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Wings not counting on Sharks crumbling

Friday, 05.4.2007 / 12:00 AM ET / News
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Wings not counting on Sharks crumbling
By Larry Lage, The Associated Press

ROMULUS, Mich. -- Mike Babcock is putting his celebration on hold.

Detroit's coach did not show a lot of emotion, as usual, when the Red Wings beat the San Jose Sharks in overtime and tied the Western Conference semifinal.

"I'll jump up and down at the end," Babcock said Thursday, shortly after the team's plane arrived home. "I'll save it until then, how's that?"

The end won't be Saturday, when Detroit hosts Game 5, because the Wings' second victory in the series after trailing 2-0 has turned the matchup into a best-of-three series.

"Everyone predicted this series was going to go six or seven. Without a doubt it's lived up to all the hype," defenseman Mathieu Schneider said. "It's been an incredible series to play in and I'm sure it's been a great series to watch.

"Both teams, so much speed, that's what playoff hockey's all about."

Lang's late third period goal tied Game 4. (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Robert Lang scored with just over 30 seconds left in regulation and Schneider's goal won the game 16:04 into overtime.

After being within a seconds of a 3-1 lead in the series, Sharks coach Ron Wilson lashed out at his players.

"We need some of our guys to wake up," Wilson said. "You can't take a week off in the second round of the playoffs. We also need to have more contributions and creativity from more than just one line.

"Both losses in this series hurt, but you have to bounce back. Some of the same people in the same positions put their teammates down. Those guys need to look in the mirror and say, `I got to do a better job because I'm letting all of my teammates down.' "

Forward Bill Guerin, who is doubtful for Game 5, might be one of the players Wilson was referring to because he has no goals and two assists in nine playoff games. San Jose was counting on him after sending forward Ville Nieminen, prospect Jay Barriball and a draft choice to St. Louis for him just before the trading deadline.

Guerin's face was cut in overtime Wednesday night by a teammate's deflected shot and he is day-to-day.

San Jose's top line has been tough to stop, with Joe Thornton contributing an assist in every game against Detroit. But Wilson has not been happy with the inconsistent play elsewhere on the team.

Meanwhile, the Wings seem to be getting contributions from all over the roster. They are also playing the physical style Babcock wants.

"The team that we're playing is chipping it in a lot and just getting it to the net, and we're trying to play a similar style, too," Wings star defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom said. "It's paying off."

Detroit got a lift with the return of forward Tomas Holmstrom in Game 4, playing for the first time since injuring his eye in the first-round finale against the Calgary Flames.

"I was real excited to play after sitting out for three games," Holmstrom said. "I couldn't do anything for, like, seven days, just rest, so that was frustrating."

He scored a power-play goal in the final seconds of the second period to start Detroit's comeback, but left the ice midway through the extra period because he said his skate blade broke.

Holmstrom was listed on the score sheet as a player on the ice for the winning goal, but laughed about that.

"I saw it on TV in the room," he said.

San Jose blew a 2-0 lead against the eighth-seeded Edmonton Oilers in last year's conference semifinals - losing four straight - but Wilson said that is irrelevant.

"What's that got to do with anything? Seriously, we're playing an entirely different team with an entirely different dynamic," he said. "We're not the home team. There are a lot of different things going on. Last year has nothing to do with this year."

Detroit is not counting on the Sharks crumbling again.

"I think they're going to be fired up Saturday and we have to come out with an even better effort," Lidstrom said. "It's going to be a long series."

It didn't always look that way.

The Sharks won the series opener 2-0 and had a two-goal lead in Game 2 before losing 3-2 on Pavel Datsyuk's goal with 1:24 left.

San Jose went back ahead with a 2-1 win in Game 3, only to lose an excellent opportunity to take command of the series Wednesday night, blowing another two-goal lead.

"We need to realize we need to keep pushing instead of sitting on a lead," San Jose defenseman Craig Rivet said. "You can't play like that in this league. Players are just too talented."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80