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Detroit 3, San Jose 2
Posted: Wednesday October 30, 2002 01:46 AM
San Jose Sharks
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Detroit Red Wings
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DETROIT (Ticker) -- With Halloween two days away, the San Jose Sharks made an early visit to a house that continuously haunts them. And the result was no different.

Sergei Fedorov's power-play goal snapped a tie 2:12 into the third period and led the Detroit Red Wings to a 3-2 victory over the Sharks.

Entering the game with a 2-18-1 regular-season record at Joe Louis Arena, the Sharks looked to earn goaltender Evgeni Nabokov his first win since ending his holdout.

But with Detroit on a 5-on-3 power play, Fedorov blasted a slap shot from the top of the right faceoff circle that snuck between Nabokov's pads to give Detroit a 3-2 lead.

"I'm not saying this just because I'm the coach of this team, but I've got to wonder how the fourth or fifth least-penalized team is leading the league in 5-on-3s against," San Jose coach Darryl Sutter said. "I have so much respect for the Detroit Red Wings, but they have three or four guys talking to the official on every whistle, and the young officials bought into it."

"They're tough enough to kill a 5-on-4 against, never mind a 5-on-3," Sharks captain Owen Nolan said. "When you give a team like Detroit, that has so much talent and knows how to move the puck so well, it's tough to defend."

The goal was Fedorov's second of the game and league-leading eighth of the season. The 32-year-old Russian has five goals in his last two home games and has tallied four times in two contests against San Jose this season.

"Playing with great players, that really helps," Fedorov said. "Tonight, I scored both goals on the power play and I was just in the right place at the right time."

"He's using his creativity, his stride and speed," Detroit coach Dave Lewis said. "He's also played tremendous defensively. Sergei has also taken a leadership role and he's getting the ice time that he thrives on."

Rookie Jason Williams scored the other goal for the Red Wings, while goaltender Curtis Joseph made 18 saves to post his 350th NHL victory.

The win also was Joseph's 25th against the Sharks, the most by any opposing goaltender.

"There's really not much to that," Joseph said. "There have been a lot of different teams with a lot of different players. They're a great team and they're going to get better, you know that. We played this team early and I can tell you, they can play much better."

"He's an incredible talent," Fedorov said. "It's hard to know just how great he is until you play on the same team with him."

Nolan scored both goals for San Jose, which fell to 8-32-4-1 all-time against Detroit.

Fedorov gave the Red Wings a lead 8:11 into the contest, firing a one-timer from the left circle past Nabokov off a feed from Igor Larionov. The power-play tally gave Detroit at least one goal with the man advantage in every game this season.

"Igor made a great pass and I just wanted to get it on the net," Fedorov said. "We've been working hard on our play and making an effort not to get penalized."

Nolan tied it at 2:41 of the second, flipping a shot from the slot past Joseph, but Williams' backhander from the doorstep 3 1/2 minutes later regained the lead for Detroit.

"Right now, I'm just trying to play smart and do the little things right," Williams said. "I played with Pavel (Datsyuk) and Luc (Robitaille) before and we seem to work well together down low. We find each other and get scoring chances. You know Pavel will create chances just by his dipsy-doodling, and then he'll get you the puck."

With defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom in the penalty box for high-sticking, San Jose drew even again. Defenseman Bryan Marchment ripped a shot from the left point that Nolan deflected from the right edge of the crease for his second goal of the game and third of the season.

A preseason favorite to reach the Stanley Cup Finals, San Jose has struggled out of the gates with a 3-6-0 record.

"Even the teams that didn't play well last year are stepping up and improving their game," Nolan said. "There isn't a night when you can have a night off and get an easy two points. Every game is a battle, especially playing Detroit. You have to be ready to play them a full three periods."

"We have the strength to come back, but we're not just shrugging it off as a tough start," Sharks center Mike Ricci said. "Everybody has to be better. We can't say we'll get them next time. It's too tight a conference for anyone in this dressing room to believe that we'll just turn it around. We've got to do it in a hurry."