HOCKEY: Red Wings top Sharks to force Game 5


Sharks withstand 3-0 deficit but come up short in sweep
By Helene St. James – Detroit Free Press

The Red Wings earned another game in their second-round series against the Sharks with a performance that hints at making history.

The Wings owned the last five minutes of Friday’s 4-3 victory at Joe Louis Arena, doing so even as the Sharks badly wanted the sweep. Instead both teams were to leave Friday night for San Jose, where they will meet again Sunday evening.

The Wings are trying to become the fourth team in NHL history to overcome a 3-0 deficit. They built a quick three-goal lead in Game 4 only to see it erased early in the third period, but Darren Helm came through with a goal in the last 90 seconds, firing in Patrick Eaves’ pass and giving the Sharks notice the Wings weren’t going to roll over.

“It’s about the logo on your chest,” Helm said. “There’s a lot of pride in this dressing room and guys knew it was a desperate situation and they didn’t want to be embarrassed by being swept. We feel like we have a good chance here. We have an opportunity to win Game 5 in San Jose.”

Helm spoke of playing for the team’s veterans, especially captain Nicklas Lidstrom, who hasn’t said if he will play next season. Lidstrom looked nowhere near his 41 years as he scored twice in the opening period, building off Todd Bertuzzi’s opening goal. The Wings also nullified two power plays in the third period.

“Our penalty kill came through when we needed it most,” Lidstrom said. “The game was tied, they have a chance to go ahead with a goal on the power play. I thought we really responded well on that PK.”

The Sharks pulled Antti Niemi shortly after Helm’s goal in hopes of forcing overtime. Jimmy Howard replied with a save on Patrick Marleau and two on Dan Boyle.

“I told myself,” Howard said, “whatever happens, just keep playing out there, keep battling.”

The Sharks were doing much of the same. Logan Couture punished Helm for a giveaway to score late in the first period and Boyle took advantage of Jiri Hudler’s failure to back-check to score at 13:44 of the second period. Dany Heatley scored from the lip of the crease 1:14 into the third period, able to work the puck from there after Niklas Kronwall left the area.

Bertuzzi started the Wings off on the right note when he came up the right side, spun around Heatley and put a backhand into the net.

“I just tried to take it to the inside, got him moving the right way and got around him, tried to get a good, hard shot on net,” Bertuzzi said. “It was nice to see it go in.”

Every game of the series has been won by one goal. The Wings are a long way from advancing, but at the very least, they showed what they needed in Game 4, getting scoring from the second and fourth lines, winning the special-teams battles and playing physical hockey.

“Every game has been a battle,” Lidstrom said. “We didn’t want to get this to overtime. We wanted to get one before the 60 minutes were up. It was great to see our team respond the way we did.”

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