SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard had another fine game Sunday, stopping 35 shots in the Red Wings' 2-1 loss to the Sharks. But the question everyone wanted answered after the game was what he thought about the weather.
As in the snow showers the Sharks kept giving him after the whistle blows.
Joe Pavelski got him in Game 1, leading to a confrontation that led to roughing penalties for both of them. And Sunday, Pavelski, Logan Couture and Joe Thornton were among the Sharks doing it again.
Howard took enough exception to give Thornton a whack to the ankle with his stick.
"They're trying to get under my skin, and I know that," Howard said. "But I'm not going to let them."
So does he think the Sharks are doing it on purpose?
"I would think so," he added. "But, whatever."
Sharks coach Todd McLellan said he had "no time for gimmicks." Yet he quickly added that his team better continue to go hard to the net.
"If our players are doing that, they're going to hear from me first," he said, referring to intentional snow showers.
"But they're going to hear from me even more when they don't go to the net and stop on a loose puck."
Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said they complained to the referees several times during Sunday's game about the snow showers without any effect.
When asked if the officials can do anything about the gamesmanship tactic, Detroit coach Mike Babcock had little to say.
Yet he still managed to make his feelings crystal clear.
"Every time I make a comment about any of that stuff, it's come back to bite me in the butt," Babcock said. "But I think that's a really good question."
--Both teams profess more respect than the kind of hatred that can develop between NHL rivals, but Ben Eager and Detroit forward Todd Bertuzzi came close to trading punches Sunday.
Eager took exception to Bertuzzi's hit against Dany Heatley along the boards and confronted the Red Wings player in front of the Detroit bench. The door opened, Eager tumbled inside and both players were handed roughing penalties at 6:36 of the second period.
"That's what happens in playoffs," Eager said. "It's pretty intense."
As both left the penalty box, they began jawing with each other. When Eager appeared to drop his gloves and Bertuzzi didn't, the San Jose player was given a 10-minute misconduct penalty.
"I dropped one glove," the Sharks left wing said. "I've seen that call from those guys before, so it's nothing surprising--especially when it's on NBC."
McLellan didn't seem fazed by the episode.
"Ben's an important part of our team," the coach said. "He has a role to fulfill. He's a big, physical guy. He gets in some scrums every now and then. He understands his job. We won the game tonight and he was part of it."
--Until defenseman Ian White scored Sunday at 4:54 of the first period, the Sharks had not had a goal in the opening 20 minutes since Dany Heatley lit the lamp 28 seconds into Game 1 of the Los Angeles series.
The first-period scoreless streak ended at 144:26.