SAN JOSE, Calif. -- "One game at a time" is a cliche that's so cliche that it's cliche to point out how cliche it is.
But when it comes to overcoming a 3-0 series deficit in the NHL, the only way it can happen is if the team doesn't start looking at the big picture.
The Red Wings took the first step toward erasing the 3-0 hole by winning 4-3 Friday against the Sharks in Game 4. Coach Mike Babcock knows there's still a long way to go, but as was evidenced in the Blackhawks' comeback against the Vancouver Canucks that reached an overtime in Game 7, the pressure will slowly start building for San Jose.
"They want to win a game and we want to win a game," Babcock said Saturday at Sharks Ice in San Jose. "Obviously they’re up 3-1. They’re in a different situation than our situation. But the reality is, as you know, as these things go on and a team can crawl back into it, things get tighter and tighter. That’s just the facts.’’
Game 5 will be played Sunday at 5 p.m. local time (8 ET) at HP Pavilion. Kris Draper believes this game will go a long way in deciding who will win the series.
"This is the big one. I think Game 5 is huge here," Draper said. "We’re coming into their building and they obviously want to end the series. We’re going to do everything we possibly can to force Game 6. We’re going to lay it all on the line.’’
Sharks coach Todd McLellan called Saturday an "easy day" and said he didn't have to explain what went wrong in Game 4, he showed them during a video session.
“We weren’t close enough. We weren’t good enough to win that game (Friday) and we probably weren’t good enough in Game 3 (Wednesday) as well,” McLellan said. “I thought the gap got a little wider in Game 4 and we have to close it.
“(The Wings) intensity level went up and we didn’t meet. They did a lot of good things in our zone, throwing pucks at the net and getting second opportunities. Those are things we were doing well in Game 1 and Game 2 and we’ve got to get back to do some of that ourselves.”
Interestingly enough, Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said sort of the same thing Friday, that his team needed to be better in Game 5 after squandering a three-goal lead in Game 4.
And of course, the only game that matters is Sunday's. After all, if a team is to come back from down 3-0 in a series, well...
"We knew what we had to do last night. We had to win," Lidstrom said. "It's going to be the same approach tomorrow night. We just have to come out and play solid and win another game. We can't worry about anything else but the game tomorrow."
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