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Breakdown: Game 5 vs. Sharks

by Staff Writer / Detroit Red Wings

By Michael Caples |

The Wings had six shots in the third period of Game 5 on Sunday night. However, they scored on 50 percent of them.

Detroit fought back from a 3-1 deficit in the final period, with Jonathan Ericsson, Dan Cleary, and Tomas Holmstrom scoring in a span of 10:09 to earn a second straight win.

San Jose took control of Game 5 early, outshooting the Wings 16-7 in the opening period. Devin Setoguchi recorded a goal late in the first, and Joe Pavelski added to the Sharks’ lead with five minutes remaining in the second period.

Niklas Kronwall scored with 3:35 left in the second period to pull the Wings within one, only to see Logan Couture regain the two-goal lead in the opening minute of the third.

However, a pass from Pavel Datsyuk that glanced off Henrik Zetterberg’s stick found it’s way to Ericsson, who fired it past goaltender Antti Niemi to make the score 3-2. The goal gave the Wings a momentum boost, and Dan Cleary tied the game with a wraparound goal less than two minutes later.

Holmstrom redirected a point shot from Nicklas Lidstrom to give the Wings their first lead of the night with 6:08 remaining in regulation, and Detroit held on to record the victory.

Now, the Wings will head back to Detroit for Game 6, which will be played Tuesday night. A win on home ice would mean that the Wings would travel once more to San Jose, for a series-deciding Game 7. That game would be played on Thursday.

When Logan Couture scored 54 seconds into the third period, it looked as though he gave the Sharks a two-goal lead that would be insurmountable for the Red Wings. However, a bouncing puck off the stick of Henrik Zetterberg changed the game’s storyline. Pavel Datsyuk tried to pass to find Zetterberg to the right of the San Jose goal, and Zetterberg partially fanned on a shot attempt. The puck bounced to Jonathan Ericsson, who was left all alone in the slot in front of Antti Niemi. The young defenseman fired the puck past the Sharks’ goaltender, cutting the Sharks’ lead in half, and putting the Wings on the right rack for the comeback.

6 Shots by the Wings in the third period of Game 5.
3 Goals by the Wings in the same period.
16 Face-off wins by Henrik Zetterberg, most of any player in Game 5. No other Wing had more than four.
25 Hits by the Wings. San Jose had 21.
3 Takeaways by San Jose captain Joe Thornton. San Jose had 11 total, while the Wings had six.

Pavel Datsyuk
G A P +/- Shots
0 3 3 +2 1

Joe Pavelski
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 +1 6

Jimmy Howard
42 39 3 59:55 .928

Antti Niemi
22 18 4 58:47 .818

Jimmy Howard
42 39 3 59:55 .928

Dan Boyle - D

24:32 - T0I, +1 rating

Niklas Kronwall - D

24:52 - T0I, +1 rating

Tomas Holmstrom scored the game-winning goal for the Wings in Game 5, but it was because of Pavel Datsyuk’s remarkable puck-handling skills that Detroit even got a scoring chance.  Datsyuk got the puck inside the left face-off circle, and waited patiently for a pass. He continued to hold the puck even as Patrick Marleau gave him a hit to his upper-body. Datsyuk shrugged Marleau off, then dished the puck backwards to Nicklas Lidstrom, who fired the puck towards the San Jose goal and Holmstrom tipped it past Niemi.

The Sharks almost doubled the Wings in shots in Game 5. However, Howard was up to the task, and continued to keep the Wings in the game while they tried to find their offense. Two of his biggest saves came on Dan Boyle, who got free for back-to-back scoring chances in the second period. First Howard robbed him with the glove, and then with a leg pad on Boyle’s shot from just above the crease. Howard made 11 stops in the third after Couture’s goal, helping the Wings rally to tie and take the lead.

It’s a tie between Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. Aside from Howard, the ‘Eurotwins’ carried the Wings to the win in Game 5. Datsyuk, who was a game-time decision because of an undisclosed injury, managed assists on three of the Wings’ four goals during his 21:41 of ice-time. Zetterberg, meanwhile, skated for 23 minutes, most of any forward on the Detroit roster. He won 16 face-offs (64 percent), including multiple wins on an important penalty kill with five minutes remaining, and the final face-off with 2.9 seconds left. Zetterberg helped carry the Wings’ forwards with Johan Franzen not being able to finish the game.

Earlier this week, Ryane Clowe said that he was frustrated with Niklas Kronwall’s hit on Dany Heatley in Game 3. Now, he knows how Heatley felt after the hit. Kronwall lined up Clowe for a devastating check along the boards between both team’s benches with just under two minutes to go in the second period. It was the second big play by Kronwall in a matter of minutes; he scored the Wings’ first goal of the night not even two minutes earlier.

Shots were at a premium for the Red Wings Sunday night. Heading into the first TV time-out of the game, the Wings had already been outshot 9-3. At the end of one period, the Sharks had 16 shots; the Wings had 7. Then, in the second period, the Wings were outshot 14-9. Detroit was even outshot in the third – where they scored three goals – by a count of 12-6. The final shots count was 42-22 in favor of San Jose.

“Well, obviously, Howie got us to the third period. Our ‘D’ was good and our goaltending was good, but we weren’t competitive enough up front. Howard played real well … we didn’t do much for him. Before the third we talked about it, ‘Howie’s giving us an opportunity, if we want to dig in here, we can win this game.’”

- Mike Babcock talking about goaltender Jimmy Howard and his team's defense, and how the Wings came back to win Game 5 in the third period.

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