Datsyuk, Red Wings spoil McLellan’s return to Detroit

DETROIT (Ticker) — San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan received
his Stanley Cup ring before the game. He didn’t have much to
celebrate after that.

Pavel Datsyuk scored two goals and set up two others and Marian
Hossa had a goal and an assist as the Detroit Red Wings cruised
to a 6-0 victory over the Sharks on Thursday.

“We weren’t better than them in any aspect of the game,”
McLellan said. “We weren’t better than them in goal, we weren’t
better than them in the battles in the corners, our specialty
teams weren’t better. Just flat out, they were better in every

McLellan, however, did believe that San Jose could benefit from
its worst loss of the season.

“This may help us in the long run,” McLellan said. “We know
that we’ve got a ways to go. We can come down a little off our
perch. Everybody can look at each other and understand we’ve
got some work to do. It’s a humbling experience, but they are
the champs for a reason and we know how far we have to go to
catch up.”

Ty Conklin made 24 saves to post his second shutout of the
season for the Red Wings, who have won six of their last eight

Johan Franzen, Valtteri Filppula and defenseman Brad Stuart also
tallied for Detroit, which trails only San Jose in the Western
Conference standings.

An assistant coach on the Red Wings’ 2007-08 championship squad,
McLellan was hired as the Sharks’ head coach this offseason. He
has led San Jose (25-4-3) to one of the best starts in NHL
history, collecting 53 out of a possible 62 points entering this

The Sharks dominated the early portion of the first period, but
momentum was turned on Franzen’s goal with 5:29 left. Datsyuk
doubled the advantage 87 seconds later and the rout was on.

“We’d like to think the first goal had nothing to do with it,
but I think it did,” Nabokov said. “It broke us apart. That
first goal changed he momentum and changed everything. It was
such an easy shot. I thought I had it in my glove.”

Datsyuk, who notched his 10th goal of the campaign in the third
period, snapped a 10-game goalless streak.

“(Tomas) Kopecky had a good middle drive,” Datsyuk said. “He
fed me in the middle and Hossa had the defenseman in front of
the net. My shot was on the rise. I was so happy for that

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Hossa scored his team-leading 17th goal of the season at 9:18 of
the middle session to extend the Red Wings’ lead to 3-0.

After third-period goals by Filppula and Datsyuk just over five
minutes apart, Stuart provided the final margin, scoring his
first goal of the season with 3:31 remaining in the contest. It
was his first goal in 35 games.

Conklin turned aside nine shots in the first period, five more
in the next and 10 in the third to complete his sixth career
shutout. It was the second time the Sharks had been blanked
this season.

“We were really good in our own end, especially from the midway
mark of the first period on,” Conklin said. “I don’t know if we
gave up an odd-man rush all night. I can’t remember one. When
you’re doing that, you’re going to be successful a lot of

“We’ve had some letdowns in our own zone and, tonight, I thought
we played the way we wanted to play, the way you have to play
against the top teams in the league,” captain Nicklas Lidstrom
said. “I thought we played defense first and then we took care
of the offense.”

Both Conklin and Detroit coach Mike Babcock admitted that it
wasn’t difficult for the Red Wings to get ready for the Sharks.

“They’re on top of the conference and on top of the league and
that’s where we want to be, so we took this game as a little bit
of a measuring stick,” Conklin said.

“Any time you play a good team and you’re a good team yourself,
they help you get ready,” Babcock said. “You get a good positive

Evgeni Nabokov made 22 saves for San Jose, which lost
back-to-back contests for the second time this season.

“We can use the excuse that we had three games in four nights,
but that’s just an excuse,” San Jose’s Ryane Clowe said.

“It’s just embarrassing to play these guys – like we’re happy
with ourselves. They picked up their game and we sat back and
watched. Sure, they got a couple of goals, but you’ve got to
stick with it.”