I don’t know if it’s Dany Heatley’s presence, or the emergence of Joe Pavelski as one of the top clutch scorers in the league this postseason, but the San Jose Sharks sure don’t look like a team that’s going to choke their way out of the playoffs this year. Despite heading into the 3rd period down by a goal at home on Sunday, the Sharks battled back and got two 3rd period goals to beat the Detroit Red Wings and give themselves a 2-0 series lead before heading to Detroit.
Pavelski added 2 more goals to his list of playoff tallies, scoring both on the powerplay. His first goal came just minutes after Datsyuk had put the Wings up one with a wicked wrister that beat Nabokov up high. Pavelski’s blast from the blueline knifed through traffic and over Jimmy Howard. About 90 seconds later, Pavelski added an assist as Ryane Clowe redirected his centering pass with a beautiful backhand tip through his own legs. >
Detroit was quick to answer though, as Tomas Holmstrom scored a powerplay goal to tie the game just 3 minutes after Clowe scored. Captain Nicklas Lidstrom put Detroit ahead early in the 2nd, with a perfect slapshot from the point, but it was all Sharks in the 3rd. San Jose outshot the Wings 18-11 in the final frame, and took advantage of 5 Detroit minor penalties. Pavelski got his 2nd of the night as he crashed the net during a 5-on-3 powerplay and found a loose puck waiting in the crease. Joe Thornton was the beneficiary of some touch luck for the Wings on the Sharks’ 4th goal, as Lidstrom’s stick broke on a slapshot attempt, and Dany Heatley was right there to take the puck the other way on a 3-on-1. Thornton drove hard to the net and managed to guide the rebound off Heatley’s wrister past Howard.
The discrepancy in penalties was uncharacteristically against the Red Wings, as they gave the Sharks 10 powerplays throughout the game, while San Jose took only 4 minors. I don’t think this will be a troubling trend for the Wings, as they are one of the most disciplined teams int he league, and should have their emotions back under control for Game 3 at home.