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Wings/Sharks Epic Showdown Not What it was billed to be

 

 

Thursday night’s game at Joe Louis Arena, between the two best teams in the west was supposed to be a showdown for bragging rights and possibly a preview of the western conference finals. If last nights game is any indication, it won’t be a very good finals series.
The Redwings dominated in every facet, defeating the Sharks 6-0 thanks to 2 goals from Pavel Datsyuk who also had two assists, and Marion Hossa – the teams point leader – who added a goal and an assist to raise his season point total to 33. Johan Franzen, Valtteri Filppula, and Brad Stuart each added a goal as well.



Perhaps the Redwings were eager to show that they are still the team to be reckoned with in the west? After all they’ve lead the conference in total points each of the last 4 years and collected 3 Presidents Trophies. They are also the defending Stanley Cup Champions. But for the last week the Redwings had been listening to how the new measuring stick in the league was the San Jose Sharks, who, until last night, had been the most impressive team. They set an NHL record through the first 30 games, going 25-3-2 and notching 52 points.

They also lead the league in goals – 112 and goal differential +42. Furthermore the Sharks haven’t lost in regulation at home all year, going 16-0-2. The Redwings have had their problems defensively, uncharacteristically surrendering 93 goals in the first 30 games. But last night they had no trouble as they kept the Sharks off balance and controlled the puck for most of the game.

"Just flat-out they were better in every situation," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "We can come down off of our perch and everybody can look at each other and realize that we've still got some work to do." It was an unhappy return to Detroit for McLellan, who served as an assistant under Redwings coach Mike Babcock for three years. The Sharks lost for the second straight night, falling in a shootout to Columbus Wednesday despite 48 shots on goal. Since their first meeting with Detroit on October 30, (Which the Sharks won 4-2) they were 16-1-2.

 

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Detroit goalie Chris Osgood didn’t play because of a sore groin. Filling in, Ty Conklin made 24 stops for the shutout win. The Redwings now own the second best record in the west at 21-6-4 and are tied with the Sharks for goals scored with 113. The only real bad news: the Redwings streak of 18 consecutive games with at least 30 shots on goal came to an end. It doesn’t matter. When you put 6 of 28 shots in the net, you’re doing pretty well.

 

Erich Straub
ProHockey-fans.com Detroit Red Wings Correspondent