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Thornton, Sharks maintain edge on Red Wings

Oct 28, 2011, 10:41 PM EDT

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Conventional “wisdom” dictates that Joe Thornton and the San Jose Sharks can’t get it done in the clutch. If you hear a Detroit Red Wings fan spout such an opinion, it’s probably safe to just call it a defense mechanism at this point.

The Red Wings had a chance to avenge a second straight second round playoff defeat to the Sharks tonight, but Thornton & Co. foiled them by a score of 4-2. Thornton scored twice while fellow go-to scapegoat (and Red Wings abuser) Patrick Marleau earned a goal and a helper of his own.

What the Red Wings should really be worried about

My guess is that Mike Babcock is far more concerned about what’s now a three-game losing streak than the growing perception that the Sharks “have their number,” though. The biggest area of concern should be their defense.

For the last two seasons or so, talk of Nicklas Lidstrom‘s sustained brilliance masked an unusually vulnerable Red Wings defense. It seemed like they might have plugged those holes early in the season (just seven goals allowed in the first five games), but now they’ve been out-scored 15-4 in their last three.

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The takeaway should be that the Red Wings have bigger things to worry about than the Sharks, but both words collided in this rare Joe Thornton breakaway goal.

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