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Sharks find correct formula

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The defensemen are scoring, the high-scoring forwards are working in the defensive zone and Antti Niemi is playing the way he did when he knocked San Jose out of the playoffs a year ago.

That added up to another win for the Sharks.

Ian White and Niclas Wallin scored their first goals of the postseason and Niemi made 33 saves in a 2-1 victory over Detroit on Sunday that gave San Jose a 2-0 series lead.

Niemi, who led Chicago's sweep of San Jose in last season's West final, helped kill two early penalties, including a double-minor.

"We like him on our side a lot better," wing Dany Heatley said. "He's a steady guy. He makes the saves he should make. And he makes a lot of saves he shouldn't make."

Wallin's goal was just his fourth in 83 playoff games.

"I'm not that kind of guy (who scores a lot)," he said. "But I can shoot the puck, too. Just let it go and see what happens; a lucky bounce."

Last season, the Sharks eliminated the Red Wings in five games in the West semifinals. While Detroit could blame a lack of rest for falling into a 3-0 hole then (following a seven-game first-round series), it was well-rested this time after sweeping Phoenix.

The Red Wings finally broke through with a power-play goal by Henrik Zetterberg with 6:02 left. But they couldn't get the equalizer, the best chance coming when Nicklas Lidstrom hit the post late.

"We weren't good enough," said coach Mike Babcock, whose team has lost 10 of 12 to San Jose overall. "They won more battles than we did. By doing that, they end up with the puck more times than we do.

"They held serve at home. We have to lick our wounds on the flight home."

Sharks 1 0 1 2
Red Wings 0 0 1 1
Sharks 1 0 1 2
Red Wings 0 0 1 1

First Period1, San Jose, I. White 1 (Heatley, Clowe), 4:54 (pp). PenaltiesClowe, SJ (roughing), :59; Abdelkader, Det (high-sticking), 3:11; Ferriero, SJ, double minor (high-sticking), 6:23; Bertuzzi, Det (roughing), 16:08; Vlasic, SJ (roughing), 16:08; Zetterberg, Det (high-sticking), 17:27.

Second PeriodNone. PenaltiesHolmstrom, Det (holding), 2:27; Pavelski, SJ (interference), 3:29; Bertuzzi, Det (roughing), 6:36; Eager, SJ (roughing), 6:36; Eager, SJ, misconduct, 8:37; Rafalski, Det (delay of game), 9:33.

Third Period2, San Jose, Wallin 1 (Clowe, Couture), 1:39. 3, Detroit, Zetterberg 1 (Datsyuk, Holmstrom), 13:58 (pp). PenaltiesThornton, SJ (interference), 2:50; Holmstrom, Det (roughing), 3:27; Setoguchi, SJ (slashing), 13:22. Shots on GoalDetroit 12-9-13—34. San Jose 7-19-11—37. Power-play opportunitiesDetroit 1 of 6; San Jose 1 of 5. GoaliesDetroit, Howard 4-2-0 (37 shots-35 saves). San Jose, Niemi 5-2-0 (34-33). A17,562 (17,562).

Flyers: Coach Peter Laviolette, who has used three goaltenders this postseason, declined to reveal who will start tonight's Game 2 against the Bruins. In Saturday's Game 1, Brian Boucher allowed five goals before being replaced by Sergei Bobrovsky, who hadn't played since being pulled in Game 2 of the first round. Michael Leighton also has seen action, including starting Game 6 against Buffalo.

Late Saturday: Matt Halischuk scored with 5:09 left in the second overtime as the visiting Predators evened their series with a 2-1 victory over the Canucks. Ryan Suter forced overtime for Nashville, sending a shot from behind the goal line off goalie Roberto Luongo and into the net with 1:07 left in regulation. Pekka Rinne made 18 of his 32 saves in overtime for the Predators. Then Nick Spaling took Suter's entry pass and fed the puck cross-ice to Halischuk, who snapped a shot over a sprawling defender and Luongo's glove.

Sharks find correct formula 05/01/11 [Last modified: Sunday, May 1, 2011 9:39pm]
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