DETROIT - MAY 10: Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks looks down in the final seconds of a 3-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings in Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 10, 2011 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Valtteri Filppula and the Detroit Red Wings kept their season going with another late rally.
Now, they’re on the verge of an even greater comeback.
Henrik Zetterberg and Filppula scored less than two minutes apart in the third period, and the Red Wings came from behind again for a 3-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night, forcing a decisive seventh game after trailing 3-0 in the pulsating second-round series.
After a night full of missed chances and agonizing bounces, Detroit scored three times in the final 9:22 in front of a delirious crowd at Joe Louis Arena.
Game 7 is Thursday night at San Jose.
“I think you have to believe all the time, whatever the score is, even if you’re behind, that you can come back,” Filppula said. “Believing we can, it’s definitely a big part of it.”
San Jose must defend home ice to avoid becoming the fourth NHL team to lose a best-of-seven series after leading 3-0.
Logan Couture scored early in the third period for the Sharks, but Zetterberg tied it with 9:22 remaining, and Filppula scored the winner with 7:28 left.
Darren Helm added an empty-net goal. Every other game in the series was decided by one goal.
“I didn’t think we should have been down 0-3, we could have won them all, so could they,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.
“That’s how tight this has been. Not much to pick between the teams.”
Detroit scored the last three goals of Game 5 to win 4-3.
The Red Wings are the second team this season to erase a 3-0 series hole. Chicago did it in the first round before losing Game 7 at Vancouver. Philadelphia came all the way back last year in the second round, winning the final four games against Boston.