Western Conference Semifinals, Game 6 (5/10/11)

The Red Wings faced elimination for the third game in a row tonight as the Sharks were at Joe Louis Arena for game six. The goalies again were Howard and Niemi. Franzen was out with a bad ankle so Modano was in the lineup tonight. Also, Draper was out and Hudler was back in for this game.

The Wings were in charge of this game from the first drop of the puck until the final horn. It was the most dominating performance I’ve seen in a long time. Every other game in this series has been very even, but not tonight. The only problem was that all that domination didn’t translate into goals. The Wings had tons of incredible scoring chances and weren’t able to convert. Niemi made some great (and some lucky) saves, and the Red Wings missed a lot of wide open nets.

For the first two periods there were no goals. It felt like it should have been about three to nothing Detroit, but the Sharks just kept hanging around. Then, early in the third period, Couture banged a puck by Howard and it just barely crossed the goal line giving the Sharks the lead with the first goal of the game. It felt like a terrible injustice with the way the Wings had been playing.

It had no effect on the Detroit bench. They just kept plugging away and showed no signs of concern let alone panic.

Then Kronwall came off the bench and fired a shot from the high slot after a nice feed from Filppula. Zetterberg tipped the puck in front of the net and deflected it by Niemi tying the game.

A few minutes later Datsyuk fed one across the front of the net to Filppula who tapped it in, giving the Red Wings the well-deserved lead.

Detroit kept up the pressure and San Jose pulled their goalie near the end. Helm got the puck just across center and fired one for the empty-net insurance goal. And the Red Wings hung on for the win.

They did it again. That’s three elimination games in a row that the Wings have survived. The Sharks have to be shaking their heads. It’s no mystery how the Wings won tonight though. They were clearly the better team for the entire game. Howard was amazing. Datsyuk also continued his domination all over the ice. The whole team played and skated as well as I’ve seen all year.

Now the series is all even and will be decided Thursday night in San Jose. All that’s left is for the Red Wings to cap an epic comeback and move on to the next round. Let’s go Red Wings!

This 1-3 win brings this Western Conference Semifinal series to a 3-3 tie.

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