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History repeats itself
Red Wings desperation extends series, Sharks drop Game 4
5/6/11 - By Mike Lee -

San Jose knew it was coming, but yet they were still unprepared for it. With their backs against the wall, the Detroit Red Wings came out swinging in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semi Final on Friday night and caught the Sharks with a flurry of jabs that would extend the series to a fifth game on Sunday. Detroit scored 3 goals in the 1st period, then bagged the game winner late in the 3rd period after the Sharks battled back to tie the game.

Darren Helm wiped out a valiant comeback attempt by the Sharks with a goal with 1:27 left in regulation to give the Red Wings the victory. Unfortunately the comeback should have been unnecessary.

Call the Sharks poor start inexcusable. San Jose went through the same thing a year ago to the day when Detroit lit them up 7-1 while on the verge of elimination. They knew what was coming, but were still unprepared for the Red Wings energy.

Antti Niemi made things a little adventurous early in the game, when he roamed behind hid net and mishandled the puck. Kris Draper swooped in for a scoring chance, but the Sharks managed to keep the puck out of their own net.

The Red Wings drew first blood at 6:22 when Todd Bertuzzi sent a pretty backhand shot from the right dot past Niemi. The Sharks had a scoring chance on the opposite end, but Dan Boyle whiffed on the one time chance from Joe Thornton. Detroit scooped up the puck and raced up ice where Bertuzzi did a 360 to avoid a check inside the blueline before sending his shot on net. The shot clipped Douglas Murray's stick, which may have changed the trajectory on Niemi.

Niemi didn't get much help from his own defense 5 minutes later when Niklas Lidstrom deposited his 5th of the playoffs for the 2-0 lead. Niemi made a stop on a Dan Cleary shot, but San Jose defenseman Dan Boyle bumped into his own goaltender, which allowed Lidstrom to fire a shot into the net from the left point before Niemi could get into the proper position to make a stop.

Things went from bad to worse for San Jose after Ian White was sent off for interference with 4 minutes remaining in the period. The Sharks killed all but 4 seconds on the penalty, but Lidstrom worked more magic, by knocking a puck out of the air with a skate before swatting it out of the air with his stick and into the Sharks goal.

San Jose answered 17 seconds later when Logan Couture deflected a Ryane Clowe shot past Jimmy Howard. The Red Wings goaltender had the left post covered, but the puck found a seam and skirted through to cut the Detroit lead to 2 goals.

The Sharks picked up the pace in the 2nd half, but they were still out-shot through the first 10 minutes of play. Part of that came as a result of a pair of penalties on San Jose.

Joe Thornton was called for holding the stick at 5:47, then Torrey Mitchell was sent off for holding at 10:58. The Sharks killed both penalties, but it took away a solid block of time that could have been better spent attacking the Red Wings net.

Things got a little more interesting when Dan Boyle took a cross-ice feed from Kyle Wellwood at 13:44 and deposited it past Howard to make it a 3-2 game. Wellwood created the chance by following his own shot and regaining control of the puck before circling back toward the left post before hitting Boyle on the far side.

Dany Heatley took a lazy tripping penalty for the Sharks 4th consecutive penalty of the game with 5:31 to play in the period. The penalty discrepancy was magnified by a non-call on Johan Franzen in the neutral zone as the Red Wings skated the puck up ice on the ensuing power play. Franzen clearly interfered with Joe Pavelski, but nothing was called. San Jose killed the penalty, to keep the game at a lone goal heading into the 2nd intermission.

The Sharks got the start they wanted to open the 3rd period. Heatley snapped a shot past Howard 1:14 into the period after Clowe sent a pass from behind the Detroit net. Logan Couture did a nice job to cycle the puck from the left corner. Heatley was parked in the slot and was able to gather the Clowe feed and beat Howard stick side with his 3rd of the playoffs.

The turning point in the game may have been San Jose's inability to take advantage of the huge momentum shift. The Heatley goal took all the life out of the crowd, and had the Red Wings on their heels.

Bertuzzi was sent off for high sticking at 4:12 to give the Sharks their first power play of the game. San Jose did little with the chance, generating a single shot on an 80-footer off the stick of Boyle.

Benn Ferriero committed a big gaff right after the penalty expired, when he went offside on a 3-on-1 Sharks break.

Justin Abdelkader laid out Joe Pavelski with a cross check at 11:35 to put the Sharks back on the power play. Detroit buckled down and killed the 2 minute infraction and keep things tied.

With their season on the line, Detroit put a mad rush on the Sharks net with 3 minutes left in regulation. They would turn the puck around with 1:45 to play and collapse on Niemi, but a wraparound attempt was denied by the Sharks netminder.

The Red Wings desperation would bite the Sharks with 1:27 left. Helm scooped up a deflection off a Patrick Eaves shot and deposited it into a wide open net to give Detroit the game winner.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 1 1 1 3
DET 3 0 1 4
1st period - 1, DET, Bertuzzi 2 (Zetterberg, Cleary), 6:22. 2, DET, Lidstrom 3 (Cleary, Bertuzzi), 11:09. 3, DET, DET, Lidstrom 4 (Zetterberg, Datsyuk), 18:01, (pp). 4, SJ, Couture (Clowe), 18:16.
2nd period - 5, SJ, Boyle 2 (Wellwood, Clowe), 13:44.
3rd period - 6, SJ, Heatley 3 (Clowe, Couture), 1:14. 7, DET, Helm 2 (Eaves, Rafalski), 18:33.
1st period - White, SJ (interference), 16:05.
2nd period - Thornton, SJ (holding the stick), 5:47; Mitchell, SJ (holding), 10:58; Heatley, SJ (tripping), 14:29.
3rd period - Bertuzzi, DET (high sticking), 4:12; Abdelkader, DET (cross checking), 11:35; Clowe, SJ (roughing), 20:00; Clowe, SJ (roughing), 20:00; Abdelkader, DET (roughing), 20:00; Abdelkader, DET (roughing), 20:00.
Shots Saves
SJ - Niemi 40 36
DET - Howard 28 25
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 12 6 10 28
DET 17 10 13 40
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 2
DET 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Niklas Lidstrom
Ryane Clowe
Todd Bertuzzi
Referees: O'Halloran, Watson. Linesmen: Amell, Racicot.
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