History Averted as Sharks Hold Off Red Wings

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 DraperTodd Bertuzzi and Danny Cleary both left the game early and did not return due to injury.

Postgame Thoughts: Red Wings @ Sharks – Game Seven

Between Game Three and Game Four I said I didn’t think that the Red Wings would be able to come back to win their series with the Sharks. Unfortunately, I was right, but I couldn’t have predicted how close they would end up coming.

The Wings fought for their playoff lives for four games and came up a goal (two goals, technically) short. They won’t win the Stanley Cup this year but doing something that only seven teams had done before them – forcing a Game Seven after dropping the first three games of the series – is something to be proud of.

Detroit did not go quietly tonight, either. Their slow start doomed them – as playing less than sixty minutes has done all season – but they fought right down to the end. Without Johan Franzen and Todd Bertuzzi and Danny Cleary, at that. There are positives to take away from this and they shouldn’t be forgotten.

In the end, though, it was a loss and there are negatives that come with that.

As I’ve already said, losing on Patrick Marleau‘s goal makes it particularly bitter. Not because it’s Marleau but because it was scored with Devin Setoguchi in the crease, in contact with Jimmy Howard. I don’t know if I really think it warranted a goalie interference call but I flash back to a night in Nashville two months ago when Detroit had a goal called back for so much less and it just bothers me.

That said, the play never should have happened. Niklas Kronwall never should have gotten caught out of position. Jiri Hudler should have blocked the pass. Cascading failures that ended a season.

I’ve never been big on post-mortem write-ups but maybe I’ll put something together this year. At the very least, there will be more news and updates about the site coming up through the summer as DetroitHockey.Net’s 15th season continues until our birthday in September.

Pregame Notes: Red Wings @ Sharks – Game Seven

What do you want me to say at this point?

Either the Red Wings make history tonight or the Sharks recover and advance themselves. The previous six games don’t matter, we’re down to one now.

On the Detroit side, you say you have the advantage, riding the win streak. On the San Jose side, home ice is your advantage.

As per usual, keys for both teams are the same. Score early. Score often. Don’t get down if the other team scores first. Don’t take stupid penalties.

Game time is 9:00. Television is FSD in Detroit, Versus everywhere else in the US.

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