Series (Game 4 of 4)

Detroit leads 2-1

Game 1: Thursday, October 4th
Red Wings4Final
Game 2: Friday, December 21st
Red Wings3
Game 3: Wednesday, January 23rd
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Game 4: Saturday, April 6th
Red Wings3Final

Red Wings 3

(51-16-3, 114 pts)

Sharks 6

(42-25-3, 95 pts)

10:30 PM ET, April 6, 2002

SAP Center, San Jose, California

1 2 3 T
DET 1 1 13
SJ 1 4 16

P. Marleau (Sharks - C): Goals: 3, Assists: 0

O. Nolan (Sharks - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 2

S. Hannan (Sharks - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

Marleau records first hat trick in rout of Wings

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- The San Jose Sharks can't catch up to the Detroit Red Wings, so they sent a message instead.

Patrick Marleau

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' captain. 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 season.

"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."

Rookie Jason Williams scored two goals for the Red Wings, who played without seven regulars. Tomas Holmstrom also scored for Detroit.

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 both teams.

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 them."

With Dominik Hasek, Nicklas Lidstrom, Steve Yzerman, Chris Chelios, Luc Robitaille, Pavel Datsyuk and Fredrik Olausson all out of the lineup, the Red Wings were a shadow of the NHL's best team.

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 seven starts.

Game notes

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