Joe Thornton must continue to put up numbers to kill all the choking jokes, but Sharks fans must feel good about his first two games against Detroit. In Game 1, Thornton supplied a sweet assist. In tonight’s game, Jumbo Joe scored the game winner off of a Dany Heatley rebound. It was a rare moment of sublime luck for the Sharks, as the 3-on-1 happened because Nicklas Lidstrom broke his stick and therefore turned over the puck.
San Jose Sharks 4, Detroit Red Wings 3 (recap)
Sharks lead series 2-0
If you told a hockey fan that some right-hander with a number 8 on his jersey would evoke Mario Lemieux’s name during the playoffs, that person would have logically named Alex Ovechkin. Instead, that player is Joe Pavelski. The American forward is the first player to produce three consecutive multi-goal playoff games since Super Mario did it in 1992. Last week, I shared my disapproval of the nickname “Joe Pa” because it’s obviously meant for the legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. Now I think we’ll have a better nickname: Joe Paid. After all, his amazing playoff performance is coming up right in time for restricted free agency.
As much as the Detroit Red Wings stuck with the Sharks, they’re down 2-0 going back to Joe Louis Arena. You really cannot blame the deficit on Jimmy Howard, who made some big saves to keep Detroit in tonight’s game. His glove save on Pavelski was particularly splendid, keeping Joe Paid from netting a hat trick.
One area the Red Wings need to work on is avoiding penalties. The Sharks had 10 opportunities overall and scored twice, including Pavelski’s game-tying goal. Perhaps the Red Wings’ last minute gaffe was symbolic, as the team took a Too Many Men on the Ice penalty while trying to get Howard off the ice.
This series has been great so far and skeptics will quickly point out the fact that the Sharks have squandered 2-0 leads before. After all, a home team hasn’t lost yet, so this battle is far from over. For hockey fans, that might be a good thing, as these two squads are playing some amazing hockey.