A few thoughts on Thursday night's 6-0 Red Wings win over the San Jose Sharks...
The same excuses the Wings had when they lost in San Jose at the end of October apply for the Sharks this time around, so while there are plenty of good things the Wings did, some of it can be written off as the Sharks being tired. San Jose was at the end of a long road trip, having played extra time the night before.
This was Detroit's first 60-minute effort since their 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks on December 1. They were a little slow early but not outright asleep like they've appeared as of late. Ty Conklin made some key saves early and the Wings' defense wasn't as passive as it's been.
The Red Wings made smarter passes in their own zone and it led to a better transition game. In general, Detroit as a team played better positionally. They were where they needed to be to pounce on loose pucks and to slow up San Jose's offensive breaks.
Speaking of breaks, the first two goals were absolute gifts from Evgeni Nabokov. He flat-out missed Johan Franzen's shot for the first goal and should have had Pavel Datsyuk's attempt a few minutes later.
Credit the Wings for not resting on their laurels after those two goals. They kept pushing and the final four goals were the more Wing-like goals they haven't been getting as many of this year, ones generated by driving the net (Valtteri Filppula's goal), nice passing (Pavel Datsyuk to Marian Hossa) and contributions from the defense (Brad Stuart).
I'm a little surprised that Todd McLellan kept Nabokov in for the whole game. I probably would have pulled him at 4-0. I don't think that would have made a difference but it seems to show that the Sharks were resigned to losing at that point already so the goalie switch wouldn't have made a difference.
These were two points the Red Wings needed and it'll give the national media something to talk about but the next two times these teams meet will be better "measuring stick" games as both teams should be better-rested than the first two matchups this season.