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Breakdown: Game 3 vs. Sharks

by Staff Writer / Detroit Red Wings

By Michael Caples |

For the second time in three games, the Red Wings and Sharks needed extra time to decide a winner. And for the second time, the Sharks managed to come away with a win.

The Wings now find themselves in the exact same position as they were last year; down 3-0 to San Jose heading into Friday’s Game 4 in Detroit.

Detroit held two different leads in Game 3, but they were unable to hold onto either. Their main problem was forward Devin Setoguchi, who recorded a hat trick, including the game-winner in overtime.

Nicklas Lidstrom, Patrick Eaves, and Pavel Datsyuk scored for the Wings, and Jimmy Howard made 34 saves. San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi had 38 saves to pick up his fourth straight win of the 2011 playoffs.

The Wings will try to force a return trip to San Jose on Friday. Last year, in a series eerily similiar to this year's, the Wings won 7-1 on home ice to force a Game 5, led by a five-point night from Johan Franzen. Puck drops at 7:00 p.m. EDT.

The Wings had an opportunity in the overtime period to take advantage of a mistake by Devin Setoguchi. The Sharks’ forward was whistled for a holding call on Todd Bertuzzi in the Red Wings’ zone, giving Detroit a rare power play in extra time. However, the Wings were only able to generate one shot on goal during the two-minute minor, and Setoguchi ended up scoring the winner for the Sharks 4:10 after he was called for holding.

36 Hits by the Wings. The Sharks had 20.
24 Shots the Sharks blocked in Game 3. The Wings blocked 11.
13 Takeaways by the Wings, while the Sharks only had 5.
7 Blocked shots by Douglas Murray, who led both teams.
365 Days since last year's Game 3, when the Sharks beat the Wings 4-3 in OT to take a 3-0 series lead.

Devin Setoguchi
G A P +/- Shots
3 0 3 +1 5

Henrik Zetterberg
G A P +/- Shots
0 2 2 -1 1

Pavel Datsyuk
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 +1 1

Antti Niemi
41 38 3 69:19 .926

Jimmy Howard
38 34 4 69:05 .895

Dan Boyle - D

25:50 - T0I, EV rating

Niklas Kronwall - D

25:02 - T0I, +1 rating

The patience Henrik Zetterberg displayed on the Wings’ first goal got the home team on the scoreboard early. Pavel Datsyuk tried to score on a wraparound, and the puck bounced out to Zetterberg in the slot. The assumption would be that Zetterberg would fire the puck towards a scrambling Antti Niemi. Instead, Zetterberg went with a between-the-legs pass backwards to Nicklas Lidstrom, who was wide-open in the slot for an easy goal.

The duo nicknamed ‘The Eurotwins’ led the Wings’ offense Wednesday night. Datsyuk and Zetterberg were the catalysts for two of Detroit’s three goals, with Datsyuk scoring on a feed from his friend late in the second period. They combined for 45:35 worth of ice-time, three points, and six shots. Both played substantial time on the power play and the penalty kill, and were the Wings’ biggest threats on offense.

Jimmy Howard continues to have an impressive postseason for the Red Wings. The Wings’ goaltender turned aside 10 shots in the opening period, eight in the second, and 15 in the third, doing anything and everything he could to help the Wings. In the play that resulted in the game-winning goal, Setoguchi fired it through one of the Wings’ defensemen, making it difficult for Howard to see the puck. He was tough in his own crease, and played an impressive 69:05 worth of ice-time.

Niklas Kronwall has become a fan favorite in Detroit for his devastating open-ice hits at the opponent’s blue line. Few have been as impressive as the hit he laid on Dany Heatley in the first period. Twelve minutes into the contest, the Wings’ defenseman ‘kronwalled’ Heatley just inside the Sharks’ blue line. Heatley struggled to get up, and play was stopped because of the hit.

The Wings took a one-goal lead into their locker room after two periods, with Datsyuk’s late strike with 1:43 left in the second. However, they lost the shots battle in the third period by a 2-1 margin. The Sharks posted 16 saves in the third period, and the Wings only had eight at the other end. Eventually, a shot got past Howard, and the Sharks were able to force overtime because of it.

“To me, I’m going to spend no time worrying about this series. I’m going to spend time worrying about our time getting prepared for one game. Then after we win that, we’ll get prepared for the next game. ... It’s been done three times in NHL history, it was done last year by Philly. It’s not easy, there’s no question about it. But I think what we have to do is, everyone’s feeling bad about it, there’s no question about that, but we’ll get up tomorrow and get regrouped and get back at it.”

- Mike Babcock on whether the Wings can still win this series.

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