Sharks snatch Game 2 from Red Wings

San Jose Sharks Benn Ferriero, left, is congratulated by team mates Dan Boyle and Douglas Murray...

San Jose Sharks Benn Ferriero, left, is congratulated by team mates Dan Boyle and Douglas Murray after scoring the winning goal as Detroit Red Wings Pavel Datsyuk leaves the ice during overtime in Game 1 of their NHL Western Conference semi-final hockey playoff in San Jose, April 29, 2011. (REUTERS/Chad Ziemendorf)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:00 PM ET

SAN JOSE - The Detroit Red Wings put up a brave face Sunday at the HP Pavillion.

Frustrated, disappointed and heading back to the Motor City in a 2-0 deficit in the Western semi-final after a 2-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks, the Wings have to find a way off the mat in Game 3 Wednesday at the Joe Louis Arena.

The effort was better than a 2-1 OT loss in Game 1 Friday, but the result was the same for the Wings and they’re left wondering where the offence has gone after a standout 33-save performance by San Jose goalie Antti Niemi.

Defencemen Nicklas Wallin, who scored what turned out to be the winner in the third, and Ian White were the only San Jose players to beat Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard on 37 shots. Henrik Zetterberg scored the Wings’ lone goal.

“They’ve got to get to four (wins). They won the first two at home. Now, we’ve got to go back to the Joe, take care of business and go from there,” said Zetterberg, who fired it by Niemi at 13:58 of the third on the powerplay.

“We have to score more goals. That’s the bottom line. I had at least five or six good chances (Sunday) and I should at least be able to score more. If we bear down when we get the chance, we’re definitely going to have success.”

What has to concern the Wings the most is that they’re being beaten by a better team. This was a hard, tough battle with lots of nastiness, scrums after the whistle, pushing and shoving in front of the net.

While the Wings performance was better than Game 1, it wasn’t good enough. If they’re indeed going to turn this around then they’re going to have to win the battles.

“We’re not getting the puck in (the zone) as much,” said Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom. “By shooting the puck or throwing the puck in, we have to have guys in front of the net. They’ve been doing a good job of kind of pushing us to the outside and giving us the outside.”

Even when they did get chances, Niemi pretty much shut the door. He made a huge stop on Darren Helm on a shorthanded breakaway in the second period as Niemi made a pad stop on the stick side.

Yes, Howard was strong, but Wallin’s winner at 1:39 appeared to be a knuckleball. Howard likely didn’t see the first shot by White from the point at 4:54 of the first that went through traffic to beat him sticks side.

“We knew we had to turn our game up a little bit. We expected a much better game from them, and we got it,” said Sharks’ coach Todd McLellan. “At the end of the day, the two teams are pretty darn even. If anybody should let their guard down, whether it’s us or them, the other team is going to make them pay.”

It’s the Wings who are paying with untimely goals against and undisciplined penalties. They have allowed the Sharks to have 11 powerplays in two games. This is the 10th time in the last 12 games the Sharks have beaten the Wings.

“I don’t know about getting in your head,” said Wings’ coach Mike Babcock. “When they beat you, they beat you. We have a belief in ourselves, an execution and I don’t question that whatsoever.

“We came into their building, they were able to beat us in two games. This game was more even. We’re going home. We’ll have our crowd. We’ve got to do something.”

And quick.

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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