EPILOGUE: Detroit got lots of chances tonight. They had 62, compared to 42 for San Jose. It was another one-goal game. No sweep, no brooms tonight.
20:00 -- Clowe and Abdelkader exchange shoves and punches after the faceoff. It's done. See you Sunday.
18:33 -- The Wings have battled and battled and kept the puck like crazy late in the period. Patrick Eaves passes from the right wing to Darren Helm on the left and the Wings score.
Four Sharks were covering Eaves and that left Helm open on the left. Brian Rafalski gets the second assist. DETROIT 4, SAN JOSE 3.
13:35 -- Penalty over. Sharks now 0-2 on PP.
11:35 -- Abdelkader goes to the box for a cross-check. No. 8 for the Wings has committed a few costly penalties in this series. This will be San Jose's second PP chance.
10:29 -- Do you get the feeling it's going to be the fourth one-goal game of this series? Detroit is still outshooting San Jose, 32-22. The Sharks have the momentum right now. No arguments. Clowe and White lead the Sharks with four shots each. Douglas Murray
paces San Jose with four hits and three blocked shots.
6:12 -- Wings kill penalty.
4:12 -- Boyle gets a high stick in the head from Bertuzzi. Detroit's first penalty. The Wings have been having problems killing penalties. We'll see...
1:14 -- Puck possession is huge and San Jose kept the puck. Thanks to a breakdown in Detroit's D, Heatley gets a goal in the slot. Clowe passed it to him from behind the net. Couture gets the second assist on Heatley's third goal of the playoffs. WE'RE TIED!!! 3-3
SYNOPSIS: San Jose has some momentum right now. Just enough to have them in this game. Boyle's goal was huge. Wellwood does it again. He's just got this sense of finding the open man. Detroit is outshooting the Sharks, 27-18. They also outshot the Sharks, 10-6, in the period. White and Clowe each lead the Sharks with four shots apiece. Thornton has been good in the faceoff circle, winning nine of his 15 tries (60 percent). In case you're wondering, Lidstrom has almost 16 minutes of ice time and two goals.
QUICK NOTE: Boston is up 1-0 against Philly in the first. Bruins lead their series, 3-0.
16:29 -- Now the Wings are 1-for-5 on the power play.
14:29 -- Sharks back on the PK. Dany Heatley to the bin for tripping.
13:44 -- SHARKS SCORE! Kyle Wellwood has this knack of finding the open man. He got the puck in the left corner, went to the forehand on the turn and saw Dan Boyle open in the right circle. Boyle's shot goes past a sprawling Howard. Boyle gets his second goal of the postseason. DETROIT 3, SAN JOSE 2.
QUICK NOTES: Detroit outshooting San Jose, 8-5, in the period.
12:58 -- Penalty over. Detroit has just one PPG in four tries.
10:58 -- Penalty called. San Jose goes to the box. Torrey Mitchell
called for holding. Wings have one power play goal tonight.
7:47 -- Penalty over. Big kill based on Detroit's success on the PP.
5:47 -- Joe Thornton
goes to the box for holding the stick.
QUICK NOTE: San Jose has outscored their opponents, 13-10, in the second. They've been outscored, 13-4, in the first. Will the second period trend continue???
SYNOPSIS: Couture's goal is good for three reasons. One, it put San Jose on the board. Two, the goal came 17 seconds after the Wings got their power play goal. Three, it shows that the Sharks have plenty of bite and they're not playing on hope. Wings are outshooting San Jose, 17-12. White leads the Sharks with three shots.
QUICK NOTE: Did you notice that Lidstrom wasn't on the ice so much? Just 6:08 in the first period. He's been averaging almost 21-and-a-half minutes per game during the playoffs. This is a guy who's good for more than that. Things that make you go, hmmmm....18:18 -- San Jose responds 17 seconds later. Logan Couture gets San Jose's first tally of the game. Ryane Clowe throws the puck from the left wing towards the net. Couture gets a piece of it past Jimmy Howard. Clowe gets the assist. Couture scores his third goal of the playoffs. DETROIT 3, SAN JOSE 1.
18:01 -- Lidstrom gets his second goal of the game. Zetterberg gives him a saucer pass from the left corner and he bats it in from the slot. Pavel Datsyuk gets the second assist. The goal came after a long puck possession by Detroit in the San Jose end. DETROIT 3, SAN JOSE 0.
16:05 -- Ian White goes to the box for interference. White and Justin Abdelkader had a collision.
14:41 -- Shots favor the Wings, 13-6, right now. As we talked about at the beginning of this blog, the Wings had to play desperate hockey. They're playing like someone gave them 60 minutes to live!
13:41 -- Right now, this is the Todd Bertuzzi Show. He's got a goal and an assist. He's been on the ice for almost three minutes and has two points and two shots. Talk about using time wisely.
11:09 -- Oh boy. Nicklas Lidstrom scores for Detroit, his second of the series and third of the playoffs. Dan Cleary brings the puck along the right wing and backhands it to the net. Niemi makes the save and the carom goes out to Lidstrom, who fires it towards the open net. Bertuzzi gets the second assist. DETROIT 2, SAN JOSE 0.
QUICK NOTES: If you look at the Event Summary when pulling up stats for the game, you'll see plenty of categories. A key one tonight is not only the shots on goal, but the missed shots and blocked shots. When you combine the three, you get total chances on goal. Right now, San Jose has six shots on goal (no shots blocked or missed). Meanwhile, the Wings have 10 shots, two missed and three blocked (a total of 15 chances).
6:22 -- Spin-O-Rama time for Bertuzzi. He brings the puck along the right wing, does the spinner in the circle and backhands it top right corner. That's his second goal of the series. Henrik Zetterberg and Dan Cleary with the helpers. DETROIT 1, SAN JOSE 0
3:41 -- Niemi makes things interesting as he muffs the dump in. Shortly after that, he loses his stick and there's a dog pile of Sharks and Wings in front of Niemi's net.
2:38 -- A little edgy in the beginning. Setoguchi and Bertuzzi exchange more than a few words after Setoguchi and Bertuzzi went down.
Hello everyone and welcome to tonight's Live Game 4 Blog as the San Jose Sharks face the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Semifinals.
History could be made tonight! The Sharks have never swept an opponent in a playoff series. There have been numerous five- game eliminations, but never four straight and out of here.
Most Sharks fans have a hate for the Red Wings in the same manner that 49ers fans hate the Cowboys and Giants fans despise anything in Dodger blue. Detroit has been the monkey on the Sharks back for many years -- in regular season and the playoffs. If San Jose can win tonight, fans would be treated to a doubleheader -- eliminating the Wings and sweeping them at the same time.
What to look for:
* DESPERATION HOCKEY. That's a given. Both sides will be desperate. Detroit wants to get on their jet and come to San Jose for a Sunday afternoon game. San Jose wants to end this thing, get some rest and prepare for the winner of the Vancouver/Nashville series.
* SPECIAL TEAMS: Broken record, but nearly every time Detroit goes to the penalty box, good things happen for the Sharks. Detroit had trouble killing penalties in the quarterfinals vs. Phoenix and ditto in the semifinals. On the flip side, when Detroit is on the power play, they fare very well, scoring nearly 26 percent of the time.
* GOALTENDING: How about that Antti Niemi
? He's come up with some big saves at big times. Granted that the save percentage (.900) and the goals-against average (2.99) don't reflect impressive numbers, but it's like the pitcher who gives up a lot of home runs. If he gives up a lot of solo shots at unimportant times, that's okay. But does he get the outs with men in scoring position? The same analogy can be used with Niemi. He's making saves at opportune times. His saves have been momentum changers.
* HOPE FLOATS RIGHT OUT OF HERE: Drew Remenda's blog today focused on how the Sharks aren't playing "Hope Hockey." He's right. In the past, San Jose could give up a goal and you'd think the bottom fell out of the stock market. These days, if the opponent scores, big deal. Just work hard and get the next one. Or they'll do whatever to create an opportunity and not hope that a break will come their way. From here on out, there can't be any "Hope Hockey" for the Sharks.
Enjoy the game!!!
REFEREES: Dan O'Halloran and Brad Watson
LINESMEN: Derek Amell and Pierre Racicot