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Sharks Defense Takes Game 2

Defensive Core Scores Two, Shuts Down Detroit's Attack

Sunday, 05.1.2011 / 4:59 PM PT / 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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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 82 37 33 12 70
L. Couture 82 27 40 -6 67
J. Thornton 78 16 49 -4 65
B. Burns 82 17 43 -9 60
P. Marleau 82 19 38 -17 57
T. Wingels 75 15 21 -7 36
T. Hertl 82 13 18 -5 31
M. Nieto 72 10 17 -12 27
M. Karlsson 53 13 11 -3 24
M. Vlasic 70 9 14 12 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 31 23 7 .914 2.59
A. Stalock 8 9 2 .902 2.62
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