DETROIT – It was almost the complete opposite of Game 5 except for one thing: The team that got outplayed for most of the game actually lost Game 6 of this Western Conference Semifinal series between the San Jose Sharks and Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night at Joe Louis Arena.
The Red Wings again came from behind in the third period for the second straight game to edge the Sharks 3-1 and force a Game 7 on Thursday night in San Jose. The Sharks actually outplayed Detroit in Game 5, but wound up losing that one by allowing three goals in the third period after grabbing a 3-1 lead.
In this one, Detroit dominated the action for almost the entire game and again wound up on top. For the Sharks, however, all is not lost – they still have the final game on home ice, just as the Vancouver Canucks did in the first round against the Chicago Blackhawks in the same scenario.
Sharks captain Joe Thornton and his teammates watched that series unfold and now find themselves playing the role of the Canucks – who beat Chicago in overtime of Game 7. Talking about that afterward and also what San Jose needs to do to regroup was Thornton, who had a rough night – finishing with no points and a minus-1 rating.
Q: Joe, what does this team now need to do heading into Game 7?
A: Just refocus. Just get ready for Game 7 at home. Forget about tonight because we didn’t play very well and just get energized and be ready for Game 7.
Q: Can you just comment on the play of Antti Niemi tonight?
A: Great. He played super. He gave us a chance to win. We just couldn’t win it, but it was just a fantastic performance.
Q: Did you guys feel like you were going to steal one?
A: Yeah, when a goalie plays like that you do. You score that goal and you thought it might be enough, but it wasn’t, so whatever.”
Q: Do you guys now take heart in what happened in the first round with Vancouver and Chicago? A lot of people thought the Canucks were in trouble, too.
A: Before this series started, you think, 'These two teams, they’re two and three (in the West) and it’s probably going to go six or seven,' so it’s no surprise it’s going seven. It’s been a great series so far.
Q: Aside from the losses, has it been fun to play in?
A: Yeah, you know, 25 other teams would love to be in this position to be honest with you. It’s too bad we couldn’t finish tonight, but we’re going to try and do it in front of our fans at home.
Q: Some guys talked before the game about getting comfortable to start the game. Was it comfortable for you guys at all out there?
A: It was, but hey, they play good at home. That’s the bottom line. They play good at home and we play good at home. You knew they were going to come out and get on us. We tried, but early on Antti kind of held us in the game, but they’re a good team to play at home.
Q: When you got the 1-0 lead, obviously you can’t feel comfortable?
A: No you can’t, as we’ve seen last game. It’s just a couple unforced errors, kind of like last game and they’re in the back of your net. So, clean it up there and we’ll be fine.