After getting a win over Nashville 5-3, the Wings looked to get a fourth straight win against the Western Conference champs. The San Jose Sharks came to Detroit with a 3-2-0 record and the top scorer in the league currently, Brent Burns. This would be the last time the Sharks played in Joe Louis Arena.
Howard got the start. Mrazek needed rest after last nights game, and Howie had a huge night back in New York after an impressive 2-1 win over the Rangers. Martin Jones in net for San Jose, posting a 2-2-0 record with a save percentage of .887.
Keys to look at were the increase of fighting for Detroit, and the offense pressure of the Nyquist, Helm and Vanek line who have put together 16 points thus far. Abdelkader missed the game with a minor mid body injury but is expected to play Tuesday; Helm got the A and Athanasiou would get to be in the lineup.
Wings started the first with a few good chances, including a nice move from Athanasiou. An early interference call on Vanek put the Sharks on their first powerplay, but the Wings would kill it off without letting any shots.
Pavelski headed to the box for tripping Tatar. There was good puck movement but no scoring. With 15 seconds left, Dillon gets a boarding call, putting the Wings up on a 5 on 3. The first penalty would expire, and not too much pressure would unravel for Detroit as the second penalty fizzled as well.
At 13:26 Helm is called for faceoff violation. Wings had another great kill, not allowing the Sharks to set up. Howard was again sharp, making some big saves. A lot of success for faceoffs. Larkin, Vanek and Helm had some good looks, hoping to boost goals. 0-0 after 1, shots 11-6 in favor of Detroit.
The second period was all Nyquist.
First though, Larkin would be called for hooking, giving the Sharks their third powerplay chance of the game. It was killed off, allowing three shots. Howard and Jones both looked competitive so far.
But a good top corner snipe at 4:14 from Nyquist gets the fist goal of the game! Ericsson gets the assist, and also totals to 100 career points (so congrats to him!). Both players have been playing with a boost of confidence which is a good sign. A few more close chances would follow from Larkin and Tatar. Defense is playing a lot better tonight too.
Nyquist nets another one from Sproul and the Wings quickly have a 2-0 lead on the visitors. Gustav has absolutely been playing fantastic, getting lots of good looks and his third goal this season.
Two penalties to cap of the end of the second. Vlasic for tripping, which was killed, and Nyquist for holding, which would carry into the final 20 minutes.
Starting the third, the Wings would kill off the penalty. Burns at 1:08 gets a whistle for crosschecking and they’d go back to the powerplay, but no increase on the scoreboard after.
The first goal of the season for Athanasiou is scored. He drills it to the corner from a great pass from Vanek. A big 3-0 lead in the third.
More penalties would flow. Ott and Miller sit for interference and Pavelski gets a double minor. 4 on 4 hockey takes place until a hooking call gets put on Braun. It’s the fifth penalty for San Jose. Wings would get a lonely 1 shot.
The Sharks would continue to be outplayed and shutdown. Another call on them, Marleau at 11:51 for high sticking. The Wings wouldn’t produce, being 0/6 on the powerplay.
Final Score was 3-0 Wings. Shots were 29-30 in favor of Detroit.
Overall, Nyquist had an amazing night. Vanek, Larkin, and Tatar had good chances and are in line to get more goals and points. Howard had another amazing night in the net, getting his first well deserved shutout against the West champs.
The biggest concern tonight was the powerplay. Last year it was hot mess and tonight didn’t look good. Not to hit the panic button, but that should be worked on. The amount of penalties we took is also a red flag.
Red Wings go up to 4-2-0 and get a 4 game winning streak. They host the Hurricanes Tuesday night. Sharks go back home to face the Ducks with a 3-4-0 record and a bad memory of their last game at the Joe.
Photo credit to @MiHockeyNow