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Two down, two to go -- Sharks top Red Wings 2-1

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Two down, two to go -- Sharks top Red Wings 2-1

May 1, 2011

BOX SCORE SHARKS VIDEONHLPAGE NHLSCOREBOARD
SAN JOSE (AP) The defensemen are scoring, the high-scoring forwards are working in the defensive zone, and Antti Niemi played the same way he did when he knocked San Jose out of the playoffs a year ago.That all added up to another win for the Sharks and a 2-0 series lead against the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference semifinals.Ian White and Niclas Wallin scored their first goals of the postseason, Niemi made 33 saves and the Sharks put together a complete performance to beat the Red Wings 2-1 on Sunday. RATTO: Sharks so razor-sharp, even McLellan can't critique
Niemi helped kill off three penalties in the opening half of the first period and came up with countless big saves in the final two periods of perhaps his best playoff game since helping Chicago sweep San Jose in the conference finals a year ago."We like him on our side a lot better," forward Dany Heatley said. "He's a steady guy. He makes the saves he should make; he's in position. And he makes a lot of saves he shouldn't make. He changes games for us sometimes."White scored on a power play in the first period and Wallin extended the lead early in the third period as the Sharks put together two of their best back-to-back games to jump on top of the Red Wings for the second straight year.While Detroit could blame a lack of rest for falling into a 3-0 hole to San Jose a year ago following a seven-game first-round series, the Red Wings were well-rested this year after sweeping Phoenix. But that made no difference against a determined Sharks team that has won 10 of 12 games against Detroit."We weren't good enough," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "They won more battles than we did. By doing that they end up with the puck more times than we do. They held serve at home. We have to lick our wounds on the flight home."Jimmy Howard was again strong for the Red Wings, making 35 saves, but he got little help from his teammates. The Red Wings hope to change their fortunes when the series shifts to Detroit for Games 3 and 4 starting Wednesday night.The Sharks controlled play in the second period and took control of the scoreboard with the rare goal from Wallin early in the third. He skated into the offensive zone and fired a shot that hit off Howard's shoulder and helmet, popped in the air and fell into the net for a 2-0 lead.It was Wallin's fourth goal in 83 postseason games, but the first in regulation."It feels good to score goals," he said. "I'm not that kind of guy, but I can shoot the puck, too. Just let it go and see what happens. A lucky bounce."Detroit's frustration quickly materialized as Tomas Holmstrom took a roughing penalty on Jason Demers to negate a power play, and Niemi kept coming up with the big saves. His best moments came when he stopped Nicklas Lidstrom from the point, and then Danny Cleary and Henrik Zetterberg on rebounds midway through the third.The Red Wings finally broke through with a power-play goal by Zetterberg with 6:02 remaining. They couldn't get the equalizer, with the best chance coming when Lidstrom hit the post late in the period."We just turn around and go home," Lidstrom said. "That's the way you have to approach it. You can't feel sorry for yourself. We have to rebound as a team. It's been two close games and they've got the break each time."Both goalies came up big in a second period that featured plenty of hard hits, scoring chances and animosity that boiled over when San Jose's Ben Eager and Detroit's Todd Bertuzzi fell into the Red Wings bench during a scrum. The two nearly went at it again after serving coincidental roughing penalties, but Bertuzzi didn't respond when Eager dropped his gloves. Eager was given a 10-minute misconduct penalty.
GAME 2 NOTES: Sparks over Pavelski's 'snow showers'
Niemi stopped a short-handed breakaway by Darren Helm early in the period and made two nice stops against Zetterberg on a Detroit power play shortly after that. Niemi also had a tough stop on Zetterberg in the final minute, playing more like the goalie who helped Chicago win the Stanley Cup last season than the one who got pulled twice in the first round against Los Angeles this year."He's spectacular," Sharks captain Joe Thornton said. "He's the reason why we're in this postseason and it feels like every time he's in the net. he gives us a chance to win."Howard was even better in the second and needed to be as the Sharks controlled the play for much of the period, winning two thirds of the faceoffs and outshooting Detroit 19-9.Howard robbed Devin Setoguchi and Dan Boyle midway through the period and made a diving stop on Patrick Marleau at the end of a power play. Even when a puck managed to slip by Howard, the Sharks couldn't score as forward Pavel Datsyuk cleared a loose puck from the goal line after a great effort by Douglas Murray almost led to a goal.The sellout crowd was loud from the start and got more frenzied when the Sharks broke out to a rare early lead this postseason when White beat Howard with a blast through a screen on a power play with Justin Abdelkader in the box for high-sticking.That came after the Red Wings managed just three shots during six minutes with the man advantage in the first 10:23 of the game."We need to find answers," defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. "We have to make adjustments. I don't know what's going on with the power play."Notes: The Red Wings have lost six of their last seven series when falling behind 2-0, with the only win coming in the first round against Vancouver in 2002. ... San Jose had allowed nine straight first-period goals before White's tally.

Shanahan expects 'everyone in our building to be pissed off' after loss to Denver

Shanahan expects 'everyone in our building to be pissed off' after loss to Denver

After a couple of practices and one exhibition game against the Denver Broncos, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan once again came to the realization things are often not as good or bad as they seem.

That was his takeaway a day after the 49ers provided the Broncos with five giveaways to go along with 11 penalties in a 33-14 loss at Levi’s Stadium.

“But when I get in and watch the tape, it wasn’t quite as bad as it felt,” Shanahan said Sunday on a conference call with Bay Area reporters. “When you look at each situation, especially when you talk about the ones on offense, it takes 11 guys to execute a play, and if you have one guy off a little bit, it breaks down.”

A couple of passes that could have been caught, a ball that slipped out of quarterback Brian Hoyer’s hand and some other correctable errors gives Shanahan reason to be optimistic.

When he spoke to the media on Saturday night after the game, Shanahan was clearly upset with how his 90-man team performed. He was asked a day later if it was a relief to watch the film and come to the conclusion that not everything was a total disaster.

“It’s not really relief,” Shanahan quipped. “It’s kind of my life story.

“We put a lot into it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a scrimmage, practice or preseason. I try to compose myself by the time I talk to you guys (the media) after practice. But I’m pretty pissed after practice when it doesn’t go well. We’re competitive guys and we want everything to be perfect. That’s why most of the time I’m not that happy.”

Shanahan said he expects everyone in the organization to hold themselves to the same high standard.

“Whenever you go out to a game like that, you want to win, you want to play well,” he said. “And you turn the ball over like that and you have the penalties that we did, I’m definitely going to be pissed off and I expect everyone in our building to be pissed off. If they’re not, that’s when I would be worried.”

Shanahan said he had the opposite feeling after the practice Wednesday against the Broncos that looked like a decisive win for the 49ers. Upon review, Shanahan said he felt there was still a lot of room for improvement.

“I thought things seemed real good at practice our first day versus them,” he said. “Then, I go in and watch the film and it was good but not quite as good as I felt when I was out there.”

49ers could get presumptive starting free safety back soon

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49ers could get presumptive starting free safety back soon

The 49ers could get their presumptive starting free safety back on the field this week.

Jimmie Ward, who has been on the physically-unable-to-perform list since sustaining a hamstring injury during a conditioning test on the eve of training camp, will go through strenuous workouts Monday and Tuesday.

Ward could be cleared to return to practice as early as Wednesday, when the club is scheduled to hold its next practice.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said Sunday in a conference call with reporters that defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley will will pace him through a football-related workout on Monday and Tuesday.

"Hopefully, we'll get him ready to go by Wednesday," Shanahan said.

The 49ers envision Ward, a first-round draft pick in 2014, as a major contributor in the team’s new 4-3 scheme, which is based on Seattle’s defense. With strong safety Eric Reid playing close to the line of scrimmage, Ward will play the deep safety – a role that Earl Thomas has played for the Seahawks.

In Ward’s absence, undrafted rookie safety Lorenzo Jerome started the 49ers’ first two exhibition games and appears to have played his way into solid position for a spot on the 53-man roster.

"Lorenzo has done a good job," Shanahan said. "I think a couple of times he's ran around and been a ballhawk for us and made some tackles. I thought they caught him a few times out of position last night on a few play-action looks because he's been so aggressive. He's going to have to learn from those, but they never made him pay for those by going outside."

QUICK SLANTS
--The 49ers will have days off on Monday and Tuesday as they settle into their regular-season routine.

--Shanahan said he has been formulating ideas for the game plan against Carolina in Week 1 of the regular season. So as the 49ers play the exhibition games, they are mindful of not showing too much.

"I never get too far away from that," Shanahan said. "Everything we put into a preseason game, you always try to take into account what you’re going to be doing in the regular season."

--Shanahan said he thought No. 1 quarterback Brian Hoyer "did a good job." He said the first throw intended for Vance McDonald over the middle was thrown a little late.

"Besides that, I thought he did a good job with his reads and went to the right spots," Shanahan said.

Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard also was on-point with his reads, Shanahan said.

--Eli Harold got the start Saturday night at outside linebacker position, as he competes with Ahmad Brooks for a job.

"I try to go off what I see in practice," Shanahan said. "You want to know who has more upside, things like that. Who's going to get better throughout the year if given the opportunity? But you also want to know, when it's all said and done, who is going to affect your win-loss record the most. Those are the things I look at personally."

--Former 49ers receiver Anquan Boldin announced his retirement on Sunday. Shanahan never coached him, but he was obviously a big fan.

"I've personally met Anquan or talked to him before, but he has been one of my favorites of all time," Shanahan said. "I love Anquan. I don't know him at all, but I feel like I do because I've always studied how he plays. I remember watching him in college when he came into Florida State as a quarterback and moved quickly to receiver his freshman year.

"And I remember him coming into the league and people thinking he wouldn't be as great because he didn't have a fast 40 time. And watching him play over the years. That's my definition of a football player. He's as violent of a receiver as there is, and I've always truly believed that receivers can really set the mentality of an offense. I feel lineman have no choice, they have to be tough. Running backs, if you're not tough, you're not going to make it in this league because you get hit every play. Quarterbacks got to hang in there. Receivers are the guys who can pick and choose a little bit. And when you have guys who play like Anquan, that just brings a whole different mentality to your offense that I think usually leads to teams that have chances to win Super Bowls."