RED WINGS at SHARKS
TV: VERSUS (HD), TSN (HD), RDS (HD), FSN-D (HD), CSN-CA (HD)
(San Jose leads best-of-seven series, 3-1)
It's doubtful there were many people who thought before the start of this series that San Jose would sweep Detroit in four straight games, and although the Sharks did indeed find themselves in that position on Thursday night, it didn't take very long to see they weren't going to pull off the feat.
The Red Wings scored five goals before the horn sounded to end the first period and Johan Franzen
finished the night with four goals and six points to spark a 7-1 rout. The teams then headed back to California for Saturday's Game 5 at HP Pavilion and San Jose's second chance to eliminate Detroit and move on to the Western Conference Finals.
"I think we move on and it's over," Sharks coach Todd McLellan told the San Jose Mercury News. "We have to put it behind us. If we carry that baggage or luggage with us, we'll be behind the 8-ball."
Facing the end of the road if Game 4 ended up the same way the previous three against San Jose had, Detroit came out clicking on all cylinders Thursday. It originally appeared Franzen had scored the first four goals of the game, but the one that started the scoring was later credited to Todd Bertuzzi
on a tip. Nevertheless, the Red Wings chased Evgeni Nabokov from the net after 20 minutes and Jimmy Howard
turned aside 28 of the 29 shots against him as the two-time defending conference champs made a statement they shouldn't be counted out just yet.
"We won a game," Mike Babcock told the Detroit Free Press after the team arrived in San Jose on Friday. "We have to win another game. That's the big thing here, all these games, both teams have had opportunities to win. We've got to find a way to get a win (Saturday)."
As bad as the carnage was, the bottom line is San Jose only lost one game and still holds a commanding lead in the series. Only two NHL teams have ever climbed all the way back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series, and Detroit still has to win three more to become the third. Still, the Sharks know they need to bring a much better effort than the one that led to Nabokov getting shelled for five goals on just nine shots.
"We had a lot of breakdowns and he was kind of left out to dry on a lot of those goals," forward Dany Heatley told the Mercury News. "He's a mentally strong guy and he'll be ready to go."
Franzen has at least one point in each of the Red Wings' 11 postseason games, and he set a franchise record in Game 4 with his six points. Bertuzzi had a goal and four assists, doubling his output in each category for the previous 10 games. Henrik Zetterberg
had a pair of assists for his second straight multi-point effort. … Heatley had the Sharks' lone tally on Thursday, giving him two goals and six points for the series.
Detroit defenseman Brad Stuart
is day-to-day after leaving Game 4 with a lower-body injury, while forward Patrick Eaves
has not played since Game 1 due to a sore right elbow. … San Jose has been without defenseman Niclas Wallin (lower body) since Game 1 of the opening round.
Franzen's first-period hat trick in Game 4 for the Red Wings featured the second-fastest three goals in NHL playoff history. They came in a span of 3:26, just two seconds off the record set by Tim Kerr of the Flyers on April 13, 1985, against the Rangers. … The Sharks' power play is for 5-for-27 in the series, but three of the goals came during 5-on-3 advantages.
Just as a fast start was key for Detroit in getting the Joe Louis Arena faithful behind them in Game 4, San Jose forward Scott Nichol knows it could be a major lift to get an early goal or two in Game 5 and leave the Shark Tank faithful tasting blood.
"The fans create a lot of momentum for us and anxiety for the other team," he told the Mercury News. "We need to have a good start and create energy in the building."