Datsyuk, Red Wings spoil McLellan's return to Detroit - The Hockey News on Sports Illustrated

Datsyuk, Red Wings spoil McLellan's return to Detroit

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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

situation."

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

contests.

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

one.

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

one."

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

times."

"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

effort."

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."

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