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Shinma

5/12/11. WCSF, Game 7. Red Wings @ Sharks. Versus/CBC/FSNDHD. 9:00pm. Series TIED 3-3

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Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men

who find it easier to live in the world they've been given

than to explore the power they have to change it.

Impossible is not fact, it's an opinion.

Impossible is not a declaration, it's a dare.

Impossible is potential.

Impossible is temporary.

Impossible is NOTHING.

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Presents the following thread:

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3 @ 3

In their 20th consecutive playoff appearance,

Your 11 time Stanley Cup Champion

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AT

The San Jose Sharks

This game is a presentation of:

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Western Conference Semi-Finals

Game 7

Location: HP Pavilion, San Jose, Cali.

Date: Thu., May 12th, 2011

Time: 9:00pm EST

Television Broadcast Provided by:

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The Versus Network

Also: Fox Sports Detroit

Also: TSN2 Network

Radio Broadcast Provided by:

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XM Radio: Channels 204

Goaltending Matchup:

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Det. - Jimmy Howard (7-3) 2.44 GAA, .925 SV %, 0 SO

S.J. - Antti Niemi (6-5) 3.10 GAA, .901 SV %, 0 SO

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sCPgE1KXIHI

Wings beat Sharks 3-1 to force Game 7

DETROIT -- It's not surprising that the Red Wings reached down deep for a second game in a row for a comeback victory. With their veteran leadership and two decades of success, it's not even shocking that they've fought off elimination for a third consecutive time.

But maybe it's a bit bewildering that with the Red Wings less than 10 minutes away from calling it a season, it was Valtteri Filppula who emerged as the hero.

The 27-year-old, who hadn't registered a point in five games against the San Jose Sharks, showed poise in setting up the tying goal by Henrik Zetterberg with 9:22 left in the third period, then scored the winner 1:54 later to help give the Red Wings a 3-1 victory Tuesday night in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals at Joe Louis Arena.

The Red Wings have turned a 3-0 deficit into a 3-3 series with a decisive Game 7 set for Thursday night at HP Pavilion in 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."

"I thought he was excellent," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "He was a guy we obviously needed more from. He's an important guy for us."

The Red Wings now have a chance to truly make history. Only three teams -- the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, the 1975 New York Islanders and 2010 Philadelphia Flyers -- have ever won a playoff series after being down 3-0.

Even 41-year-old Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom, who has seen it all and done it all with the Red Wings, has a chance to accomplish something new in his illustrious career.

"I haven't been in a situation like this before, but I've played in Games 7s in the past and know the importance of the game," Lidstrom said. "It'll be a fun game to go out there and play."

The Sharks had a chance to win only because of goaltender Antti Niemi, who played his finest game of the playoffs. He made 32 saves through the first two periods and 42 overall.

The first period was all Niemi, as he singlehandedly kept the Red Wings from jumping to a multi-goal lead with his outstanding play. He stopped all 18 shots he faced while the Sharks could muster only six shots. It's tough to pick Niemi's best save, but he made two in a row on Tomas Holmstrom and Brian Rafalski with the Red Wings on an abbreviated power play late in the period.

First, Niemi stopped Holmstrom from point-blank range with his blocker. Seconds later, Niemi gloved a blast from Rafalski, snaring it and not allowing a rebound with heavy traffic just above his crease.

Niemi nearly stole the game and the series for the Sharks, but in the end, San Jose players felt the overall performance of the team wasn't worthy of a victory.

"You can't take much out of this game other than Nemo was great," Sharks defenseman Doug Murray said. "We put up an embarrassing effort. It's nothing to do with X's and O's. It's about whatever it takes to get yourself ready. We weren't skating, we weren't making quick plays, we weren't doing anything right.''

Despite all that, Logan Couture gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead at 3:54 of the third period. After goaltender Jimmy Howard, who made 24 saves and wasn't tested all that much, stopped a shot from Dany Heatley, the rebound popped into the air, where Couture quickly deflected it through Howard's legs. The puck crossed the goal line by just inches, but a video replay confirmed it was a good goal.

But for the second game in a row, a goal by Couture woke up the Red Wings.

Now the Sharks are the team facing a true test, much like the Vancouver Canucks were after wasting a 3-0 lead during the first round against the Chicago Blackhawks before a dramatic overtime win in Game 7. Sharks captain Joe Thornton said the last thing anyone in his dressing room is thinking about is pressure.

"Just ask Detroit -- they lost three in a row and their confidence wasn't frayed," Thornton said. "We're a confident group, still. You work 82 games to get home ice in these Game 7s. Now we just have to make it work."

Filppula's assist that tied the game came after be beat Demers in the corner and hit a cutting Niklas Kronwall with a drop pass. Kronwall's blast was deflected only slightly be Zetterberg, who finally broke through against a practically invincible Niemi to tie the score.

Pavel Datsyuk, who once again looks like his injured hand isn't hurting him at all, then flipped a cross-ice backhand pass to a cutting Filppula, who made no mistake as he buried the winner.

The Sharks had a chance to tie it after Justin Abdelkader took an offensive-zone holding penalty, but failed to score with the man advantage for a third straight game. The Sharks are 0-for-8 since they went up 3-0 in the series.

Now it's just a matter of making sure they end up on the wrong side of history. For the Red Wings, they'll try to use that composure that has served them so well since being pushed to the brink after Game 3.

"This team is working truly hard here," Howard said. "Nobody was feeling bad about us being down 3-0 in the series. We weren't about to hang our heads, either. Even though we were down 3-0, there was still a calmness about this team."

Notes:

Having experience, leadership and toughness is great. But it appears the Red Wings also have a wounded animal mentality -- they're at their most dangerous when they feel threatened.

Trailing in two straight third periods, the Red Wings amped up their play in both situations. In Game 6, it was Valtteri Filppula who rose to the occasion, assisting on Henrik Zetterberg's tying goal and scoring the winner a couple minutes later off a great feed from Pavel Datsyuk. There's an air of calm around the Red Wings, and it's paid off as they've faced elimination for three straight games.

Now they have to gather themselves, refocus, and do it one more time to make history.

“We’ve been taking the one-game at-a-time approach since we were down 3-0 and that’s going to be our same approach for Game 7,” captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. “We’ve just got to go out there and win one game. That’s it. That’s totally our approach. We can’t relax because every game has been so tight and so close. We’re not done yet. That’s going to be the same approach for Game 7."

Clowe missed Game 6 and will likely be a game-time decision at best for the Sharks. He did not fly with the team to Detroit after taking a massive, clean hit from Niklas Kronwall in Game 5. Clowe did not come out of the game, and the Sharks say the hit has nothing to do with the injury. … Detroit’s Johan Franzen (ankle) gutted out his injury for five games before sitting out Tuesday night. It's possible he could come back for Game 7, but it's more likely the Red Wings will once again go with Mike Modano.

Projected Lines:

Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Holmstrom

Miller-Filppula-Modano

Cleary-Abdelkader-Bertuzzi

Draper-Helm-Eaves

Franzen scratched

Lidstrom-Stuart

Ericsson-Rafalski

Kronwall-Salei

Howard

MacDonald

Osgood

Series Schedule:

Game 1: DET 1 @ SJ 2 OT

Game 2: DET 1 @ SJ 2

Game 3: SJ 4 @ DET 3 OT

Game 4: SJ 3 @ DET 4

Game 5: DET 4 @ SJ 3

Game 6: SJ 2 @ DET 3

Game 7: Thursday, May 12 at San Jose, TBD VERSUS, TSN

First round:

Game 1: PHO 2 @ DET 4

Game 2: PHO 3 @ DET 4

Game 3: DET 4 @ PHO 2

Game 4: DET 6 @ PHO 3

Don't Stop Believin'.

rfUYuIVbFg0

Edited by Shinma

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Hudler/Draper/Miller/Modano, who gets the scratch for this one?

Miller.

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The way Abdelkader has been taking penalties I wouldn't mind throwing his name into the mix of possible scratches...

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The way Abdelkader has been taking penalties I wouldn't mind throwing his name into the mix of possible scratches...

Yeah, where did Abdelkader ever learn to take so many bad penalties. Was his locker next to Bertuzzi's last year or something like that?

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Hudler/Draper/Miller/Modano, who gets the scratch for this one?

Abdelkader. He has taken so many horrible penalties to try to make up for the fact that he's completely outclassed out there. The Wings could really do without him for the rest of this series and years going forward.

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14. Red Wings center Jiri Hudler recovered from the stomach flu in time for the playoffs by sticking to a strict diet of Doritos. (And here I had always thought it was Pop Tarts that had mysterious healing powers.)

Anyone else read this??? Just saw this in this article: David Fleming has 50 reasons why he's hooked on all things hockey - ESPN

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If the Wings play a good game but lose I will still consider it a good game and not be disappointed. This has been an epic series. Don't think there will be any psychological effects on the Wings. Whether they win or lose will depend on the Sharks and the hockey breaks that happen during a game. It won't be about one team "wanting it more".

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Very nervous.

I'm hoping for a nailbiter. After the first six games, a comfortable victory for either team wouldn't be right.

I won't complain though if the wings win a laugher....

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It's time for a Howard shutout and a Neimi meltdown. :classic:

And yes, my game 7 anxiety is very strong and getting worse by the minute.:paranoid:

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I think the first 10 minutes will tell us a lot.

I couldn't agree more. If the Wings could somehow jump on the Sharks with an early goal, the fans may turn on the Sharks. Even some sloppy play might do the trick.

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I would like to see a game 7 Wings domination reminiscent of beating Roy in the game 7 against the Av's in 2002. The 7-0 laugher the game after Roy's Statue of Liberty gaff. That was a good day.

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I had a final today and I've been more nervous about this game!

Want to mention that the game thread is perfect today, as usual Shinma.

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I couldn't agree more. If the Wings could somehow jump on the Sharks with an early goal, the fans may turn on the Sharks. Even some sloppy play might do the trick.

The way I see it, the game can be practically won by the Wings in the 1st period but the Wings can't really lose it after only 1 period. Even if the Wings are down by 2 headed into the 3rd, the Sharks and their fans would have cause to be nervous. But if the Wings outplay the Sharks in the 1st AND come out of the 1st with a lead, things will be looking really, really good. Wings need to put the skate to the neck right from the start.

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I think the first 10 minutes will tell us a lot.

This is standard cliche but really the first 10 minutes haven't meant much in any game this series. Not sure why tonight would be different.

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I have the nervousness peaking right now, and I'm a Canucks fan.

I desperately want to see a VAN-DET series, not for any increased chances of success (which it isn't at all), but because it would be the most entertaining, fun series imaginable. Also, I'd be able to attend Games 3-4 at the minimum due to being back home.

Plus, I like everyone here and I come from a Wings household.

Enjoy this, and best of luck to the Wings!

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This is standard cliche but really the first 10 minutes haven't meant much in any game this series. Not sure why tonight would be different.

Because there is some thought that the Wings broke through and solved the Sharks as evidenced by their Game 6 domination. That sometimes happens later in a series. Teams play pretty even for several games, then one side finally figures the other out and is almost easily able to close them out. Doesn't always happen. Game 5 of the '09 SCF in which the Wings dominated but then went on to lose Games 6 and 7 is a perfect example. But if the Wings carry on in the 1st period right where they left off in Game 6, we'll realize that it could be the case in this instance.

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I desperately want to see a VAN-DET series, not for any increased chances of success (which it isn't at all), but because it would be the most entertaining, fun series imaginable.

I have a million reasons to want the Wings to win, but you've stated the main one. It would be a circus here in Vancouver. Wild, win or lose. To me, May 2011 would take me back to September 1987 living in a U of T dorm in downtown Toronto as the Tigers-Jays duked it out in their classic pennant race. Could be even better, because unlike September 1987, this month didn't start off with me being dumped by a girl!

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