Detroit looked tired in the first period. Maybe it was the game seven. It looked like only half the team was ready at puck drop. So, the first couple shifts were OK. But after a few minutes it started to show. Before they knew it they were chasing the Sharks all over the ice, eventually taking dumb penalties and letting the Sharks have their way on offense. It was 3-0 in a blink.
Overall, the Red Wings played a decent game. If it weren't for those first 10 minutes, Detroit may have been able to win this game 3-1.
I wouldn't worry about this if you're a Wings fan. They gave San Jose a good battle. They didn't collapse after the three early goals they gave up on the road. The Wings showed a lot of poise and determination.
This series will be interesting.
I hate to single out certain players in a close game like this. However, Valtteri Filppula had one of the worst games I have seen him have in a while. It shows how valuable this guy is to the team. If he isn't on his game, the Red Wings are much worse. He is the bread and butter for this offense. He's a two-way force. He has the puck a lot, and when he doesn't he's usually right there to steal it. He played below his game Thursday. He was giving up the puck in the neutral zone. He took a couple out-of-character penalties. I'm not saying he was the reason they lost, but he definitely didn't help much.
Like I said, this just shows how vital Filppula is to this line up. I expect he'll come out flying on Sunday. The team can't afford to have him off his game.
Jimmy Howard played a great game, again. The Red Wings defense will have to adjust to this high-powered Sharks lineup. Quite frankly, I think they did a good job of adjusting as the game went on. I mean, San Jose only scored one time after the first period three-goal rally.
Howard won't be able to stop the cross-crease passes and behind the net feeds. Those are difficult stops for any goalie. The defense is responsible for anything coming from behind the net or the corner. The first three San Jose goals were exactly that - passes from behind the goal or from the corner.
I repeat, overall I thought this was a solid effort from Detroit. No one wants to get down 3-0 early on the road. However, you won't see a team do a much better job than Detroit did to weather the storm and give themselves a chance to win.
This game could have been a statement for San Jose. They could have put a big hurting on the Wings. But the Wings stopped it. Made it a game.