It was exactly the kind of start that the San Jose Sharks were looking for to start the Western Conference semifinals. Scoring three goals in the first period in a 1:19 span helped get the Sharks in front 3-0, a lead they would hold all game long in beating the Detroit Red Wings 4-3 in Game 1.
Some famous names got on the score sheet while one big name sat out with an illness. The Sharks went into the game with Patrick Marleau a late scratch due to running a fever and fighting off cold symptoms and in his stead, Joe Pavelski, Devin Setoguchi and Dany Heatley would pick up the slack. Pavelski scored twice and added an assist while Devin Setoguchi scored and helped draw the ire of Red Wings supporters in drawing a couple of penalties late in the second period, one of which lead to Pavelski’s power play goal that made the game 4-2.
Detroit’s Brian Rafalski would add a goal in the third period to draw the game within one goal but that’s as close as they would get.For Detroit, it was a quick turnaround after beating Phoenix in Game 7 of the first round on Tuesday night and despite having some issues getting into San Jose, being sluggish certainly can’t be used as a reason for Detroit losing in this one. One of the keys to the game for Detroit was likely to make sure the Sharks didn’t get the jump on them in the opening ten minutes of play and that’s exactly what happened.
Evgeni Nabokov played very well in this game, as did Jimmy Howard for Detroit. Nabokov made 20 saves in the win while Howard made 23 saves in the loss. Game 2 will be Sunday night at 8 pm ET.
Random fun note: College hockey fans will enjoy knowing that three different players from the University of Wisconsin scored in this game. Joe Pavelski, Dany Heatley and Brian Rafalski are all former Badgers.