Detroit (42-18-6) has dropped four consecutive decisions and 10 of the last 11 contests. The Red Wings have a three-point lead over Dallas for the best team in the Western Conference playoff race.
San Jose got off to a quick start when just 100-seconds into the game, Patrick Rissmiller battled off rookie defenseman Jonathan Ericsson to get a pass to Joe Pavelski who fired the puck past Hasek's glove to score on San Jose's first shot of the game. The early goal marked a rusty start for the Wing's veteran netminder who missed the last eight games with a hip injury.
Brad Stuart -- the newest Red Wing -- made his presence felt with the penalty kill unit late in the first period, and let Jeremy Roenick know he was there too with a big hit along the boards. Stuart, a former Los Angeles Kings defenseman, was a last-minute acquistion on last Tuesday's trade deadline.
"The first 10 minutes I was kind of nervous, but I thought I settled in a little bit and started playing the way I like to play," said Stuart who led the Wings with five hits. "I got some hits, a couple of shots, and I felt a little more comfortable as the game progressed."
San Jose capitalized on another quick goal 52 seconds into the second period when Setoguchi, who was recalled from San Jose's Worcester affiliate, tallied his 10th goal of the season, giving San Jose a 2-0 lead.
The Wings Mikael Samuelsson, center, celebrates his goal with Henrik Zetterberg, left, and Niklas Kronwall, right, against the Sharks in the third period on Friday. Detroit fell to San Jose, 3-2. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
The Red Wings were able to respond just 1:34 later on a power play goal from Henrik Zetterberg who tipped a Kronwall shot past Evgeni Nabokov. It was a welcome sight for Kronwall who made his first appearance since injuring his clavicle on January 30 against Phoenix.
"He's a real good defenseman for us," said Zetterberg of Krowall who missed 13 games due to injury. "He plays in all situations; power play, (penalty kill) and five-on-five. So it's nice to see him playing again and he's playing real good."
The goal seemed to light up the Detroit bench and led to a flurry of scoring opportunities. But Nabakov and the Sharks held strong, and kept the Wings off the board for the rest of the period.
The Red Wings caught a bad break when a shot went up into the netting and bounced back down next to the net and Setoguchi was able to stuff it past Hasek for his second goal of the game. The play was questioned by the Wings who noted that the puck had hit the protective netting behind the goal, which should have been stopped. TV replay showed the Wings' concerns were correct. However, the play wasn't reviewable.
"Those referees do their job no different than we do with as much pride as they can, and they missed it," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "No one feels sorry for us. It was a three to two hockey game as we had our opportunities."
Shortly after the fluke goal, the Red Wings notched their second power play goal of the game, this time off the stick of Mikael Samuelsson. His shot, off the pass from Zetterberg, was redirected by the stick of Shark's forward Mike Grier and brought Detroit back into the game with just over seven minutes left in regulation.
"This has gone on way too long," Babcock said. "We've been right there a number of times over this period of time and haven't found a way to win. We found a way to win games we didn't compete near as hard in earlier and now we're not. We've just got to get back to work and play with energy, play with confidence and let it hang out here a bit."
Wrist shot -
1 - 0 SJS
Snap shot -
2 - 0 SJS