Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Red Wings familiar with OT heartbreak

Categories: SJS vs. DET, San Jose Sharks, Second Round

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Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard (35) lets San Jose Sharks forward Devin Setoguchi shot past in overtime against the Detroit Red Wings in Game 3 in Detroit on Wednesday. (Paul Sancya/Associated Press) Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard (35) lets San Jose Sharks forward Devin Setoguchi shot past in overtime against the Detroit Red Wings in Game 3 in Detroit on Wednesday. (Paul Sancya/Associated Press)
Same date. Same third-period lead. Same heart-breaking outcome.

The Detroit Red Wings find themselves on the brink of elimination for the second straight spring against the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference semifinal after squandering a third-period lead and falling 4-3 on Devin Setoguchi's goal at 9:21 of overtime in Game 3 of the series Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena.

The Sharks can sweep the series with a victory in Game 4 Friday in Detroit. Meanwhile, the Wings have a day to sweep away the haunting memories of a game they let get away.

The Sharks also won Game 3 against the Wings last year on May 4, rallying from a 3-1 third-period deficit and winning 4-3 on Patrick Marleau's OT goal, en route to a 4-1 series victory.

"It's pretty much déjà-vu from last year," Detroit defenceman Brad Stuart said. "We had the lead in the third in Game 3 and end up giving it up and losing in overtime.

"It's the same hole. All you can do is go one game at a time now. That's all you can do. It's a must-win game Friday night and then it becomes another must-win game, and that's how you look at it."

Best not good enough

Both teams agreed that Detroit was the better team on the ice for the overall duration of the game, but it was the Sharks who got the decision.

"I thought we had it going there in overtime," Detroit defenceman Jonathan Ericsson said. "We were really wearing on their D and their forwards, and they were getting tired down in their own end.

"We had a lot of chances, but the puck didn't want to bounce our way. They had one, not even a really good scoring chance, and they capitalized."

Setoguchi's game-winner came from the top of the right faceoff circle and eluded Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard.

"It knuckled," Howard said. "It flipped up on his stick when he shot it and it came in flipping over end. Those are tough to read."

Stuart summed it up simply.

"When you have the lead in the third period, you have to protect it."

Kronwall Krusher

Detroit defenceman Niklas Kronwall delivered what might be the body check of the playoffs when he leveled Sharks forward Dany Heatley with a shoulder to the chest just inside the Sharks blue-line during the first period.

Heatley left the game, but was later able to return to action.

Crushing hits couldn't compare to the crushing emotion of knowing his team has no more losses to give.

"Of course you can't be in a tougher spot, being down 3-0," Kronwall said. "Not a lot of teams have made it back."

One down

San Jose has now won all seven of its playoff decisions over Detroit the last two springs by one-goal decisions.

"In a one-goal game, one little mistake can decide a game and thats what were seeing so far," Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom said.

Wings coach Mike Babcock credited the Sharks for unearthing a route to victory on a night when it appeared they would finish second best.

"They're finding a way," Babcock said. "That's what good teams do."

"It's a tough pill to swallow, especially when you're down 2-0. We tilted the rink pretty good. We had a lot of opportunities."

Catching Super Mario


Lidstrom's first-period power-play goal was his 29th with the man advantage in Stanley Cup play, tying him for fifth on the all-time list with former Pittsburgh Penguins captain Mario Lemieux, but milestones don't mean much when you're faced with the millstone of overcoming a 3-0 series deficit.

"We just have to get ready for that next game," Lidstrom said. "We know what we have to do or it's over."

The mentality is going in and winning Game 4.

Setoguchi channels Ronaldo

Devin Setoguchi's channelings of Cristiano Ronaldo aside (and we'll get to those in a moment) are secondary to the bigger picture as the Sharks beat Detroit 4-3 and head into Friday's Game 4 with a chance to make it Game Last.

And the bigger picture has prominent places for Joe Thornton and Antti Niemi.

Thornton made the overtime play that set up Setoguchi's game-winner 9:21 into overtime as the Sharks overcame a better Red Wing team and moved to within a game of the franchise's first-ever sweep. In fact, Thornton has been materially involved in four of the Sharks' five overtime winners, scoring one - the series-clincher against Los Angeles -- himself. This may help dispel finally the notion that he is a lion in March.

Niemi, who was pulled twice in the first round and became a fan target after his wobbly play against L.A., had his finest game in San Jose kit, making 38 saves and stealing a game that rightfully belonged to the home team.

But as head coach Todd McLellan said, "You need heroes. You need people to step up, and [Setoguchi] was ours tonight. He's got a tremendous trigger, he puts himself in situations where he can shoot the puck and he's got a couple of very good players [Thornton and Patrick Marleau] playing with him."

And he is Cristiano Ronaldo.

"Well, if you really want to know, I looked over at Logan Couture [right before the Sharks took ice for the overtime period] and I said, 'You better get it before I do, because I've already got my celebration ready to go.'" Setoguchi said after his third and final goal of the night. "And he said, 'So do I.' And I said, 'Well, I'm going to go pull the Ronaldo double-knee,' and he said, 'That was mine.' So I said, 'Well, I'll try to beat you to it then.' So it was kind of weird that it happened that way."

San Jose is now 5-0 in extra time this postseason, thought still well short of Montreal's 10-1 record in 1993, the year of the Canadiens' last Cup. But San Jose has never swept a series, and is 0-1 the only time they had a chance to do so - last year in this building, when they were edged in regulation, 7-1.

"We've tried very hard as a coaching staff to eliminate and separate last year's series from this year's," McLellan said. "There will be a lot made out of the same date (May 4), overtime, and all that kind of stuff. It is completely irrelevant in my opinion. And I hope it is because we took one hell of a lickin' in Game 4 last year."

And they still won Game 5.

SAN JOSE

Patrick Marleau   Joe Thornton      Devin Setoguchi
Ryane Clowe Logan Couture  Dany Heatley
Torrey Mitchell     Joe Pavelski       Kyle Wellwood
Jamal Mayers       Scott Nichol           Benn Ferriero

Douglas Murray      Dan Boyle
Marc-Edouard Vlasic  Jason Demers
Ian White              Niclas Wallin

Antti Niemi
Antero Niittymaki