Big story -- Teams grind through an 82-game season for one major reason -- for home-ice advantage in a Game 7. That’s what the Sharks earned by grabbing one more point than the Red Wings in the regular season. They'll need every edge they can get to stave off this Red Wings rally. Down 3-0 in the series, the Wings have won three straight, including victories in the last two games after trailing in the third period. The Vancouver Canucks showed during the first round that just because a 3-0 lead disappears, it doesn't mean the faltering team can't regroup for a Game 7 victory. The Sharks are hoping the same can happen for them while the Red Wings are hoping they can be the fourth team in NHL history to win a series after trailing 3-0.
Sharks -- They didn't have Ryane Clowe (upper body) for Game 6, and it appeared to hurt them. Coach Todd McLellan was forced to shuffle his lines, and the Sharks were unable to muster any sort of sustained attack during the first two periods. They grabbed a 1-0 lead when Logan Couture scored early in the third period, but for the second straight game, were unable to hold the lead.
The only reason the Sharks had a chance to win was Antti Niemi's brilliance over the first two periods. Otherwise, it was a game the Sharks could have easily lost by three or four goals.
"We didn't play very good. The score should've been 5-1 or 6-1," Couture said. "Nemo gave us a chance to steal one and we let him down. So we're gonna have to move on from this. And we've got one way to save our season, to continue to play. I know no one in this room that wants to end their season next game. So we better fight a lot harder than we did tonight."
Red Wings -- 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."
Who's hot -- Couture has 3 goals in 3 games and 6 points in the series. … Datsyuk has 1 goal and 7 assists in the series and points in 9 of 10 games during the playoffs.
Injury report -- 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.
Stat pack -- Teams losing the first three games of a series failed to force a Game 7 in 112 consecutive series between 1976 and 2010. Beginning with the Philadelphia Flyers breaking that streak last year against Boston, three teams have done it in the past seven opportunities (Philadelphia, vs. Boston; Chicago vs. Vancouver; Detroit vs. San Jose).
Puck drop -- “Before this series started, you think, ‘These two teams, they’re two and three (in the West) and it’s probably going to go six or seven,’ so it’s no surprise it’s going seven. It’s been a great series so far. You know, 25 other teams would love to be in this position, to be honest with you. It’s too bad we couldn’t finish, but we’re going to try and do it in front of our fans at home.” -- San Jose captain Joe Thornton