Your ordinary NHL fan might have called it one of the greatest series in NHL history. San Jose Sharks and Detroit Red Wings Fans might have called it the most stressful series ever. It was only last season in the Western Conference Semifinals where the Sharks and Red Wings faced off in a best-of-7 to get into the Western Conference Finals. The year before the Sharks dominated Detroit in 5 games. San Jose took the first two of the series at HP Pavillion and then game 3 at The Joe. Detroit was down 3-0 having to win 4 games in a row, two in San Jose, including a possible Game 7, to stay alive. It seemed as if they have gotten too old; they have run out of gas; they were done. Detroit shocked the NHL by defeating San Jose in games 4-6. They seemed to have all the momentum going into San Jose for a Game 7.
Except San Jose had something that their opponent did not. Home Ice Advantage. In a recent Sports Illustrated poll prior to the playoffs, HP Pavillion, home to the Sharks, was voted the most intimidating arena in the NHL. When San Jose comes out of the Sharkhead to take the ice, they have traditionaly played Metallica to pump up the croud and and players. ” I didn’t think that they were playing the music”, said a fan that was in attendance for Game 7. It was recorded as the loudest HP Pavilion has ever been. The fans were behind their players, and they didn’t disappoint; after an early goal by Devon Setoguchi, the Sharks never lost hold of the lead, and pulled out the victory, sending their rivals home for a second consecutive season.
San Jose arrived at Detroit on Friday, with momentum on their side, riding a 3 game road winning streak. They had been playing good hockey, and they knew to keep their foot on the gas pedal, especially against a team like Detroit.
The Sharks had many good chances early in the game on the PP, obliterating goalie Tim Howard with many shots, but none going by him. With 7: 40 left in the first, Detroit took an early lead on a goal by one of the games best, Henrik Zetterburg. The Sharks came out firing in the second period of play. With a man advantage, defensemen Marc Eduoard Vlasic took the puck down the ice, found Martin Havlat on a beautiful entry in to the zone, who then had a crisp pass to Ryan Clowe, who scored his 3rd of the season on a wrister past Tim Howard.
San Jose continued their dominant second period of play with two break-away goals by Sharks veterans Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton. With a solid performance by Antti Niemi in goal, stopping 30 of the 32 shots he faced, San Jose once again sqeaked by the tough Red Wings 4-2 (empty netter by Thornton).
San Jose is so far 4-0 on their long road trip and look to keep winning tonight against the NY Islanders (4 PT/7 ET)
|SJS||31 A. Niemi (W)||27 – 28||3 – 4||0 – 0||30 – 32||0.938||59:54|
|DET||35 J. Howard (L)||16 – 18||9 – 10||1 – 1||26 – 29||0.897||59:07|
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Written by Cole
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