The Detroit Red Wings head back to Joe Louis Arena down 2 games to the San Jose Sharks after losing 2-1 on Sunday afternoon.
The loss was catalyzed by a complete lack of discipline by one of the least penalized teams in the regular season. The San Jose Sharks must have taken notice of Jimmy Howard’s reaction to Joe Pavelski’s snow shower in Game 1 and decided to try to get under the skin of the Red Wings the second time around.
It worked. Detroit took some uncharacteristic roughing penalties, including one by Tomas Holmstrom during a third period power play, which negated the man advantage and left the Red Wings to face the Sharks 4 on 4.
The other key to the Sharks victory was their defensive style. While Detroit plays a puck-possession style, the Sharks tend to play a crushing man-on-man defense. They smother the puck holder and stay completely on top of him, leaving him with no alternative but to the fire the puck to the sides, almost blind. The Red Wings by comparison, tend to leave a bit of space and allow the Sharks to enter the zone. The idea there being to cut off passing lanes and force turnovers. The problem is that both styles worked, but the Sharks squeaked by on another fluky goal. That puck took a fortuitous bounce of Jimmy Howard’s glove, up over his head, and into the net. Otherwise, Jimmy saw it all the way, and wasn’t beat clean, like he was on Ian White’s goal in the first period.
Jimmy Howard was again Detroit’s best player, and continued his solid play in net to at least keep Detroit within striking distance. The Red Wings now have a couple days to keep their composure, and figure out the Sharks’ stifling defense and get some pucks to the net. And stay out of the box!
Otherwise, it will be a very short week…