Sports

Red Wings Avoid Elimination With 4-3 Win Over Sharks

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Tomas Holmstrom broke a tie with 6:08 remaining, and the Detroit Red Wings had three third-period goals to avoid elimination with a 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Sunday night.

Danny Cleary and Jonathan Ericsson also scored in the final period to send the series back to Detroit for Game 6 on Tuesday night. After winning the first three games, San Jose is clinging to a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski and Devin Setoguchi scored to help the Sharks take a 3-1 lead early in the third period. Then the Red Wings scored two quick goals before Holmstrom redirected the winner past Antti Niemi.

Niklas Kronwell also scored, and Jimmy Howard made 39 saves for Detroit.

The Red Wings took a huge step toward adding to their already storied history.

Only three NHL teams have overcome 3-0 deficits to win a best-of-seven series.

The 2010 Philadelphia Flyers, 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and 1975 New York Islanders are the only teams to win a series after losing the first three games. With Chicago winning three straight to force a Game 7 against Vancouver in the opening round, there’s plenty of recent precedent that Detroit can push San Jose to the brink.

The Red Wings already have overcome a repeat of last season, when they went down 3-0 to the Sharks – just like this year – before being eliminated in Game 5 at San Jose.

No encore this time.

Detroit came back again with a strong push up ice and sent several shots at Niemi after going down two goals. In a span of 1:46, the Red Wings got a goal from Ericsson and another from Cleary on a wraparound shot for the equalizer.

Then Nicklas Lidstrom’s sent a slap shot from the center that was deflected on net by Holmstrom, redirected top shelf to beat Niemi and stun a towel-waving crowd that was ready to toast a berth in the Western Conference for the second straight season.

Fans had reason to be optimistic: the Sharks had controlled the puck and forced the action from the start.

But they failed to convert on two power plays in the opening period – not even registering a shot on the first – and nearly fell behind again if not for a spectacular save from their goalie. Niemi kept the Red Wings from going ahead first, diving to his left to rob a slap shot by Ericsson with a glove save.

A few minutes later, Joe Thornton won a faceoff in Detroit’s territory and passed it back for a slap shot by Dan Boyle from just inside the blue line. Boyle’s shot was redirected by Setoguchi for his fifth goal of the playoffs to put San Jose up 1-0 with 2:42 left in the period.

The Red Wings were able to kill off another power play in the second to give themselves a chance, only to fail to even get a shot off when they had their own man advantage. Then Pavelski made them pay when he took a pass from Ryane Clowe on a 2-on-1 break, flicking the puck past Howard to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead.

The goal also was Pavelski’s fifth of the playoffs, although he didn’t have much time to celebrate. Kronwell scored 53 seconds later with a wrist shot that beat Niemi top shelf with 3:35 left in the period, quieting a towel-waving crowd that was just whipping into a frenzy.

Any momentum the Red Wings had entering the final period ended with a thud.

Dany Heatley came out of a scrum along the side boards and shoved a pass ahead to Couture, who finished on a wide-open breakaway past Howard’s left leg pads 54 seconds into the third period to give the Sharks a 3-1 cushion.

NOTES: Red Wings forward Mike Modano was a healthy scratch again. He has sat out every game in the series. … The Red Wings inserted left winger Drew Miller into the lineup and scratched Jiri Hudler. … The Sharks are 7-0 when they lead a series 3-1. … The announced attendance was a sellout crowd of 17,562. … The Sharks fell to 5-1 when they score first in the playoffs.