Although I predicted a Sharks victory in 7 games even I didn’t think the Wings had enough left in the tank or the talent to mount a comeback after falling behind 3-0 to the Sharks. However last night that is exactly what they did. For the first time in the series the Wings managed to outplay the Sharks for a full 60 minutes and again when they needed a last minute comeback they managed to do just that.
Although the game had 4 tallies non came in the first two periods and in a role reversal the Wings managed to drastically out shoot the Sharks 45-25. Both teams had a significant line-up change prior to Game 6: Johan Franzen couldn’t go due to a sore ankle and Mike Mondano got his second start of the postseason.. while the Sharks lost Ryan Clowe to an undisclosed upper body injury and as a result Jamie McGinn started in his place.
The first period hero was Anti Niemi no questions asked. He faced a total 18 shots and turned them all aside to keep the Sharks in it. The play of the period had to go to Pavel Datysuk a noted soccer nut and he attempted to put those skills to work by attempting to “head” in the puck off a high rebound from Niemi. Although he didn’t connect the idea itself shows his creativity and attitude to do whatever it takes.
The second period was dominated by the Wings yet again however they still couldn’t find a way to beat Niemi or the post. The best scoring opportunity of the game came in this period as Daniel Cleary jumped out of the box and was hit immediately with a pass sending him in all alone on Niemi. Cleary completed an excellent deke during which Niemi actually turned the wrong way and all Cleary had to do was slide the puck into an empty net however he someone managed to hit the post.
Finally we got to see some scoring in the 3rd period and the first blow came from the Sharks off the stick of Logan Coture. Coture whacked at a rebound from a Heatley shot and yet again it managed to sneak through Howard and just over the line. It was a weak goal that Howard should have had in a game where he really wasn’t tested that often. With only 10 minutes left in the 3rd Henrik Zetterberg finally tied the game up when he tipped a Nicklas Kronwall shot past Niemi.
After tieing the game up the Wings only waited 2 minutes before jumping ahead when Pavel Datsyuk used a backhand pass to find a wide open Valtteri Filppula in the slot who finished the play off breaking a personal playoff slump. The Wings managed to add an empty netter off the stick of Darren Helm bringing the final score of 3-1.
The game ended with a major scrum in front of Jimmy Howards net and the passion both teams displayed at the end of this game tells me that Game 7 should be a beauty. So I wanted to personally thank the Wings and Sharks for providing us hockey fans with an entertaining series to watch in a second round that has lacked excitement. Buckle up and enjoy what should be another epic Game 7.
About the Author
Written by Kirk Butler
Born and raised in Murray Harbour - PEI. Like many Canadians hockey is my religion; as a kid I had the pleasure of playing my minor hockey with Conn Smythe winner Brad Richards of the 2004 Stanley Cup winning Tampa Bay Lightning. I played competitive hockey until the age of 21 which included stops in the American Prep School System, Canadian Junior Hockey and the CIS. I now get my competitive fix on the golf course as a scratch golfer. More to come: Kirk Butler PEI, Canada