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Sharks off to best start in franchise history, beat Red Wings 5-1

The Canadian Press
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The Hockey News
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Sharks off to best start in franchise history, beat Red Wings 5-1

The Canadian Press
By:

Milan Michalek, Mark Bell and Marleau scored in the first 15 minutes to chase Detroit goalie Chris Osgood. Jonathan Cheechoo and Marleau added third-period goals as the Sharks tied their club record for power-play scores, set last February in another home game against Detroit.

Vesa Toskala made 21 saves to remain unbeaten this season, but lost the chance for his first shutout on Jiri Hudler's goal with 8:52 to play.

San Jose still easily improved to 6-1 for the first time in franchise history, surpassing its 5-2 start to the 1994-95 season by taking advantage of Detroit's 16 penalties.

Rookie Matt Carle had two assists to take the NHL scoring lead among defencemen, and Michalek moved into the team lead in scoring with a goal and two assists for the Sharks, who have scored 28 goals this season - another franchise record after seven games. They're unbeaten in four home games, and blew a three-goal lead in their only loss at Edmonton last week.

Toskala wasn't challenged much while winning his fourth straight start in his platoon with Evgeni Nabokov, who has two shutouts already this season.

Detroit, which won 12 of its first 13 games last season on the way to the Presidents' Trophy, is just 3-3-1 this season. One night after committing 14 penalties and giving up three power-play goals in a 4-1 loss to Anaheim, the Red Wings were mistake-prone again on the third stop of a four-game road trip.

San Jose scored on its first three power-play opportunities, with Michalek starting it off with his team-leading sixth goal. Bell deflected home a shot by Carle, and Marleau added his second of the year three minutes later.

Detroit coach Mike Babcock yanked Osgood after his club fell behind 3-0, though only Marleau's goal seemed easily stoppable. Osgood, getting just his second start as Dominik Hasek's backup, was replaced by third-string goalie Joey MacDonald, who stopped 13 shots.

Detroit took three penalties in the first three minutes of the second period - including two foolish delay-of-game calls for shooting the puck over the glass - but managed to keep San Jose out of the net.

Cheechoo added his fourth goal of the season - again on the power play - midway through the third on a pass from Joe Thornton, who had two assists. Marleau added another at the close of a lengthy 5-on-3 advantage, popping the puck over a pile in front of the net.

Notes: In Osgood's last start in San Jose, the veteran goalie gave up six goals and still won 7-6 last season. ... After Saturday's game against unbeaten Minnesota, the Sharks head out on a five-game East Coast road trip. ... Michalek has a career-best five-game scoring streak. Four of his six goals are power-play scores.

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Sharks off to best start in franchise history, beat Red Wings 5-1