Red Wings-Sharks: Wings Might Have Dominated but Tired Legs Led to Game One Loss

Thomas KnappContributor IApril 29, 2010

SAN JOSE, CA - APRIL 29:  Rob Blake #4 of the San Jose Sharks and Valtteri Filppula #51 of the Detroit Red Wings go for the puck in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at HP Pavilion on April 29, 2010 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

This was a game that the Red Wings could have written off before they even took the ice in San Jose.

Forty-eight hours removed from the end of a seven-game series with Phoenix, not even enough time to return home, and against a fairly rested San Jose squad, there was every reason to call this game a loss from the start and save it for Sunday.

This was a game they could have written off when the Sharks took advantage in the first period, scoring three goals in the span of a minute and a half. But, to their credit, despite what must have been every bone and muscle in their bodies protesting, they didn't write this game off. 

They fought back, cutting the score to 3-2. Then, after a valiant five-on-three penalty kill still resulted in a goal for the Sharks, they cut it to a one-goal game again.

No matter what the Wings may tell you, they were worn out with the short turnover time between series.  It was obvious as they were sluggish coming out of faceoffs and slow to move on the attack and respond to the Sharks' attack. 

The penalty that led to the five-on-three power play was a classic "tired" penalty, a slash from a player that simply couldn't will his body to keep up.

But they gave it all they could despite the fatigue. Even if they came up short, it's a good sign for the Wings for the rest of the series.

After all, if the Sharks had to fight and scrape out a win against a clearly drained opponent, what's going to happen when the Wings get some time to recover and come back on Sunday?

To the Sharks' credit, their special teams were every bit as advertised. Their power play was precise and their penalty kill suffocating. 

No matter their history of playoff collapses, San Jose was the top seed in the conference for a reason, and a major reason for that was their ability to score on power plays and preventing scores for opponents.

Perhaps the Wings can thank The Eagles, whose booking of the HP Pavilion will give them that extra day to soothe their weary bodies. Come Sunday, we will see if that is the extra edge the Wings need to tie the series heading to Detroit.

If Game One was any indication, it will be.