tomas Tatar for Detroit’s first goal. The other Detroit goal came from Teemu Pulkkinen in the final minute of the game.

The Sharks gave up the first goal early in the game, something they have been doing a lot lately. Despite giving up the first goal yet again, Martin Jones had a good bounce back game. After the win, he said:

I’ve got to find a way to come up with a save early in the game. That’s a lot of games in a row that we’re coming from behind here so… It makes it tough on us. You know, the guy makes a good shot but I’ve got to find a way to come up with a save early.

The most noteworthy change to the Sharks lineup was that Patrick Marleau moved to center the second line, with Joel Ward and Nikolay Goldobin on the wings. Melker Karlsson started on the top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. Tomas Hertl centered the third line with Tommy Wingels and Joonas Donskoi. That left a fourth line centered by Chris Tierney with Matt Nieto and Mike Brown.

For the Red Wings, Pavel Datsyuk entered the lineup for the first time this season.

The Red Wings opened the scoring at 3:13 of the first period. A three on two was slightly aided when an official got in the way of Joe Thornton. Dylan Larkin carried the puck into the zone, then made a pass to Tomas Tatar on the wing. Tatar took the shot from above the circle and beat Jones on the far side, in the top corner. The goal went to Tatar with assists to Larkin and Niklas Kronwall.

Nikolay Goldobin earned the Sharks a power play by falling down and having it mistaken for a trip. It took Detroit almost a minute to clear the puck the first time. Later in the power play, Tommy Wingels was called for holding Darren Helm. That gave the teams 33 seconds of four-on-four play before the Red Wings power play. The Sharks penalty kill stopped the Red Wings from getting set up and gave them very little time to play in the offensive one.

Just as the power play ended, Sharks defenseman Matt Tennyson passed the puck out of the Sharks zone to Joe Thornton in the neutral zone. Thornton carried it in, pushed a weak shot at the net, then retrieved it behind the net, fighting off Drew Miller and Mike Green. As Thornton slid the puck back around in front of the net, Melker Karlsson arrived and popped it over Jimmy Howard’s pad to tie the game. Assists went to Thornton and Tennyson.

The Sharks survived another Detroit power play at 8:56, when Joel Ward was called for tripping. It was the first penalty of the season for Ward.

The Sharks took the lead late in the first, when Matt Nieto caught the puck on the left side of the net, carried it behind the net for a wrap around try, which did not go. He was ready for that, caught the rebound and put a shot up under the cross bar. The assists went to Brenden Dillon and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

Nikolay Goldobin was still on the second line to start the second period. The way he was pulled off the first line in earlier games, his continued presence on the second line suggests that his coach is gaining confidence in him. The first half of the second period was relatively uneventful. There were no penalties and no goals.

Just past the halfway mark, The Sharks looked like they were getting set up in the offensive zone. Paul Martin saw an early opening and took a shot from the blue line as Joe Pavelski was skating across in front of the net. Pavelski turned and skated backwards to get his stick in position, then deflected the shot perfectly past Howard. The assists went to Martin and Justin Braun. The goal put Pavelski one away from 500 career points.

With less than a minute left in the period, some rough stuff in front of the Red Wings net put Joe Thornton and Luke Glendening in the box with two minutes each for roughing. Actually, it sent them to the dressing room since there were only 56.7 seconds left.

At the end of the second, the shots were 22-11 Detroit, the score 3-1 San Jose.

The third period rolled along without penalties or additional scoring. The Sharks only got credit for three shots during the period, but they limited the Red Wings to just six in the period.

With their goaltender pulled and 1:52 left in the game, the Red Wings closed the gap. With all of the Sharks and a couple of Red Wings lined up in the slot, Tomas Tatar passed the puck to Jakub Kindl at the point. Kindle passed it along the blue line to Teemu Pulkkinen, who slapped it into the top corner. Assists went to Kindl and Tatar. After that, the Sharks pushed back a little harder and tried, unsuccessfully, for the empty net.

Final score: 3-2 Sharks.

None of the Sharks had more than two shots, and those with two were Brent Burns, Tommy Wingels and Matt Nieto. Justin Braun and Melker Karlsson led the team in hits with four each. Marc-Edouard Vlasic led the team in ice time with 26:54.

Pavel Datsyuk led the Red Wings in shots with four. Dylan Larkin and Justin Abdelkader led the Red Wings in hits with four apiece. Jimmy Howard made 11 saves on 14 shots.

The Sharks next play on Saturday at 4:00 PT in Buffalo against the Sabres.

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