Western Conference Semifinals, Game 3 (5/4/10)

Tonight the Red Wings and the Sharks moved to Detroit for game three. The starting goalies were once again Howard and Nabokov. Eaves was still out of the lineup so Williams was in again. They also had a change on defense. Lilja was replaced with Lebda in order to provide a quicker outlet pass.

In the first period Filppula passed across the slot to Zetterberg who was heading toward the net. The puck went off his skate as he was putting on the brakes and it went in the net. It was called a goal on the ice but it was hard to tell if he was kicking or just stopping. After a lengthy video review the goal was disallowed because of a distinct kicking motion. It was really too close to call so I thought it would have been left as called on the ice but I guess they felt it was definitive enough to overturn the referee’s decision.

A few minutes later the Wings did it again and this time it counted. Franzen brought the puck into the zone and shoveled it ahead to Holmstrom. He sent it back to Lidstrom and they all cycled. Holmstrom went to the net and Franzen circled around to the left side. Lidstrom took it around the back of the net and passed it to Franzen who centered it to Holmstrom. He tapped it in for the first goal of the game. That was some great puck movement and it put the Wings up one to nothing. They again reviewed it and for a moment I thought they were going to overturn that one, too but the call on the ice stood.

Later in the first period Bertuzzi had a nice wrap around try and Nabokov stopped it. Couture shoved the puck into the net goalie’s pads in the crease and he was called for covering the puck and Bertuzzi was awarded a penalty shot. Although this one was in the Red Wings’ favor it was another abysmal call. Couture never covered the puck. He just pushed it with his glove. What a terrible call. Zetterberg took the penalty shot. He tried the backhand and Nabokov gloved it on the goal line. It was an incredible save.

A few minutes later the Wings were pressuring again. Miller got the puck and tried to send it around the back of the net but it hit the referee and came back to him. He passed it to Cleary in the slot who one-timed it into the back of the net to put the Wings up by two with under two minutes left in the period.

The Wings had a nearly perfect period but with less than three seconds left the Sharks scored. Setoguchi had the puck along the back boards. He passed it to Pavelski and went to the slot. Pavelski got it back to Setoguchi who released a turnaround shot that just barely squeaked under Jimmy Howard’s pad while he was moving.

So the first period ended with Detroit up two to one. They had outshot the Sharks 14 to 8 so it was a pretty good period.

Early in the second period Filppula had the puck and sent it deep to Zetterberg near the goal line along the side boards. He flipped it towards the net and it hit Murray’s skate and went right by Nabokov and in. The Red Wings were up by two again.

The Wings ended the second period on the penalty kill after Franzen was called for tripping.

The Red Wings killed off the rest of the penalty but the Sharks had all the momentum to start the third period. The Wings seemed to be on their heels. They were playing conservatively and weren’t generating much offense.

Then the Sharks won a faceoff in the Wings’ end and Thornton ended up with it. He took the puck around the net, stepped out front and fired. The puck hit Datsyuk’s stick and redirected into the net making it a one goal game with over 13 minutes left.

After that Jimmy Howard made several spectacular saves to keep the game under control.

Later Couture took a pass deep in the Wings’ end. He was standing on the goal line when he shot it. It went into Howard’s pads and somehow got through into the net for the game tying goal. That was a pretty soft goal but you have to expect a few of those.

With about three minutes to go Holmstrom was called for inference. Nabokov was way out of his crease and Holmstrom was fighting for position with Boyle. Boyle went down and landed on top of Nabokov who acted like he’d been run through with a bayonet. Holmstrom was called for interfering with Boyle, not Nabokov but they were fighting for position. I guess whoever falls down first get’s the power play. It was absolute garbage.

The Wings killed off that penalty and the score held until the end of the period so the game went to overtime tied three apiece. It was the first overtime game of these playoffs for Detroit.

In the overtime period the Wings had some good chances to score but didn’t get it done. Then with about 13 minutes left in the OT, Detroit had an odd man rush. Williams shot and missed the net. The puck went hard around and came quickly out to Thornton in the neutral zone. He took off with it as Marleau joined him. They were behind everybody except Rafalski. Thornton took the puck into the Wings’ zone and passed across to Marleau who tapped it in for the game winner.

This was clearly a game that the Wings should have won. It seemed like they had it under control and then they were just outworked in the third. Now they have to win the next four games in a row and we all know how likely that is.

This 4-3 loss brings this Western Conference Semifinal series to 0-3 San Jose.

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