Thursday, May 6, 2010

Seeing Red

I think what we saw during the 7-1 blowout the Sharks suffered at the hands of the Detroit Franzens was a combination of defensive breakdowns and Evgeni Nabokov not being spectacular. Nabby didn't play poorly, he just did not play amazingly like we've seen him of late. The first four goals of the game happened in such a short span that the Sharks could never recover.

Lets take a look at what happened on the first four. Here's goal 1:
We've seen the Wings get bodies in front of goaltenders when getting shots through right? No surprise here, but we have also seen Nabokov being able to pick up pucks through traffic and making tremendous saves, especially in this series, it just did not happen here.

Onto goal 2:
A defensive breakdown by the Sharks just 2:10 after giving up the first goal puts the Wings up 2-0. You see three sharks converge on the puck-carrying Zetterberg, leaving Franzen wide open in front of the net. His big body and net presence contribute to his first of four goals on the night.

On goal 3 we see a combination of lack of a backcheck and below average goaltending:
At first I thought this was a result of poor gap control by the defense allowing Bertuzzi the amount of space to gain entry into the zone and room to move into the middle of the ice. But if you watch the end of the video, the Sharks defense just completes a line change so Rob Blake was just preventing Bertuzzi from driving wide and on net. The error is on Sharks forwards who get caught at the Wings blueline in transition, and Torrey Mitchell does a poor job backchecking. Instead of keeping his head on swivel and picking up Franzen, the trailer, he commits to the right wing who is already covered by Vlasic allowing Franzen to receive the puck in the slot with speed. It was a great shot by Franzen but I've seen Nabby make saves off shots like that especially when challenging shooters.

Clearly rattled at this point, the Sharks inability to clear pucks out of dangerous areas lead to goal 4:
There was nothing Nabby could do on this goal, no one pick up the rebound which allowed Franzen a follow up to his initial shot on goal.

The Wings did what they had to tonight and the Sharks need to develop amnesia as the series shifts back to San Jose. Game 5 is Saturday night.

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