Sharks Fall to Red Wings 6-2

San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns (88) and Detroit Red Wings center Robby Fabbri (14) scramble for the puck at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit on Tue Jan 4, 2022 (AP New photo)

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks (17-16-1) fell 6-2 to the Red Wings (16-15-3) in Detroit on Tuesday. Pius Suter (2), Tyler Bertuzzi (2), Dylan Larkin, and Robby Fabbri scored for Detroit. Alex Nedeljkovic made 24 saves for the win. Jasper Weatherby and Alexander Barabanov scored for San Jose. James Reimer made 20 saves on 24 shots in the first two periods, and Adin Hill made 5 saves on 7 shots in the third.

The Sharks have given up six or more goals in three of their last four games. In two of those, they scored five or more goals, but the Sharks’ defensive game is struggling. After the game, Brent Burns talked about the power play and the game in general: “It’s just gotta be better. At the end of the day you’ve gotta figure it out, put the next guy in a good spot, you gotta start executing, doing things on the same page. Obviously it’s not good enough.”

Logan Couture and Lane Pederson on the COVID-19 list, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic out as a healthy scratch, the Sharks were short-handed even before they lost Jacob Middleton to injury in the first period. Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner talked about the absence of key players and how it may be undermining the team’s confidence:

“You worry about team confidence. That’s what we need to get back here. You know, I think losing [Couture], and not having Mario [Ferraro], and having [Rudolfs Balcers] out for a while, we’re thin, we’re a little bit thin. Some teams can miss three or four players and they don’t miss a beat. And they’re better teams in the league, they’re elite teams. We’re not and that means we’ve got to come together and play a little smarter and a little harder.”

At 13:02 of the first, Tyler Bertuzzi threw the puck to the net from below the goal line. It went off of James Reimer’s stick and into the net. Assists went to Gustav Lindstrom and Dylan Larkin.

Late in the period, Red Wings forward Givani Smith received a five minute major and a game misconduct for boarding Sharks defenseman Jacob Middleton. Middleton left the ice and did not return to the game.

The Sharks started the second period with more than three minutes left on the power play. Instead of scoring, they gave up two short-handed goals. Prior to the game, the Red Wings had gone 100 games without a short-handed goal.

Pius Suter scored the first, after breaking away while Alexander Barabanov tried to chase him down from the other side of the ice.

Tyler Bertuzzi scored his second of the game less than 40 seconds later, also short-handed. This time, the Red Wings left the Sharks power play behind with a two-on-one. Assists went to Carter Rowney and Moritz Seider.

Jasper Weatherby got one back at 4:03. Weatherby deflected a Brent Burns shot while cutting through in front of the net. Assists went to Burns and Jeffrey Viel.

Pius Suter scored his second of the game at 9:32. Michael Rasmussen set him up with a back hand from the goal line and Suter’s quick shot beat Reimer on the glove side. Assists went to Rasmussen and Nick Leddy.

The Sharks put Adin Hill in net to start the third period.

Alexander Barabanov had a Tomas Hertl shot go off of his skate at 1:40 of the third, for his sixth goal of the season.

A couple of minutes later, Dylan Larkin skated around the Sharks defense and shot the puck past Adin Hill for his 16th goal of the season. Assists went to Lucas Raymond and Gustav Lindstrom.

Robby Fabbri scored his ninth of the season at 5:01. He picked off a Brent Burns pass and shot it right into the far side of the net.

Midway through the third, a scrum erupted in front of the Detroit net, ending with two more game misconducts, one to Jeffrey Viel and one to Tyler Bertuzzi. They also received roughing minors, creating two minutes of four-on-four.

The Sharks were out-shot by the Red Wings 31-26. The Sharks prevailed in the face-off circle, winning 52% of the draws. It was Burns’ 631st consecutive game.

The Sharks’ next game will be Thursday in Buffalo against the Sabres at 4:00 PM PT.

Sharks Start Road Trip With 3-2 Win in Detroit

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks defeated the Detroit Red Wings on Friday by a score of 3-2. It was an excellent start to a six game road trip. Sharks goals were scored by Matt Nieto, Joe Pavelski and Melker Karlsson. Five Sharks defensemen had points in the game, and goaltender Martin Jones stopped 26 of 28 shots for the win. For the Red Wings, Dylan Larkin made an excellent impression skating in his first NHL game. He set up the Tomas Tatar for Detroit’s first goal. The other Detroit goal came from Teemu Pulkkinen in the final minute of the game.

The Sharks gave up the first goal early in the game, something they have been doing a lot lately. Despite giving up the first goal yet again, Martin Jones had a good bounce back game. After the win, he said:

I’ve got to find a way to come up with a save early in the game. That’s a lot of games in a row that we’re coming from behind here so… It makes it tough on us. You know, the guy makes a good shot but I’ve got to find a way to come up with a save early.

The most noteworthy change to the Sharks lineup was that Patrick Marleau moved to center the second line, with Joel Ward and Nikolay Goldobin on the wings. Melker Karlsson started on the top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. Tomas Hertl centered the third line with Tommy Wingels and Joonas Donskoi. That left a fourth line centered by Chris Tierney with Matt Nieto and Mike Brown.

For the Red Wings, Pavel Datsyuk entered the lineup for the first time this season.

The Red Wings opened the scoring at 3:13 of the first period. A three on two was slightly aided when an official got in the way of Joe Thornton. Dylan Larkin carried the puck into the zone, then made a pass to Tomas Tatar on the wing. Tatar took the shot from above the circle and beat Jones on the far side, in the top corner. The goal went to Tatar with assists to Larkin and Niklas Kronwall.

Nikolay Goldobin earned the Sharks a power play by falling down and having it mistaken for a trip. It took Detroit almost a minute to clear the puck the first time. Later in the power play, Tommy Wingels was called for holding Darren Helm. That gave the teams 33 seconds of four-on-four play before the Red Wings power play. The Sharks penalty kill stopped the Red Wings from getting set up and gave them very little time to play in the offensive one.

Just as the power play ended, Sharks defenseman Matt Tennyson passed the puck out of the Sharks zone to Joe Thornton in the neutral zone. Thornton carried it in, pushed a weak shot at the net, then retrieved it behind the net, fighting off Drew Miller and Mike Green. As Thornton slid the puck back around in front of the net, Melker Karlsson arrived and popped it over Jimmy Howard’s pad to tie the game. Assists went to Thornton and Tennyson.

The Sharks survived another Detroit power play at 8:56, when Joel Ward was called for tripping. It was the first penalty of the season for Ward.

The Sharks took the lead late in the first, when Matt Nieto caught the puck on the left side of the net, carried it behind the net for a wrap around try, which did not go. He was ready for that, caught the rebound and put a shot up under the cross bar. The assists went to Brenden Dillon and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

Nikolay Goldobin was still on the second line to start the second period. The way he was pulled off the first line in earlier games, his continued presence on the second line suggests that his coach is gaining confidence in him. The first half of the second period was relatively uneventful. There were no penalties and no goals.

Just past the halfway mark, The Sharks looked like they were getting set up in the offensive zone. Paul Martin saw an early opening and took a shot from the blue line as Joe Pavelski was skating across in front of the net. Pavelski turned and skated backwards to get his stick in position, then deflected the shot perfectly past Howard. The assists went to Martin and Justin Braun. The goal put Pavelski one away from 500 career points.

With less than a minute left in the period, some rough stuff in front of the Red Wings net put Joe Thornton and Luke Glendening in the box with two minutes each for roughing. Actually, it sent them to the dressing room since there were only 56.7 seconds left.

At the end of the second, the shots were 22-11 Detroit, the score 3-1 San Jose.

The third period rolled along without penalties or additional scoring. The Sharks only got credit for three shots during the period, but they limited the Red Wings to just six in the period.

With their goaltender pulled and 1:52 left in the game, the Red Wings closed the gap. With all of the Sharks and a couple of Red Wings lined up in the slot, Tomas Tatar passed the puck to Jakub Kindl at the point. Kindle passed it along the blue line to Teemu Pulkkinen, who slapped it into the top corner. Assists went to Kindl and Tatar. After that, the Sharks pushed back a little harder and tried, unsuccessfully, for the empty net.

Final score: 3-2 Sharks.

None of the Sharks had more than two shots, and those with two were Brent Burns, Tommy Wingels and Matt Nieto. Justin Braun and Melker Karlsson led the team in hits with four each. Marc-Edouard Vlasic led the team in ice time with 26:54.

Pavel Datsyuk led the Red Wings in shots with four. Dylan Larkin and Justin Abdelkader led the Red Wings in hits with four apiece. Jimmy Howard made 11 saves on 14 shots.

The Sharks next play on Saturday at 4:00 PT in Buffalo against the Sabres.