Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Wings 3, Sharks 2 (OT)

The Wings pulled off a tightly fought 3-2 win in overtime tonight at the Joe. We saw two different Wings teams out there tonight: at times, they were out-hustled and out skated, at others, they controlled the play. They got into penalty trouble in the first and, to a lesser extent, for the rest of the game. They were able to convert on their own power play chances, however, and only gave up one goal when shorthanded. Manny Legace got the start for the Wings and was very solid as usual. Evgeni Nabokov was very good as well and kept his team in it for stretches of the game. First Period The Wings started with Tomas Holmstrom, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg for the forward unit and Jiri Fischer and Mathieu Schneider as the defensive pairing. The Sharks put the pressure on immediately, with a 3-man forecheck in the Wings' zone but nothing developed from it. Johan Franzen had a good chance early from the top of the circle on the far side but Nabokov made the save with his blocker. Just after that, at 1:26, Franzen was called for hooking and the Sharks went on the power play. They got a shot off immediately but Manny made the save and froze the puck. On the Sharks' next try, Scott Thornton had a great chance from 9 feet out but Manny again made the save. The Sharks got a few more shots off before Alyn McCauley was called for interference and it became 4-on-4 for 1:42. The refs were quick to blow the whistle when the goalie had possession during this time. Henrik Zetterberg got a good shot off from just over the blueline after taking a pass from Pavel Datsyuk on a bit of a break but Nabokov stopped it. About twenty seconds later, Mathieu Schneider was called for holding and the Wings went back on the penalty kill, this time 4-on-3 for 55 seconds. The Sharks got set up but didn't generate any real pressure and it was killed off. Franzen, coming out of the penalty box took a pass and got a near-breakaway. Nabokov made the save but gave up a big rebound for Maltby, who unfortunately sent the puck over the net, at 3:37. Dan Cleary was called for tripping 40 seconds later and the Sharks went on the power play once again. They got set up but the Wings cleared it twice and also generated a slight scoring chance with Mark Mowers. The power play was killed off. The Williams-Lang-Shanahan line generated some good pressure around the 7:00 minute mark. Jiri Fischer had a boomer from the point but no one was able to get on the rebound. At 7:25, Wayne Primeau got the jump on the Wings defense and took the puck in on Manny one step ahead of them. Legace made the save. The Wings countered with some pressure from a Franzen-Datsyuk-Holmstrom line. Still, the Sharks at this point looked just a little quicker than the Wings, who seemed a bit sloppy. Their sloppiness was made up for by Manny Legace's sharp play, however. Case in point: at about 9:20, Shanahan gave the puck away near the boards in his own zone by making an ill-advised pass. The Sharks took the puck and had a glorious chance but Legace came up with the save, despite his teammate's sloppiness. Still, the Sharks got on the board first. At 12:29, Nils Ekman, having blocked a shot in his own zone, broke away from Schneider and Lidstrom with a burst of speed and had Legace all to himself. He deked and beat Manny on his glove side with a backhand shot. 1-0 Sharks. At 13:12, Primeau was called for interference and the Wings went to the powerplay. They got a good setup going and some point shots off but they didn't have anyone screening Nabokov and so he had some easy saves. On their second and third attempts, it was cleared each time. They finally got on the board at 15:10, with just two seconds left in the power play. Jason Woolley took the initial shot from the point, after receiving a pass from Schneider, and Shanahan snapped in the rebound. It was Shanny's third goal of the season and his second on the power play. 1-1. Mark Mowers and Dan Cleary created some havoc in the Sharks zone at about 16:30 but Mowers couldn't find the handle on the doorstep. At 17:20, McCauley was called for interference and the Wings again went on the power play. At the start of the power play, Manny Legace was hit in the head by a Sharks player's leg when he came well out of the net to poke the puck away. He was slow in getting up and remained hunched over while the play went the other way. He soon shook it off, however, and seemed none the worse for wear afterwards. As for the power play try, the Wings didn't get much sustained pressure until late but this turned out to be okay as they scored again at 19:07, with 13 seconds remaining on the PP. This time, it was Mikael Samuelsson, who sure didn't stay off the scoresheet for very long. Jason Williams had taken a shot from the point that had completely missed the net to Nabokov's left. It took a V-bounce off the back boards and came out on Nabokov's right, where Samuelsson was ready to put it in the net. A slam dunk. 2-1 Wings. The Wings got into penalty trouble early but were able to hold the Sharks off, due in large part to Manny Legace once again. They were fortunate San Jose was unable to take advantage of power plays in the same way they were able to. Shots in the period were 12-9 Wings. Second Period Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Holmstrom, Schneider and Jiri Fischer started for Mike Babcock this period. The period started out with some good flow, back-and-forth kind of stuff. No real good chances for either team. Nothing to complain about. However, at 1:35, Kris Draper took a puck to the face. Marco Sturm had attempted a dump in but the puck deflected off Chris Chelios' stick into Draper's face. From what I could tell by the replay, the puck hit him high, in the cheek/eye/forehead area. He went down, clutching his face, and had to be helped off the ice with a towel to his face. They told us later that he had been taken to the hospital as a precaution. I think I heard Ken Daniels say something like "He's going to be okay," but I can't be sure, due to a lot of ambient noise in the room. It's too soon to get any real reports, though. I'm sure there will be more in the morning. The Wings generated some good chances after that, from players such as Mowers, Holmstrom and Zetterberg but nothing materialized. Hank's chance included a nifty through-the-defenseman's-legs move but he was unable to get a shot off. At 3:59, they were called for "Too Many Men on the Ice," a penalty Pavel ended up serving. The Wings killed it off with little problem. At 8:02, Nabokov got his team a "Delay of Game" penalty when he played the puck about a foot inside the verboten! trapezoidal space (that sharp corner creates some problems). The Wings got a weak setup going and the Sharks easily cleared it. They generated very little pressure until Holmstrom finally had a chance on the doorstep but in the process, he got a penalty himself at 10:02. I personally thought it to be a rather dubious goalie interference call. Nabokov was doing more of the contact the other way around and even took Holmstrom down when he dove for the puck. The back ref must have made the call. Anyway, during the ensuing power play, the Sharks' Milan Michalek got a glorious cross-crease chance at 10:44 but Legace made the save on the backhand shot from 11 feet out. Just six seconds later, the Sharks tied the game on a shot from the point by Kyle McLaren. It was tipped in by Sturm and there at first seemed to be some debate as to whether it was a legal goal but the puck was dropped moments later and any controversy had to be dropped. 2-2. The Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Holmstrom line created some more chances a minute later when Datsyuk stole the puck and sent it to Zetterberg. He cut across the net and got off a good backhand shot but Nabokov again made the save. At 12:27, Cleary was called for holding the stick and the Sharks went on the power play again. It was another good kill and San Jose was unable to get sustained pressure. Somewhere around 16:00, Holmstrom took a puck to the face after a clearing attempt by Andreas Lilja and he had to go to the locker room. He ended up just needing stitches and came back for the third period. The Wings controlled the play for much of the rest of the period. They went on the power play themselves at 18:30 and were able to generate some good pressure and solid chances but were unable to get it past Nabokov. Shots for the period were 11-11. Third Period The Wings began the period on the power play but Williams, Lidstrom, Datsyuk, Shanahan and Lang were unable to get much going. The next few minutes were pretty uneventful, with both teams trading (rather weak) chances up and down the ice. Jiri Fischer went to the box at 3:31 and the Wings had to rely on Manny Legace to make some very good saves in the first minute of the Sharks' power play. At 4:49, Christian Ehrhoff was called for interference and the two teams went 4-on-4 for 42 seconds or so. When the Fischer penalty expired and the Wings were on the power play, Tomas Holmstrom took a pass from Shanahan and had what looked to be a slam dunk goal at the near post but he was robbed by Nabokov, who got his left pad in place just in time to make the save. The Wings got some good pressure going for the rest of the power play but were unable to convert. At 7:12, Wayne Primeau had a chance going the other way but Manny Legace was equal to the challenge and made the stop. A minute later, Nabokov countered with a save on a Maltby tip of a shot from Lidstrom. The Wings again controlled the play but the Sharks were making it difficult by maintaining constant contact along the boards. The Wings were getting the greater number of chances but San Jose showed greater hustle in following them up. The Sharks did have a flurry of chances around 12:00 but Manny was as sharp as ever and kept the puck out of the net. Williams was sent to the box at 13:27 and ensuing power play was pretty weak for the Sharks. When Williams came out of the box, he immediately had a chance but a good defensive play by the Sharks defenseman kept him from getting off a shot. He did draw a penalty however and the Wings went back on the power play. After the initial effort was cleared, the Wings spent the rest of the power play generating some very good pressure. They were able to keep the same unit out there the entire time (forcing the Sharks to as well) but they could not get the puck past Nabokov. They showed some good hustle, however. Pavel Datsyuk took the puck roughly end-to-end but sent it wide at about 18:27. The end of the period was exciting, with both teams skating hard and the fans cheering loudly. Neither team could put it away, however, and we ended up seeing overtime for the first time this season. Shots for the period were 9-8 Wings. Overtime Babcock began the extra period with Woolley, Shanahan, Schneider and Lang. The Sharks had the first chances but didn't score and then the Wings had their share. Play in overtime was pretty even and it really looked like neither team was trying very hard to put it away. Perhaps they were playing for the shootout. In any case, a 2-on-1 developed that led to the game winner. After Zetterberg failed to score, the puck ended up on Jiri Fischer's stick. He took a shot from the point that looked relatively harmless but it went in just under the crossbar, ending the game. Pavel Datsyuk was tied up in front with a Sharks player and likely screened Nabokov, who reacted too late to make the save. The Wings swarmed Fischer and it seemed more like a playoff win than an early regular season win. At least for a moment. Shots for the extra period were 2-0 Wings and were 34-28 Wings for the game. Notes ... FSN showed us the very play in which Yzerman re-aggravated his groin injury on Saturday night. It happened with about 3:30 left in the game and looked to be a pretty harmless play to me. I guess he turned awkwardly in the corner ... The Wings were 22-2-1 all-time at home against the Sharks before the game ... Babcock moved Johan Franzen to the Draper-Maltby line to replace Yzerman. Mowers took Franzen's place on the Cleary-Samuelsson line ... I'm starting to notice a number of plays that should have been called according to the new rules. Rather blatant interferences and such sometimes going uncalled while some harmless plays are ... I'm glad Pavel's back and all but he just doesn't seem to be his old self. The puck doesn't stay with his stick nearly as much as it used to and his flashes of brilliance are becoming rarer. He's floating out there far too much ... Woolley took a shot in the second period and looked like he might have been hurt but he finished out the game ... A good win for the Wings. I enjoyed seeing them control the play more tonight and it looks like the pieces are coming together. They need to be on their toes, with Nashville breathing down their necks. They improved to 6-1-0 and lead the Central Division by just two points. They will have a three-day break before facing Sergei Fedorov and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim on Friday. NHL.com: Shift chart, play-by-play, boxscore UPDATE (18. Oct, 11:44 AM): Babcock had this to say about Draper:
"He's cut around the eye. I guess the bones are fine. They sent him for a CAT scan or whatever, but it sounds like he's just fine and everything's precautionary, so that's real positive."
Hopefully the eye itself is okay. (Freep) UPDATE (3:36 PM): TSN reports:
Kris Draper is listed as day-to-day after a CAT Scan revealed retinal swelling in his right eye. The eye was not damaged and his right orbital bone will be re-evaluated by physicians on Friday.
I wonder if Drapes will decide to wear a visor now. Maybe it is a good idea to make visors mandatory by some sort of grandfathering-in system.


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