Helm’s Late Goal Keeps Red Wings Alive Against Sharks

Darren Helm scored with 1:27 remaining in regulation Friday night, giving the Detroit Red Wings a 4-3 win over the San Jose Sharks and forcing a Game Five in their Western Conference Semifinal series.

The Sharks lead the series, 3-1, and could have finished the Red Wings off in Game Four.

After a faceoff in the San Jose end, Brian Rafalski held the puck in and fired a shot on goal from the right point. Sharks goalie Antti Niemi made the stop but the rebound came out to Patrick Eaves in the right faceoff circle, who pushed it across to Helm in the left circle for a wrister past Niemi.

The tally made up for a first-period turnover by Helm, leading to San Jose’s first goal and the start of a comeback after Detroit took a 3-0 lead in the first period.

With 1:44 left in the first, just 15 seconds after the Red Wings extended their early lead to 3-0, Helm turned the puck over to Ryane Clowe at the Detroit blue line. Clowe carried the puck down low along the left wing boards and threw it on net. Logan Couture got a piece of it on the way through and it trickled through Jimmy Howard‘s pads to make it 3-1.

Dan Boyle pulled the Sharks to within a single goal with 6:16 remaining in the second, slipping past Jiri Hudler into the right circle all alone, then taking a pass from Kyle Wellwood and snapping a shot past Howard.

Just 1:14 into the third, Dany Heatley beat Howard from the top of the crease off a pass from Clowe to complete the comeback, but the Sharks would be unable to pull ahead.

Todd Bertuzzi had opened the game’s scoring at 6:22 of the first. Bertuzzi carried the puck into the San Jose zone and spun around Heatley at the top of the left circle before backhanding a shot that deflected and fluttered past Niemi.

Nicklas Lidstrom made it 2-0 with 8:51 left in the period, blasting the rebound of a Danny Cleary shot by Niemi.

Lidstrom’s second of the night made it 3-0 with 1:59 left in the opening frame. In the closing seconds of a Detroit power play, Henrik Zetterberg pulled the puck out of a scramble around the front of the net and brought it to the left circle. He sent a high pass out to Lidstrom in the right circle, who knocked it down off his knee and then whacked a shot out of mid-air on Niemi. The puck bounced off the ice and skipped past the San Jose goalie.

Lidstrom’s second was the lone power play goal of the night. Detroit had four tries with the extra attacker while San Jose had two.

Niemi made 36 saves on 40 shots on the night. Howard stopped 25 of 28 shots.

The two teams will meet in San Jose for Game Five on Sunday.


Mike Modano, Drew Miller and Jakub Kindl were the healthy scratches for the Red Wings.

Power Play Goals Not Enough For Wings in Loss to Sharks

The Detroit Red Wings scored two first-period power play goals Monday night but could manage nothing else against the San Jose Sharks as they dropped a 5-2 decision at Joe Louis Arena.

It was just the team’s second home regulation loss of the season.

Tomas Holmstrom redirected a Nicklas Lidstrom slap shot past San Jose goalie Antti Niemi at 7:48 of the first to open the game’s scoring.

An apparent goal by Valtteri Filppula was waived off minutes later but officials blew the play dead as the puck slipped under Niemi, before it rolled out from under him and into the net.

With Detroit’s momentum halted Joe Thornton got the Sharks on the board while shorthanded.

Playing the point on the power play, Jiri Hudler pinched in to swat at a loose puck but Dany Heatley got it past him. Heatley and Thornton went in on a two-on-one, with Heatley passing across for an easy goal by Thornton with 4:01 remaining in the period.

Johan Franzen put the Red Wings back in front 2:36 later, scoring from an acute angle on a nice passing play from Brian Rafalski and Holmstrom.

Niclas Wallin’s shot from the point at 4:53 of the second was deflected past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard to tie the game back up and Logan Couture put the Sharks out front eight seconds later, snapping a shot from the left circle past Howard.

Heatley scored on another two-on-one with 1:03 left in the period, this time keeping the puck and snapping it past Howard from the right faceoff circle.

Couture’s second of the night wrapped up the game’s scoring as he tipped a Ryane Clowe pass in behind Howard with 8:43 to play.

Niemi stopped 25 of the 27 shots he faced, with only 11 of those saves needing to come in the second and third periods. Howard made 30 saves on 35 shots.

Detroit scored on two of their six power plays and allowed one shorthanded goal. The Sharks were scoreless on four tries with the extra attacker.

The Red Wings are back in action on Wednesday when they host the Nashville Predators.

Game Three Postgame Notes

It may or may not be a popular opinion, Detroit hockey fans are notorious for their opinions on goalies after all, but I’m throwing Jimmy Howard under the bus for this loss.

San Jose’s first and third goals never should have happened and they fall on Howard. On the first goal he got lazy and lifted his pad, giving room for Devin Setoguchi to slide the puck in. On the third goal he was off his post and in a stance that left too many holes open, making it possible for Logan Couture to bank a shot in off of him.

Brian Rafalski deserves some goat credit as well. As the defenseman on a two-on-one, your only purpose is supposed to be to cut off the pass. Rafalski failed to do that and didn’t seem to make that much of an effort.

I can’t decide if it’s funny or not but the Red Wings accomplished pretty much every goal they said they needed to before today’s game and they still lost.

They silenced Joe Pavelski. They didn’t allow a single power play goal. They were better in the faceoff circle and they had more shots on net.

And they still lost.

Some people will continue to blame the refs but – while I didn’t like a couple calls – this was the best-officiated game of the series. That said (and I said it at the time), the penalty shot call in the first period was absolutely horrible.

Which reminds me of the two coaching complaints I have.

One is that Todd Bertuzzi should have taken that penalty shot. He was one of Detroit’s more reliable shooters in the tiebreaker during the regular season while Henrik Zetterberg was inconsistent at best.

The other is wondering how the hell the fourth line ended up on the ice against Thornton, Heatley and Marleau for the last shift of the game. I’m blaming Rafalski for that one but you’ve gotta wonder if it would have happened in the first place if another line had been out there.

I’m not sure what to think going forward. I think the Red Wings have the talent to win the next four but, like too many times in the Phoenix series, I’m not seeing the desire at all. They quit in the third period with a two goal lead tonight. That’s unacceptable and if they’re playing like that they deserve to lose.

Red Wings Streak Stays Alive with Shootout Win over Sharks

The Detroit Red Wings winning ways continued Thursday night as they picked up a shootout victory over the San Jose Sharks, giving them three wins in a row and points in five consecutive games.

Henrik Zetterberg scored in regulation and in the shootout to lead the Red Wings to the win. Goaltender Chris Osgood made 33 saves on 34 San Jose shots before stopping both Sharks shootout chances.

After a scoreless first period the Sharks got on the board with 5:19 left in the second. Joe Callahan carried the puck into the Detroit zone on a three-on-two.

Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson fell down, leaving Brett Lebda split between Callahan and Logan Couture. Callahan moved the puck to Couture who fired a shot from the right faceoff circle between Osgood’s pads.

Zetterberg evened things up at 5:38 of the third period, poking home the rebound of a shot by Nicklas Lidstrom. San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov attempted to cover the puck but Zetterberg streaked in off a line change to get to the crease and knock it from under Nabokov’s pad and into the net.

A frantic final minutes couldn’t break the tie before the shootout was required.

Pavel Datsyuk and Zetterberg both beat Nabokov with fancy fake-outs. Nabokov stopped Jason Williams on Detroit’s second shot while Osgood stopped both Dan Boyle and Ryane Clowe.

Nabokov made 35 saves on 36 Detroit chances before the tiebreaker.

Neither team scored a power play goal on the night. San Jose had three tries with the extra attacker while Detroit had two.

The Red Wings return to action on Saturday when they begin a short road trip in Toronto. The game is the annual Hall of Fame Game, at which longtime Detroit captain Steve Yzerman will be honored along with Brian Leetch and former Red Wings Brett Hull and Luc Robitallie.