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Red Wings Game recap...2/2

By: Channing Cummins


The Detroit Red Wings traveled to San Jose for game two of their current five game road trip. For those that had managed to stay awake for the game it proved to be worth while.

For the Wings this was a crucial game on a number of levels. The playoff hunt, an Olympic break and poor play recently were factors that the Wings had faced entering Tuesday's game. The team knew they had to get things going soon if they wanted to turn the ship around and they showed it in San Jose.

The Red Wings welcomed the return of Tomas Holmstrom on Tuesday, who was playing his first game in almost a month. With his return the team is almost completely healthy and just in time to make a late season push.

The first period was a roller coaster ride for both teams. Both teams came out firing the puck and driving the net. It was Joe Thornton who scored the first goal rather than picking up an assist, which he leads the league in. The goal came just over six minutes into the game and gave the Sharks an early lead.

About half way through the first period, the Sharks were able to add another tally to their lead and were off to a strong, quick start. Once again it was Joe Thornton who scored as he was able to clean up a rebound and easily put it into an empty net. At this point things didn't look good for the Wings and it seemed like another long game was in store.

With just over five minutes remaining Valtteri Filppula was able to hook up with Dan Cleary on a bang-bang play to put the Wings on the board. As Filps came from behind the net he was able to find Cleary who was driving the net on the opposite side. Life was now given to the Wings and it would last.

As the first period was winding down the San Jose Sharks took two key penalties, giving the Wings a five on three opportunity late in the period. The Wings would not disappoint as Henrik Zetterberg would add a power play goal to tie the game up. His 14th of the year came off of a Holmstrom rebound that allowed him to tip in an easy goal.

As the two teams began to play the second period it was clear that the coaches wanted to focus more on defense. The two teams cleaned up their play, knowing that either team wanted to be involved in a shootout throughout the game. The Red Wings seemed to begin to swing more momentum their way, however, as they were able to dictate much of the play. They did manage outshoot the Sharks 13-8 at the end of the period, as the two teams entered the locker room in a 2-2 tie.

Ryan Clowe's early boarding penalty allowed the Wings to begin the period on a power play. It was Derek Meech that took advantage of this opportunity and put his team into the lead. The goal was definitely one you should see. Meech received a rebound and took it deep into the zone. As he crossed the red line he was able to bank one in off of Nabokov, about 10-15 feet from the goal.

Nine minutes into the third period Patrick Eaves was able to give the Wings a two goal advantage. Eaves was able to once again take a rebound off of Nabokov and put away an empty netter. This fourth Red Wing's goal proved to be enough as the team cruised to a 4-2 victory. The Wings closed the period outshooting the Sharks 13-10 and finished the game with a 37-34 advantage.

This game provided more than two points for the Red Wings. It gave the team confidence, along with some momentum. On Tuesday night the Red Wings were able to prove that they can battle with just about anyone as they defeated the Western Conference leaders on the road. From top to bottom they played a good game and showed they have what it takes to be a playoff contender. With Franzen's return on the horizon and the rest of the injured players getting more ice time, the Wings should be confident as they finish the year.

Holmstrom was able to provide two assists in his first game back and justified his importance to the team. Zetterberg produced two points of his own with a goal and an assist. Datsyuk's assist on Z's goal gave him his seventh point in the last five games. Hopefully this production will continue and the Wings will be able to take advantage of this.

The main question is going to be focused on consistency. Can the play makers get things going and be consistent? Can Jimmy Howard keep up his amazing run this year? Can the line of Helm, Eaves and Draper keep up their tremendous play as the year starts to dwindle?

The win put the Red Wings into the 8th spot in the conference, tied with the Nashville Predators who occupy the 7th spot. If the Wings can keep up their strong play they will continue to rise up in the rankings. Their strong play will be tested tonight as they take on the Anaheim Ducks in game three of their road trip. This will be a pivotal game for both teams as they both try to climb the charts. The Ducks are currently five points behind the Wings and would love to step up and grab two points for themselves.

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