Sharks smell blood, come back from down two to beat Wings

The Detroit Red Wings (23-31-9) dropped today’s afternoon matchup against the San Jose Sharks (37-18-8). Jonathan Bernier started for Detroit, facing off against San Jose’s Aaron Dell. Thomas Vanek was out with a tweak, and Jimmy Howard was sick. The newest Red Wing, Madison Bowey, was scratched along with Luke Witkowski. Notably for the Sharks, Erik Karlsson was out with the flu. Top prospect Filip Zadina made his NHL debut for the Wings today.

First Period

The Sharks started this game hot, and Tim Heed scored less than four minutes in to put the Sharks up 1-0. San Jose kept the pressure on a bit longer, but the latter two-thirds of the period were all Wings. Halfway through the frame, Justin Abdelkader sprung Luke Glendening onto a small breakaway. Dell made the first stop, and then reached back with the glove to rob Glendening – huge desperation save.

The Wings were rewarded for their efforts with just over five to go. Darren Helm took a pass from Abdelkader to enter the zone, and ripped it short side past Dell to tie the game at 1-1. With less than a minute to go, Dylan Larkin fed Gustav Nyquist in the slot, but Dell came up with the first save. Nyquist pounced on the rebound to give the Red Wings a 2-1 lead. The period ended with the Wings leading in shots 15-5.

Dylan Larkin finished this one with an assist in 22:44 TOI. – Photo by Ken Lund

Second Period

The Sharks pushed back early in the period, but Bernier helped Detroit weather the storm. Eventually, San Jose took a penalty. The play was never called, however, as the Wings scored with the extra man on the delay. Abdelkader fed Mike Green across the slot, and the veteran defenceman finished to increase Detroit’s lead to 3-1.

With about six to go in the period, Brent Burns wristed one on net, but Bernier never saw it – 3-2 Wings. Only two minutes later, the Jonathan Ericsson took a penalty. Burns fired it towards the net, and after a few bounces, Joe Pavelski tucked it by Bernier to tie the game 3-3. Less than a minute after that, Pavelski deflected a Marc-Edouard Vlasic shot beautifully over Bernier’s shoulder to put the Sharks up 4-3. Rough few minutes for the Wings.

With one minute left in the frame, Evander Kane fed Joonas Donskoi with a cross-crease pass, but Bernier got the pad across to make an enormous save. Thanks to him, Detroit returned to the locker room down one rather than two.

Third Period

San Jose outshot the Wings 16-3 in the second, and the onslaught continued for much of the third. In fact, their first real chance came almost thirteen minutes in. Larkin went coast to coast and dangled past a few Sharks, but couldn’t get the puck by Dell.

The Wings only managed two shots in the third before pulling Bernier with just under two to go. San Jose won the first faceoff with Bernier on the bench, and Pavelski potted the empty-netter to complete the hat trick, 5-3 Sharks. Wings lose with a wimper.

Quick Notes

  • This was Abdelkader’s best game in a while. He created a lot of great opportunities thanks to some great passing.
  • Eight shots by Nyquist in what might be his last game as a Wing this season. He’s certainly shown that he can be a valuable asset for teams looking for a scoring winger.
  • I feel like I wrote a bit negatively about Bernier here. This one isn’t on him alone, he got very little support.
  • Only 10:38 for Zadina today, which was disappointing. There will be plenty of time to see more of him.
  • On the flip-side, Filip Hronek played 22:23. He’s been improving, and has been quarterbacking the top powerplay unit. Good to see the progression from him!

Overall

Detroit started on time, and the first was promising. After the Wings scored their third, however, San Jose took over. Detroit proceeded to be outshot 32-8 in the final two. Again, the Wings are never out of games, but days like this are a tough reminder that they’re rebuilding.

Tomorrow is the trade deadline, and we could be looking at a very different Detroit team twenty-four hours from now. Hopefully Ken Holland does what he needs to do.

Next Up

Detroit hosts the slumping Montreal Canadiens Tuesday night in a classic Original Six matchup. Puck drops at 7:30 PM.