Down But Not Out: Detroit Fights Back With Game Four Victory

Thomas KnappContributor IMay 7, 2010

DETROIT - MAY 06:  Johan Franzen #93 of the Detroit Red Wings turns up ice in front of Dany Heatley #15 of the San Jose Sharks in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 6, 2010 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

"I'm not dead!"

"Here; he says he's not dead!"

- Monty Python and the Holy Grail

For one night, a team and a city forgot about a 3-0 deficit.

For one night, they forgot about the disaster that pushed them to the brink of elimination.

For one night, the Detroit Red Wings guaranteed there would more night.

Could San Jose have come out a bit sluggish, assuming that their opponent would surrender to the inevitable? 


Will the Sharks come back in Game Five, duly chided, and reassert control of the series once back in San Jose? 


But this isn't about the next night. 

For the Detroit Red Wings; this is about tonight, and what a pleasant night it was.

Johan Franzen, rather silent up until this point in the series, generated three goals and an assist against a shell shocked Sharks squad.

He would add a fourth in the third period, and might end up with five if the NHL office in Toronto decides that the first goal of the game wasn't tipped by Bertuzzi.

Yet, while the Red Wings were victorious, it wasn't the perfect game; not by any stretch of the imagination.

The Sharks dominated the action for prolonged stretches, even after the first period. The game actually wasn't as lopsided as the score would tell you. 

San Jose led the possession and shots on goal battle through the first two periods.

The Wings' defense was still particularly shaky, pressuring Jimmy Howard to make several spectacular saves in the opening minutes.

A really bad penalty in the first two minutes didn't suggest a team that was dialed in right from the opening face-off, either.

With all the euphoria of a win in this series at long last, let's not abandon realitythis performance likely did nothing more than delay the inevitable.

I doubt the Sharks are going to make the same mistakes they made tonight again.  They're not going to expect the Wings to quit in any game for the rest of the way.

They aren't going to win four games in a row going to the penalty box six or more times a game, especially if those penalties result in five on three situations (like they have in three of the four games in this series).

And while the Wings can win any game they play, there has been no evidence in these playoffs that they can put together this sort of performance for three more games without dropping off.

I can't see them finishing this series without getting caught napping at least once more, and unless the Sharks are equally out of sync (a highly possible scenario), that will be the end of it.

For much like the scene quoted at the beginning, the ending is of the poor soul being put out of his misery quickly and without much fanfare despite his protests.

"I'm getting better!"

"No you're not; you'll be stone dead in a moment."

Fortunately for Detroit, that moment is not tonight.


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