DETROIT -- No one knows if this season will be the swan song for Nicklas Lidstrom, but goaltender Jimmy Howard thinks the 41-year-old defenseman could play forever.
"I bet you he could," Howard said. "He's just so smart out there. He's the smartest hockey player I've ever played with, bar none. He just never puts himself in a compromising position. He's just a tremendous hockey player."
There was speculation that if the Red Wings didn't stave off elimination in Game 4 against the San Jose Sharks, it might have been Lidstrom's final NHL game. Instead, it was Lidstrom leading the way in the Red Wings' 4-3 victory that ensured he'd get at least one more game this season, and maybe in his career.
Lidstrom scored two goals in the first period -- he has four in the series -- and one of them was of the world-class variety that players in their primes would have a hard time scoring. He controlled a rocket of a pass from Henrik Zetterberg with his shin pad and popped it up about waist-high, where he then knocked it out of the air and into the net to make it 3-0.