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It's win or go home for Wings vs. Sharks in Game 4

by Brian Compton /


(San Jose leads best-of-7 series 3-0)

Big story -- After reaching the Stanley Cup Final a year ago and winning hockey's Holy Grail in 2008, Detroit is on the verge of being swept out of the second round this postseason. The Red Wings have lost the first three games of this series by the same score -- 4-3 -- most recently in overtime as Patrick Marleau scored at 7:07 on Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena, capping Sam Jose's comeback from a 3-1 deficit. Only two teams have ever come back from a 3-0 deficit -- the New York Islanders in 1975 and the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1942.

Team Scope:

Sharks -- Todd McLellan's group has won six straight games since Dan Boyle put the puck in his own net overtime of Game 3 in the opening round against the Colorado Avalanche. If the talk of San Jose's recent failures in the Stanley Cup Playoffs haven't gone away yet, you'd have to believe those discussions will stop if and when the Sharks advance to the Western Conference Finals.

But first things first; the Sharks still have to eliminate these Red Wings, who won't go down without a fight.

"I've been in that other locker room and I know how much fight is in that team," said McLellan, who was an assistant under Detroit coach Mike Babcock for three seasons and owns a ring from the 2008 Stanley Cup winners. "Our task is going to be tougher for the fourth win than it has been for the first three."

Red Wings -- Detroit hasn't won since its near-perfect Game 7 showing in Phoenix last Tuesday, when the Wings pummeled the Coyotes in a 6-1 victory at Arena. A conflict at HP Pavilion forced the Red Wings to start their series with San Jose two nights later, and, although they put up a fight, it was the beginning of three consecutive 4-3 losses.

The Wings have trailed 3-0 in a series 10 times in franchise history. They've been swept in eight of them.

"The reality is we've dug a huge hole for us here," Babcock said.

Who's hot -- Sharks center Joe Pavelski picked up an assist on Tuesday and has 4 goals and 3 assists in this series. Joe Thornton, meanwhile, has had a goal and an assist in each of the past two games. He set up Marleau's OT winner in Game 3 after scoring a third-period goal. … Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg had a goal and an assist on Tuesday, giving him five points in the last four games.

Injury report -- San Jose is boasting a healthy lineup. … Wings forward Patrick Eaves (arm) is day-to-day.

Stat pack -- The Red Wings were penalized six more times on Tuesday night. In Game 2 in San Jose, they gave the Sharks 10 power plays. In all, San Jose has had 20 power plays in the series to 11 for the Wings.

Puck drop -- "Any experience you can get in the playoffs, whether it's winning or losing or playing in overtime is going to help make you a better player. This experience is going to help him. Just the overall experience of playing in the playoffs is going to help him." -- Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom on goalie Jimmy Howard

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