Patrick Marleau scored three goals, and Owen Nolan had a goal
and two assists as the Sharks jumped into second place in the
Western Conference with a 6-3 victory over Detroit.
With the biggest offensive output by any opponent this season
against the league-leading Red Wings, the Sharks wrapped up a
six-game homestand -- in which they outscored their opponents 29-13
-- with their fourth straight victory.
Sure, Detroit is coasting into the playoffs with several
regulars spending time on the sidelines -- but the Sharks'
convincing victory irritated the Red Wings' veterans and gave hope
to San Jose, which could meet mighty Detroit late in the playoffs.
"We're fighting to get home-ice advantage, and we want teams to
realize it's tough to play in here," said Nolan, the Sharks'
Marleau was spectacular in recording his first career hat trick,
and Vincent Damphousse and Mike Rathje added goals as the Sharks
clinched a playoff berth for the fifth straight season.
Marco Sturm had two assists, and Evgeni Nabokov stopped 31 shots
as San Jose (95 points) moved past Colorado (94 points) into
position for the second seed in the West playoffs. Both teams have
four games remaining.
The Sharks are still 19 points behind Detroit, which clinched
the conference's top spot two weeks ago. But the Red Wings, who
have won just once in their past seven games while resting up for
the playoffs, gave up more than five goals for the first time all
"It's embarrassing. It matters," Brett Hull fumed. "It's not
that you lose. It's how you lose. (It's a) lack of effort, a lack
of commitment to the system. Stupid plays that are not indicative
of the attitude this organization has. We've got to show some
pride, no matter what, and it's not there.
"It's not a red flag, but ... it's time now. Enough's enough.
We've got three games left. Let's play them the way they're
supposed to be played."
The Sharks moved even closer to the first division title in
franchise history. San Jose leads Los Angeles by four points atop
the Pacific Division standings, again with four games remaining for
Marleau, the talented young center who has frustrated the Sharks
with his inconsistent play during his five NHL seasons, is on the
best streak of his career. He scored eight goals and 12 points
during the Sharks' homestand, including two goals late in the
second period to break open a close game.
Marleau swatted Sturm's deflected shot out of mid-air 10 feet
from the net for his second goal, and he completed the hat trick
with a smooth back-hand past Manny Legace on a breakaway late in
the second period.
"I can't pinpoint anything," Marleau said of his surge. "You
go out and work hard and get your chances, and you try to bury
Since clinching the Presidents' Trophy, Detroit has rested
several of its aging stars -- though fans in cities such as San
Jose, where hundreds of Red Wings jerseys fill the stands,
understandably feel short-changed.
Detroit coach Scotty Bowman said Robitaille and the rest of his
missing players -- except Datsyuk -- have minor injuries. Lidstrom
and Datsyuk didn't make the Red Wings' trip to California, while
Yzerman hasn't played since the Olympic break.
"Hasek's our big key," Bowman said. "If we didn't have Hasek,
we'd be right in the pack with all these teams fighting for a
playoff spot. That's how good he's been all year."
Legace, who stopped 26 shots, has won just once in his last
San Jose needs one point in its final four games to improve
its point total for the sixth consecutive season. The Sharks
actually will have improved in seven straight seasons, but the team
doesn't count the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season when listing the
statistic. ... Williams had the first multigoal game of his career.
... Marleau got his breakaway by speeding past Detroit defenseman
Uwe Krupp, who played in his third straight game -- but just his
fifth in more than three seasons after a series of injuries. ...
Sturm's assist on Marleau's second goal gave him a career-best 39
points. Scott Thornton has 39 points -- another career high -- while
Rathje's goal also gave him a career-best 17 points.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: SAP Center Location: San Jose, California
Referees: Kevin Maguire, Dan Marouelli Linesmen: Darren Gibbs, Troy Sartison
Attendance: 17,496 (100.0% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Patrick Marleau (17)
(Power Play) Assists: Mike Ricci, Scott Thornton
Jason Williams (5)
(Power Play) Assists: Brendan Shanahan, Sergei Fedorov
Owen Nolan (21)
(Power Play) Assists: Jeff Jillson, Gary Suter
Vincent Damphousse (20)
Assist: Owen Nolan
Jason Williams (6)
Assists: Darren McCarty, Kirk Maltby
Patrick Marleau (18)
Assist: Marco Sturm
Patrick Marleau (19)
Assist: Marco Sturm
Tomas Holmstrom (8)
(Power Play) Assists: Steve Duchesne, Igor Larionov
Mike Rathje (5)
(Power Play) Assists: Teemu Selanne, Owen Nolan