Game notes: Sharks vs. Red Wings, Game 5

463980.jpg

Game notes: Sharks vs. Red Wings, Game 5

May 8, 2011

SHARKS PAGE SHARKS VIDEO
NHL STANDINGS NHL SCOREBOARD

Sharks lead best-of-seven series, three games to one

Starting Goalies

Antti Niemi (3.11 GAA, .900 SP) allowed four goals in Game 4, tying his highest figure of this postseason. It was his first career loss at Joe Louis Arena.

Jimmy Howard, whose 2.55 goals-against average and .921 save percentage are still more than respectable, will remain in net for the Red Wings.

Previous Games

For the second consecutive season, the Sharks held a 3-0 series advantage over the Red Wings in the second round. And for the second straight season, the Sharks were unable to put Detroit away in Game 4.

The Sharks rallied from a 3-0 deficit on Friday behind goals from Logan Couture, Dan Boyle and Dany Heatley. But Darren Helm's tally with 1:27 remaining kept Detroit alive in the series. Nicklas Lidstrom had two early goals for the Red Wings, while Todd Bertuzzi also scored.

Whos Hot

Ryane Clowe had three assists on Friday and now has five assists in the last three games. Boyle has two goals and three assists in the first four games vs. Detroit. Douglas Murray led the Sharks with four hits in Game 4.

Lidstrom, still on top of his game at age 41, already has four goals in this series. Henrik Zetterberg has four assists in his last two games. Justin Abdelkader registered five hits on Friday night to pace the Red Wings.

Storylines

The longer this series goes on, the more pressure will fall on the Sharks' shoulders. Only three teams in NHL history have come back from a 3-0 series deficit. The Red Wings certainly have the talent to win four straight against the Sharks, but for San Jose - a team with championship aspirations - it will be critical to end this series as quickly as possible.

Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Clowe are among the Sharks who have yet to score in this series. Sure, San Jose is up 3-1, but a little more offense from this trio couldn't hurt.

The Sharks are a perfect 5-0 this postseason when scoring first. In Game 4, they allowed three goals in the first period to dig themselves into a quick 3-0 hole. San Jose is also 5-0 in overtime this postseason.

BREAKING: Giants sign Pablo Sandoval to minor league deal

BREAKING: Giants sign Pablo Sandoval to minor league deal

SAN FRANCISCO — Three years after departing for what he thought would be a better fit, Pablo Sandoval has returned. 

The third baseman, a key cog in the dynasty the Giants built earlier this decade, re-signed with the organization on a minor league deal on Saturday morning. Sandoval will join Class-A San Jose immediately and move on to Triple-A Sacramento on Tuesday. He was in the AT&T Park clubhouse on Saturday to take a physical. 

Sandoval, now 30 years old, spent the first seven years of his career in San Francisco, batting .294 with 106 homers amid battles with his weight and inconsistency. The Giants never quite got on the same page with Sandoval when it came to his conditioning, and he alternated between being a valued power hitter in the middle of their lineup and sitting on the verge of being replaced. 

In Boston, there were no such highs. Sandoval played just 161 games over three seasons, batting .237 with 14 homers, and playing poor defense. He posted a negative Wins Above Replacement in all three seasons with the Red Sox and he was designated for assignment last week. Sandoval twice cleared waivers, so the Red Sox are on the hook for the remainder of a five-year, $95 million contract. 

The Giants have not yet commented publicly about Sandoval, citing tampering rules. The view from team employees seems to be that there’s little risk in signing a former fan favorite who comes essentially for free. With Christian Arroyo on the disabled list, Sandoval will not be blocking one of the organization’s top prospects, although you can argue that a last-place team would be better served looking at players like Ryder Jones.

Most players were guarded in their comments this week. Hunter Pence, the lone player mentioned in a positive light by Sandoval in a scathing article after his departure, said he is excited for a reunion. Others offered some version of, “If he helps us win, so be it.” 

It’s unclear if Sandoval can still do that, and multiple team officials, speaking on background this week, said it’s a coin flip whether Sandoval ever returns to the majors. Still, the Giants are willing to flip that coin, and their history says they don't sign veterans and leave them in the minors. 

Giants make roster moves; right-handed bullpen arm, infielder recalled

giants-roster-moves.jpg
USATSI

Giants make roster moves; right-handed bullpen arm, infielder recalled

The Giants announced a quartet of roster moves ahead of Game 3 of their series against the San Diego Padres. 

Albert Suarez and Orlando Calixte have been recalled from triple-A Sacramento while Steven Okert and Jae-Gyun Hwang have been optioned down to triple-A. 

Suarez has missed the entire season with shoulder and calf injuries. 

Calixte has appeared in eight games with the Giants this season. In 29 plate appearences, he has four hits and three runs batted in. 

Hwang hit .167 in his time with the big league club.