SAN JOSE, CA - MAY 08: Dan Boyle #22 of the San Jose Sharks and Valtteri Filppula #51 of the Detroit Red Wings go for the puck in Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at HP Pavilion on May 8, 2011 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The Detroit Red Wings are coming home with a chance to take a step toward history. Suddenly, that seems well within reach.
Tomas Holmstrom broke a tie with 6:08 remaining, and the Red Wings scored three third-period goals to avoid elimination with a 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Sunday night.
“There’s a lot of character on this team. There’s not any quit,” said Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard, who made 39 saves. “Our season was on the line there in the third period, and we found a way.”
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.
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, leaving a sellout crowd stunned and silent.
Niklas Kronwell also scored and Pavel Datsyuk added three assists for Detroit.
“I think you put yourselves in a very dangerous position if you get back on your heels against that team,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. “I didn’t think we did that tonight. They just outplayed us in the third period.”
The Red Wings moved closer to adding to their already storied history.
The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, 1975 New York Islanders and 2010 Philadelphia FlyerS 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, that’s enough precedent to give Detroit hope that it 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.