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Sharks Defense Takes Game 2

Defensive Core Scores Two, Shuts Down Detroit's Attack

Sunday, 05.01.2011 / 7:59 PM / News
By Alison High  - Staff Writer
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Sharks Defense Takes Game 2
San Jose Sharks defenseman Niclas Wallin, of Sweden, left, celebrates his go ahead goal with teammate Ian White (9) against the Detroit Red Wings during the third period in Game 2 of an NHL Western Conference semifinal Stanley Cup playoff hockey series game in San Jose, Calif., Sunday, May 1, 2011. San Jose won 2-1. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
The Sharks defensive core stole the show in Game 2 on Sunday afternoon – netting two tallies from the blueline and holding Detroit’s high-powered offense to only one goal in the victory.

Defensive partners Ian White and Niclas Wallin each scored their first goals of the postseason on shots from the point, while also leading the team in blocked shots (4) with fellow defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

“I thought we played a really good hockey game today,” said Wallin. “We played well in front of our net and didn’t give up that many second chances.”

“The White-Wallin pairing has really been great for us on the defensive side and tonight on the offensive side as well,” said Sharks defenseman Jason Demers.

The Sharks were able to hold the Red Wings to 34 shots in Game 2 while killing off five of Detroit’s six power play opportunities. Although Wallin admitted the Sharks “took too many penalties” on Sunday, they were able to hold Detroit scoreless for 53 minutes – which included one four-minute penalty kill in the first period.

Prior to the game, the Sharks talked extensively about how to shut down the Red Wings.

“We needed to have good changes,” said Demers. “We stressed not getting caught out there because they feed on turnovers and they feed on not giving us a lot of time in our own zone. We had to be quick and hard on them – you can’t give them too much time. We know that and we respect them. We did a good job doing that tonight.”

San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi (31), of Finland, defends the goal as Detroit Red Wings right wing Daniel Cleary (11) shoots in the first period in Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Western Conference semifinal in San Jose, Calif., Sunday, May 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi had a huge game for San Jose. The Finnish netminder had 33 saves in the victory and was impressed with the two-way play of his team.

“I think we played really solid in both ends and we just have to keep working hard,” said Niemi. “We played really strong in front of the net. When they (Detroit) had the chance, they had to shoot it and they didn’t get too many rebounds.”

Detroit’s leading scorer in the postseason, Pavel Datsyuk, was held to only two shots on goal in Sunday’s game, while their second leading scorer, Valtteri Filppula had four. That total would have been higher, but the Sharks were able to block two of Datsyuk’s shots as well as two of Filppula’s. San Jose finished the game with 24 blocked shots.

“They’re a scoring team,” said Demers about Detroit. “They’re an offensive team and Nemo’s done a great job and so has the defense. I think frustration is going to set in on them.”

In his postgame press conference, Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan praised his defense, but admitted that they’re up for a tougher challenge when they enter Joe Louis Arena.

“I’m happy that our defense is contributing,” said McLellan. “I’m happy that they’re finding ways to get pucks to the net. That task is going to be even tougher when we get to Detroit.”

NEXT GAME
The Sharks will depart for Detroit on Monday and play Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals on Wednesday, May 3 at 5:00 PM (Pacific). The game will be broadcast on CSNCA-HD, KFOX 98.5/102.1 FM and SJSHARKS.com.


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AWAY
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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 82 41 38 23 79
J. Thornton 82 11 65 20 76
P. Marleau 82 33 37 0 70
L. Couture 65 23 31 21 54
B. Burns 69 22 26 26 48
T. Wingels 77 16 22 11 38
D. Boyle 75 12 24 -8 36
J. Demers 75 5 29 14 34
T. Hertl 37 15 10 11 25
M. Nieto 66 10 14 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Stalock 12 5 2 .932 1.87
A. Niemi 39 17 7 .913 2.39
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