for this game

Still flying: Red Wings rally to upend Sharks

May 9, 2011 - 4:13 AM
San Jose, CA (Sports Network) - Desperate not to repeat recent history, the Detroit Red Wings scored three unanswered goals in the third period Sunday to beat San Jose, 4-3, in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals, staving off elimination once again.

Trailing 3-1 in the series and 3-1 in the game, the Red Wings got goals from Jonathan Ericsson, Danny Cleary and Tomas Holmstrom within about 10 minutes to force Game 6 Tuesday in Detroit.

Jimmy Howard made 39 saves for the Red Wings, who are trying to become just the fourth team in NHL history to win a playoff series after losing the first three games.

The Sharks eliminated Detroit in five games during last year's semifinals and looked to be on the same path. Devin Setoguchi and Joe Pavelski scored for a 2-0 lead and Logan Couture's goal made it 3-1 early in the third period.

But the team softened in front of goaltender Antti Niemi, who made 18 saves in the game and stopped just half of the six shots he faced in the third period.

"Hard to swallow," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. "They took advantage of some of our mistakes and put it in the net.

"We have five minutes to feel sorry for ourselves."

Couture got behind several Detroit players and deked to his backhand to beat Howard under the left pad, giving San Jose a 3-1 lead just 54 seconds into the third period.

"You're thinking, 'It's going to be tough.' But we answered back," said Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock.

And they answered quickly, tying the game with two goals in just 106 seconds.

Ericsson netted a loose puck from the slot after Detroit freed it with good work near the right boards, and Cleary tied the game at 3-3 by squeezing the disc between the post and Niemi's left pad from behind the net at the 5:29 mark.

It remained tied for about 8 1/2 minutes until Pavel Datsyuk, who had three assists for the Red Wings, set up the go-ahead goal with a nifty spin move in the left circle to avoid a check by Patrick Marleau.

Datsyuk sent the puck back to the point, where Nicklas Lidstrom rifled it on net. Holmstrom was set up in front and caught a piece of the slap shot, giving Detroit its 4-3 lead with 6:08 remaining.

If the Red Wings can win Game 6, the series finale would be Thursday in San Jose. The 1942 Maple Leafs, 1975 Islanders and last year's Flyers are the only teams to rally from a 3-0 postseason deficit.

"We're up 3-2 in the series and we're going to Detroit with a chance to win it again. But we have to play better," said Couture.

Setoguchi gave the second-seeded Sharks a 1-0 lead with 2:42 remaining in the first period, setting up in front of the net and deflecting Dan Boyle's snap shot from the point through two defenders and Howard.

Set up by a broken play at the other end of the ice, Pavelski's goal gave San Jose a 2-0 lead 15:32 into the second period.

Ryane Clowe ended up with the puck near the left boards, skated into the left circle and slipped a pass beneath the sliding defenseman Ericsson, sending it to the front of the net where Pavelski jammed it in.

The third-seeded Red Wings scored 53 seconds later, pulling within 2-1 when Niklas Kronwall netted a shot through traffic from the right side.

Game Notes

After the Sharks eliminated Detroit last year, they were swept by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in the conference finals...San Jose has never lost a series when leading 3-0 or 3-1...The Sharks were scoreless in four power play opportunities, while the Red Wings squandered two.