|Chelios and Joe Thornton exchange some greetings. |
-- Pavel Datsyuk
and Henrik Zetterberg
each scored a goal and had two assists Saturday, leading the Red Wings past the San Jose Sharks, 4-1, and within one victory of reaching the Western Conference finals.
Detroit is ahead 3-2 and can close this conference semifinal Monday night in San Jose.
The Red Wings outhit and outshot the Sharks in Game 5, but they also had some luck.
Datsyuk turned San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov's misplay into the winning goal late in the second period, and Nabokov didn't seem the same after that, surrendering a pair of third-period power-play goals.
With the Sharks circling in the Red Wings zone, Detroit cleared the puck into San Jose territory. Nabokov left the goal to play the puck, but sent it straight into a charging Datsyuk. He scooped it up and sent it into an open net with 3:47 to play in the second.
Less than two minutes earlier, Nabokov robbed Datsyuk of a goal by gloving his shot from close range.
Detroit, the top seed in the West, twice has come back from two-goal deficits to win games in this series, but needed only to erase a one-goal San Jose lead Saturday.
Unfortunately for the Sharks, blowing leads is becoming something of a habit. A year ago, they lost a 2-0 series lead over Edmonton in the conference semifinals.
Mikael Samuelsson added an insurance goal nearly four minutes into the final period, slapping a one-timer past Nabokov. Zetterberg and Datsyuk set up Samuelsson's first goal of the playoffs.
Tomas Holmstrom concluded the scoring, converting Zetterberg's centering pass at 13:46 left in the third. Datsyuk also picked up an assist on the play.
Detroit had evened the score at 1 three minutes into the second period on Zetterberg's fourth goal of the postseason. Nicklas Lidstrom's shot from the point trickled to Holmstrom, who slid it through the crease to Zetterberg, and he flipped it above a sprawling Nabokov.
Marcel Goc opened the scoring on what looked to be a harmless wrist shot. Mike Grier rushed the puck up the ice, sent a pass to Goc between the left circle and the blue line. Goc floated the shot in, beating Dominik Hasek inside the far post with 15:07 left in the first period. Hasek was not squared up to Goc and appeared to misread the angle of the shot.
Hasek was perfect after yielding Goc's goal, turning aside 23 shots and proving again how valuable he is to the Wings. Instead of retiring last summer when Ottawa didn't want him back, the two-time MVP and six-time Vezina Trophy winner returned to play for Detroit after helping it win a Stanley Cup in 2002.
Hasek and the Wings pulled off their strong effort on Saturday despite playing short-handed on defense much of the game.
Defenseman Mathieu Schneider injured his forearm during the first period, knocking him out of the game. Schneider, who scored the overtime goal in San Jose on Wednesday that evened the series at 2, was hurt when checked by Sharks captain Patrick Marleau.
The Wings already were ailing on defense, with Brett Lebda out with an ankle injury. Rookie Kyle Quincey took Lebda's spot in the lineup. Lebda was scratched despite practicing Friday for the first time since injuring his ankle April 21 in the opening playoff series against Calgary.
GAME NOTES: Sharks forward Bill Guerin did not play in Game 5 after a deflected shot seriously cut his face in Game 4. Rookie center Joe Pavelski took Guerin's spot in the lineup. ... Detroit has outshot its opponent in all 11 playoff games. ... Sharks right wing Jonathan Cheechoo's three-game goal-scoring streak and center Joe Thornton's seven-game assist streak both ended Saturday.