By Michael Caples –
DETROIT – The Red Wings picked up a point Thursday evening at Joe Louis Arena.
But they sure could have used two.
Detroit and San Jose played to a 2-2 tie through 65 minutes of hockey, only for the Sharks to prevail in the shootout after goals from Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau.
“Well of course we’re disappointed that we couldn’t get the two points tonight,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said after the game. “I think we had a terrible first period, but after that we came back good, and it was a, you know, a hard-fought game. I think both teams played desperate, and unfortunately we couldn’t really finish it off when we had the chances there in the end.”
Justin Abdelkader and Jakub Kindl scored for the Red Wings to help them overcome a first period in which they gave up a shorthanded goal and were outshot 11-5.
“Yeah I didn’t think we were very competitive in the first period, didn’t win enough battles,” coach Mike Babcock said. “I thought we won a lot of battles and competed hard in the second and third period, gave ourselves a chance to win, you know, if you’ve been watching us, you know how we score. We don’t score that good, so we just have to keep grinding … I thought we put a good effort in, we’d like to have two points, we got one point, and we’ve got another game tomorrow. We’ll get on the flight, get something in us, and get ready to go.”
The Red Wings are now 19-15-6 on the season. Coming into Thursday’s contest, they held a one-point lead over Phoenix for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Jimmy Howard stopped 28 of the 30 shots he faced on the night.
Both teams were 1-4 on the power play.
Marleau opened the scoring just 2:35 into the contest, when the Sharks’ veteran forward buried a pass from Joe Pavelski on a shorthanded two-on-one rush for San Jose.
It would take more than a period worth of hockey for the Red Wings to respond, until Abdelkader scored off a behind-the-net feed from Johan Franzen. It was the eighth goal of the season for the Muskegon native, and it reenergized a stagnant Joe Louis Arena crowd.
Kindl gave the Red Wings a 2-1 lead when he fired in a cross-ice pass from captain Henrik Zetterberg during a Detroit power play early in the third period.
Just 1:31 later, Couture grabbed a rebound in front of Howard and fired a backhander over the Red Wings’ goaltender to tie the game at two.
Both teams had a single shot on goal during the overtime period, but neither found of the back of the net.
Datsyuk scored on the first shootout attempt of the night, but Damien Brunner and Gustav Nyquist were stopped by San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi.