Cullen: Wings even series, Sharks on the board

Scott Cullen
5/19/2013 12:54:58 AM
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The Detroit Red Wings evened their series with the Chicago Blackhawks and the San Jose Sharks got back into their series with an OT win over the Los Angeles Kings. Scott Cullen has stas and notes from Saturday night's NHL playoff action.

The Detroit Red Wings stormed back in Game Two of their series with the Chicago Blackhawks, winning 4-1, to earn a split of the first two games in Chicago.

Detroit outshot Chicago 30-20, which was a rare occurrence this year. Chicago was held to 20 or fewer shots once all season (19 shots on goal in a 3-2 shootout win at Calgary, February 2) and was outshot by 10 on home ice, once this year (25-36 vs. Los Angeles, March 25). Any loss at home for this Blackhawks team stands out as rare, as they had three regulation losses at home all season.

Red Wings LW Henrik Zetterberg was the initiator for the Detroit attack, assisting on Detroit's second and fourth goals and tying for the team lead with four shots on goal.

Red Wings RW Justin Abdelkader also had four shots on goal, had a team-high five hits and had the best possession numbers for Detroit in Game Two. (Strangely enough, Zetterberg's possession numbers were worst for the Wings.) The line of Abdelakader, Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen controlled play despite facing the defence tandem of Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson.

At no point should the Blackhawks have expected that this series was going to be easy and, after losing decisively on home ice, that seems assured.

A couple of additional Blackhawks centre notes:

C Jonathan Toews was held off the scoresheet again and he has no goals and three assists in seven playoff games and C Dave Bolland, in his second game of the postseason, was minus-2 with six penalty minutes, giving him 10 penalty minutes in two games.

Sharks C Logan Couture, who missed time earlier in the game with an apparent ankle injury, scored on the power play in overtime to give the San Jose Sharks a 2-1 Game Three win over the Los Angeles Kings, cutting the Kings' series lead to 2-1.

L.A. rookie RW Tylor Toffoli scored the Kings' only goal, the second straight game in which he's recorded a point and the second straight game in which he's played more than 12 minutes. Given how effective Toffoli has been, he could handle more responsibility.

LW Tanner Pearson made his NHL debut for the Kings, playing a modest 5:44. Pearson had 47 points and a plus-17 rating in 64 games for Manchester of the AHL this season.

Sharks C Joe Thornton had one of the assists on the game-winning goal but, along with linemates Brent Burns and T.J. Galiardi, had an outstanding game when it came to puck possession, primarily getting the best of Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Dwight King for Los Angeles.

San Jose got RW Martin Havlat back from injury, after he missed the previous five games, only to lose him again after he played 4:52. It was good while it lasted.

Neither team is likely too enamoured with the officiating in this series, from the Sharks outlining their disagreement Raffi Torres' suspension, to the Sharks getting burned for two late power play goals in Game Two, to the Sharks getting a 5-on-3 to start overtime in Game Three, scoring shortly after the first penalty had expired.

In the end, it won't much matter what the teams feel about the officiating.

The Kings are leaning heavily on G Jonathan Quick and he's been great, stopping 101 of 106 shots (.953 SV%) through three games, but after San Jose outshot Los Angeles 40-27, giving the Sharks an average 9.0 shot advantage through the first three games, the Kings have to take more territorial control if they are going to close out the Sharks. Either that, or keep letting Quick stand on his head.

Scott Cullen can be reached at and followed on Twitter at For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.


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