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Sharks take aim again at eliminating Red Wings

by Dave Lozo /


(San Jose leads best-of-seven series, 3-1)

Big story:
In a series that's been a mirror image of their matchup in last year's conference semifinals, Game 4 looked like it would be a carbon copy, too. The Red Wings jumped to a 3-0 lead one year to the day of their 7-1 victory in Game 4 against the Sharks. But this time, it wouldn't be a blowout. The Sharks rallied to tie it at 3-3, but Darren Helm's goal with 1:27 left in the third period helped the Red Wings survive and force Game 5. Of their last eight matchups in the playoffs, seven have been one-goal games. The Sharks had been 6-0 in those contests before Friday.
Team Scope:

Sharks: The last thing the Sharks wanted to do was give the Red Wings a reason to believe they can come back in the series, but they did just that. The Red Wings have improved from game to game and played their best during Games 3 and 4 at Joe Louis Arena.

The Sharks believed the Red Wings were the better team in Game 3 but didn't catch any breaks. The same could be said for Game 4, only this time the Red Wings got the big goal that kept the series going after overwhelming the Sharks in the first period.

"I'm not happy with the split," defenseman Dan Boyle said. "I don't think anybody here is. We all wanted to win tonight and, you know, now they've got momentum going on their side. We need to get back to work and use our home ice to our advantage and get back to starting quickly and playing well."

Red Wings: Perhaps there was too much pride in the locker room to allow their season to end so unceremoniously. Maybe it was players rallying around the idea that they wanted to get Nicklas Lidstrom at least one more game.

Lidstrom scored twice in the first period and has 4 goals in the series. But as well as he and the Wings played in Game 4, they still squandered a three-goal lead before getting the win.

"Every game has been a battle. It's been so close," Lidstrom said. "You make a couple mistakes and both teams have capitalized on it. That's been the case so far. As a team, we have to tighten up a lot more defensively and not give them those clear-cut chances we have been."

Who's hot: Ryane Clowe has been far and away the Sharks' most consistent player in the postseason. His 12 points in 10 games are good for a tie for second-most in the playoffs. … Lidstrom has 4 goals and an assist in the series. His 4 goals have come on just 11 shots.
Injury report: The only injury facing either team -- and the Red Wings don't officially list him as injured -- is Johan Franzen, who appears to be playing through some serious pain in his ankle
Stat pack: Helm is the only the second player to score a tiebreaking goal in the last five minutes of the third period in the 2011 playoffs. The other player to do that was the Rangers' Brandon Dubinsky at the 18:21 mark of the third period in Game 3 of New York's first-round series against the Capitals.

Puck drop: "It wasn't a heart-breaking loss," Clowe said. "It wasn't like we blew a lead or anything. They scored at the end of the game and they deserved to win. They were better. They probably deserved to win (Game 3), but you know what -- we came back tonight and kept going. Give them credit. They're a good team, but we'll be better."

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