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.

Brian Hoyer not living his life worried about 49ers possibly drafting a QB

Brian Hoyer not living his life worried about 49ers possibly drafting a QB

Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley are the only two quarterbacks currently on the 49ers' roster.

Is Hoyer operating as if he will be the starter in 2017?

"Yeah for sure. I think that's what I was brought in to do at this point," Hoyer said on KNBR 680 on Wednesday morning. "And the thing that I've learned in this profession, and really in life, is not worry about things you can't control. I can't control who they draft with the second pick tomorrow and I'm not gonna live my life worrying about it."

The 49ers own the second overall pick in the draft and are reportedly strongly considering taking a QB with that selection.

Even if they do, it doesn't mean that player will start from Day 1.

Hoyer worked with 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan in Cleveland during the 2014 season -- he started a career-high 13 games with the Browns and threw for a career-best 3,326 yards.

"I'm gonna go out there and do what I think my job is at this point," Hoyer added. "And I'm gonna do that as long as I can until they tell me it's not my job anymore."

 

Marshawn Lynch excellent fit for Raiders scheme, ailing Oakland fan base

Marshawn Lynch excellent fit for Raiders scheme, ailing Oakland fan base

Marshawn Lynch is a Raider. He announced that fact on Twitter in his own unique way Wednesday, completing a month-long process from initial interest to final signature.

The Raiders gave him a new contract and traded Seattle for his rights, allowing the Oakland Tech High grad and Cal alum to come out of retirement and play for his hometown team.

That’s good news for Raiders fans on several fronts. He fills an immediate need at running back created when Latavius Murray left for Minnesota.

It temporarily tempers, though certainly doesn’t extinguish, rage about the Raiders relocating to Las Vegas.

[RATTO: Here's to hoping Marshawn Lynch upstages the NFL Draft]

Owner Mark Davis hopes to move his team when a new stadium is complete in 2020. 

Lynch won't be there. Lynch won’t represent Vegas. He’s an Oakland Raider, playing for the city he champions at every turn. Lynch regularly gives back to this community and might be its most popular native son right now.

Lynch missed playing football, but he wanted to represent his hometown. That was clear in his tweet. He explained it this way: “I’m really from Oakland doe like really really really from Oakland doe…town bizness breath on me.”

He’ll celebrate joining the Raiders on Thursday with a block party and autograph signing in Oakland.

Lynch will give East Bay fans something to cheer for that won’t be shipping off to Vegas in a few years.

Nothing can cure the pain of an NFL team leaving Oakland a second time. Wins are ibuprofen, giving short-term relief to an ailing fan local base. He can certainly help the Raiders provide that.

The Silver and Black needed a big, physical primary rusher to pair with elusive, yet smaller backs Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington.

Lynch is that guy. There’s no question he’s a football fit.

Lynch is a strong interior rusher from several different formations. He could run well behind fullback Jamize Olawale, as a lone shotgun runner or in jumbo packages with quarterback Derek Carr under center and behind a hulking Raiders offensive line.

While new offensive coordinator Todd Downing will add some wrinkles to an existing scheme, the Raiders employ a versatile system that could suit Lynch’s many strengths.

Lynch ranks among the toughest, most aggressive backs of his generation and one of the best resisting tackles.

He averaged 4.3 yards per carry and 2.8 yards after contact per rushing attempt in his career, according to analytics site Pro Football Focus.

Lynch led the NFL with 245 broken tackles between 2013 and 2016 – 56 more than the next guy -- and he didn’t even play last season, per PFF.

He led the league with an unreal 3.1 yards after per contact in 2014, his last year fully healthy. He played just eight times in 2015 due to an abdominal injury that required surgery.

Lynch is completely healthy after his year travelling the world, doing charity work and expanding his clothing line, but effectiveness is always questioned of running backs over 30. Lynch turned 31 last week. He heads into his 10th season without having been hit in a while, and many believe he can produce like few others his age have in the NFL.

He’ll take the lion’s share of carries in a three-man rotation with Richard and Washington. He reportedly gets an extra $2 million if he's just the second Raider since 2010 to reach 1,000 yards. There’s motivation to push for that and other incentives in the deal. If Lynch is in vintage Beast Mode and fans are happy, the Raiders will gladly pay the extra freight.