The Detroit Red Wings failed to become the fourth-ever NHL team to rally to win a best-of-seven series after losing the first three games, dropping Game Seven of their Western Conference Semifinal matchup with the San Jose Sharks, 3-2.
The Sharks now advance to face the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference Finals.
San Jose got out to a strong start, scoring twice in the first period to take an early lead.
Devin Setoguchi got the Sharks on the board with a power play goal with 7:40 remaining in the period. Joe Thornton got the puck in the right corner and sent a pass to a wide open Setoguchi jumping in from the left point for a slapper past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard.
With 59 seconds left in the period, Logan Couture capitalized on a rare Henrik Zetterberg turnover at the side of the Detroit net to snap a shot past Howard, making it 2-0 at the end of the first.
The Red Wings woke up in the second period, taking control of the game and getting on the board.
Valtteri Filppula carried the puck down the right wing on a rush with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. Datsyuk went to the net while Filppula sent the puck across to Zetterberg, who cut into the slot and flung a backhander past Antti Niemi to make it 2-1 with 6:50 left in the middle frame.
Patrick Marleau restored San Jose’s two-goal lead in the third period. Dan Boyle worked the puck into the slot for a Setoguchi chance that Howard turned aside but as Setoguchi drove to the net, Marleau knocked in the rebound with 7:47 remaining.
Datsyuk made a game of it once more 1:46 later, skating down the right wing and backhanding a shot into the top corner of the net.
The Red Wings would be unable to tie things up with their season on the line, however, as the Sharks held on for the win.
Detroit did not score on four power play tries. San Jose went one-for-three with the man-advantage.
Howard stopped 27 of the 30 shots he faced in the Wings’ net while Niemi made 38 stops on 40 shots.
Johan Franzen did not play for Detroit. He was replaced in the lineup by Kris Draper… Todd Bertuzzi and Danny Cleary both left the game early and did not return due to injury.