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Posted on: 02-25-2009

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    The Red Wings dominated their much anticipated
showdown contest with San Jose and scored a 4-1
Wednesday night victory vs the NHL Western
Conference leading Sharks.
    Detroit closed within three standings points of the
Sharks, although S-Jose stiill has two games in hand on the Wings.  
    The NHL's two top clubs ended up splitting the season series 2-2, all the wins
on home ice. Detroit outscored the Sharks 10-1 in the pair of games at The Joe,
both wins by goalie Ty Conklin, who has won 12 in a row on home ice overall.
    Marian Hossa and Ville Leino gave the Wings a 2-0/1st-Per lead and the magic
wand of Henrik Zetterberg sticked the other two Detroit tallies.
    Hossa would leave the game in the 2nd-Per as a precaution with concussion-
like symptoms not believed to be serious. Hossa was hit in the head by a clean
sandwich check in the neutral zone by a pair of San Jose players.  
    The return to The Joe of Sharks Rt-Wing Claude Lemieux (in his NHL comeback
after a five year absence) was heavily hyped, but had no impact. Detroit's old
enemy was a minus-1 with three SOG in just 5:38 of ice time.
    There were 14 power plays in the chippy game, which saw Detroit's Dan Cleary
run San Jose Capt. Joe Thornton just 2:02 into the evening to draw a boarding
    Hossa (#34) scored on a power play at 6:51/1 when he escaped traffic along the
right sideboards to whip a right circle wrister through the 5-hole of Sharks goalie
Evgeni Nabakov.
    Leino batted a rebound out of mid-air from the left of the net to make it 2-0 at
    A possible momentum changing San Jose marker just 18-sec after Leino's
goal was voided by video review, which could not confirm a scramble had put
the puck all the way across the end red line behind Conklin.
    Although out-shot 12-7 in the first frame, Detroit had a 2-Zip advantage.
    Zetterberg briefly blew the game open 3-0 with a shorthanded goal (#23) at 4:08/2.
Zetterberg took an up-pass from Kris Draper and went on a solo rush, then did a
360-spinaround to sweep the puck under Nakakov.
    Christian Ehrhoff (#7), who helplessly attempted to prevent Zetterberg's
highlight goal, got the Sharks' only marker on a power play slapshot at 6:25/2 to
make the score 3-1.
    The game stayed that way until Zetterberg (#24) did a nifty wraparound tuck
from behind the net for a 5x3 PPG at 17:03/3 to remove any doubt.
    The Sharks out-shot Detroit 35-33, but had their four game win streak stopped.


R-WINGS H-COACH MIKE BABCOCK:   "If we're going to (catch San Jose), we had to
win tonight. In saying that, it was about winning tonight, it wasn't about catching
anybody. We got good goaltending, good specialty teams and found a way to win
against a real good team...There are not many guys who are as good offensively
as Pav that can play defense like Pav can. We're fortunate to have him on our team."

R-WINGS FWD HENRIK ZETTERBERG:   "They're ahead of us. You can't live in the past
...It's the win that counts...For sure, we want the first seed, but it's going to be
tough because they're ahead of us with 21 games left."

R-WINGS GOALIE TY CONKLIN:   "They're a great team...(but) its about what we do
too...We want to be first, everybody does. We're chasing right now...We're playing
real well, with confidence, and maybe that's something we didn't have early in the year."

R-WINGS Rt-WING MARIAN HOSSA:   "(I felt) a little shaky. But I'm going to be fine...
There was nothing wrong with it (the hit by two Sharks players)."

SHARKS H-COACH TODD McLELLAN:   "I've seen Hank do that (wraparound trick) a lot.
He holds on to the puck a little longer than most...The Wings' star players were better
than the Sharks' star players."

SHARKS CEN/CAPT JOE THORNTON:   "It was just a hit (by Cleary). It was just a hit -
from behind."


    After being a healthy scratch for the first time in his NHL career, Draper
returned to the lineup tio get a pair of assists.
    Detroit DEF Brad Stuart was back in action to take a regular turn after
missing the last 14 games with neck, back and rib injuries suffered in a collission
with the end boards.
    Pavel Datsyuk played an unusually physical game with seven hits and added an
assist on Zetterberg's second goal for Pav's 500th career NHL regular season point.
    Conklin is undefeated at JLA since NOV 27TH and is 13-1 at home overall.    
    The Wings were 2-for-7 and the Sharks 1-for-7 on the power play. The clubs
entered the contest as the NHL's two top teams with the extra man.    
    Detroit hosts Los Angeles Friday night when struggling Chris Osgood returns
to play in goal for the first time in ten days. Ozzie served as Conklin's back-up


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