After 20 minutes in San Jose we’ve found out that things are a bit more heated today and that one line of thought holds over from Game 1: If you’re taking a penalty, you’re playing with fire.
Both teams took turns taking careless penalties and while the Red Wings couldn’t get much going on their man advantage thanks to the Sharks pressuring the puck at all times on the kill, the Sharks were able to take advantage of their chances. Ian White’s power play goal at 4:54 of the period, thanks to a careless high sticking penalty by Justin Abdelkader, gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead as his shot found its way through traffic and past Jimmy Howard (six saves).
Antti Niemi played strong in the first as the Wings did something they couldn’t do in Game 1 by pressuring the Sharks offensively. Niemi made 12 saves to keep the Wings off the board and keep things strong. Both teams, however, will have to make sure to stay out of the box. San Jose looked solid on the kill, but they can’t afford to take more because the Wings power play is very good. It hasn’t been good so far in this game as the Wings couldn’t convert on a four-minute double minor by Benn Ferriero as he high sticked Abdelkader later in the first period.
The Wings will need to find a way to make the Sharks uncomfortable with their high pressure defense in the zone and get Antti Niemi rattled in goal. Paging Tomas Holmstrom. San Jose, meanwhile, is doing quite well despite being outshot in the period. They’ll have to improve their 5-on-5 play, however, to ensure Detroit stays down in the game.