– As if being down 0-3 to the Sharks in the Western Conference semifinals wasn’t bad enough, San Jose’s Devin Setoguchi had to add insult to injury in the opening moments of Friday’s Game 4 at Joe Louis Arena.
In hindsight, Setoguchi probably would want to rethink his indiscretion.
Setoguchi’s slewfoot on Todd Bertuzzi
clearly angered the veteran forward and started a chain of positive energy that led to the Red Wings building an early three-goal lead en route to a 4-3 victory that sends the series back to San Jose for Game 5 on Sunday.
“I thought that it was a pretty noticeable slewfoot and should’ve been called,” Bertuzzi said. “But that stuff happens and I’m just glad we won and get out to San Jose.”
However, Setoguchi had a contrasting viewpoint of the play.
“It’s just playoffs,” said Setoguchi, who scored the Game 3 overtime winner. “It’s the guy you line up against and you play against, nothing really going on there. Just playing and competing, that’s what playoffs are all about, that’s about it.”
While Bertuzzi was clearly angry at Setoguchi, who used his right leg to take Bertuzzi down hard from behind, the two players continued to jaw at one another from their team benches. And though Bertuzzi landed hard on his back side, he didn’t take the worst of the hit. That went to linesman Derek Amell, who was crushed between the big power forward and the boards.
A few shifts later, Bertuzzi got the ultimate hockey payback when his second goal of these playoffs gave the Wings a 1-0 lead at 6:22 of the first period.
Bertuzzi entered the Sharks’ zone and spun away from Dany Heatley before back-handing a laser from the middle of the right face-off circle, which was re-directed off of Douglas Murray’s stick and into the top half of the net.
“I got a good pass up there and just tried to take it to the inside and I got it moving in the right way,” Bertuzzi said. “I got around them and tried to get a good hard shot on the net and it was nice to see it go in.”
Irregardless of what the players thought of Setoguchi’s takedown, the dirty play seemed to energize Bertuzzi who led all forwards on both teams with five shots on goal. He only had four shots in the first three games of the series. He also picked up an assist when he started a play in the defensive zone that resulted in Nicklas Lidstrom
’s first of two goals in the first period.
“One could argue we lost that game the first 17 or 18 minutes,” Sharks forward Ryane Clowe said. “We were real sloppy defensively, almost awkward, weird kind of goals back hands, spinaramas, guy bats one out of the air. Unfortunately at the end they showed more poise than we did and got the winning goal.”