They said history wouldn’t repeat itself but, in the overtime period, Devin Setoguchi gave the Red Wings a bad case of deja vu.
On the same day, the same opponent, in the same building, and same series lead, the Sharks won another huge Game 3 by the same score as a year ago.
Coming into Game 3, the Sharks knew that they would get the very best game that Detroit had to save their season. After weathering the Detroit storm through two periods, the Sharks needed to answer in the third period against all the odds.
And the Sharks did exactly that, in a game that they probably shouldn’t have won they seized the moment and came through in overtime.
The Sharks now have a chokehold on the series with the 4-3 win, and are now 5-0 in the postseason in the overtime frame.
With the ever-difficult fourth victory still ahead, the Sharks must celebrate and put the huge win behind them to get ready for Game 4.
As many suspected, Mike Babcock made some changes to his starting lineup by separating Zetterberg and Datsyuk. Todd McLellan would go without any major changes, but opted to sit Ben Eager while giving Benn Ferriero the nod again.
At 6:29 of the first period, Ryane Clowe was called for interference and the Sharks killed off the Red Wing power play, putting them at 8-9 for the series at that point.
San Jose opened the scoring at 12:57 as Setoguchi knocked the puck out of midair on the Darren Helm high-sticking minor.
Detroit ramped up their play in response, especially on the forecheck reversing the tables on the Sharks.
Following a Ian White tripping penalty, the Red Wings draw even on Lidstrom’s second goal of the series with just 30 seconds left in the first period.
The Red Wings were out-shooting the Sharks 12-11 and San Jose looked flat in the first period being outhit 17-3.
A 13:59 in the second period the Red Wings fourth line put the home team ahead on Patrick Eaves’ backhander.
Just a minute later, Devin Setoguchi would answer for the Sharks as he heeled a slapshot that trickled past Jimmy Howard. Setoguchi would take an ill-advised penalty just a few minutes late at 16:33 for holding and the Red Wings capitalized.
Pavel Datsyuk had been one of the best Wings this series and he put Detroit ahead as the trailing man on the Red Wings powerplay. A quick snap shot found it’s way under Niemi’s arm for the 3-2 Detroit Red Wing lead.
The second period came to an end with the Red Wings clinging to their first lead of the series, and out-shooting the Sharks 26-19. The second period had been a strength for the Sharks, but they were clearly dominated in the second period by a determined Red Wing team.
San Jose had their chances in the third as they applied the pressure and started to play with some desperation. Jimmy Howard robbed the Sharks on several chances in the third, but with 4:08 left in the game the Sharks evened the score.
Dan Boyle collected his first goal of the series on a sequence from the Sharks third line, credit to Torrey Mitchell for the hustle on the backcheck. The Red Wings again poured on the pressure late in the third, but Antti Niemi turned away every chance they had.
Overtime loomed ahead as time ran out of regulation, with the Sharks roaring back in the third period and playing with the effort they needed. Following an ill-advised penalty, Devin Setoguchi would redeem himself just a few minutes following a Detroit surge.
Setoguchi collected the feed from Thornton and fired the puck past Howard for the overtime game-winner at 9:42 of the overtime session.
Vlasic - Demers - Pickles came up huge saving a couple of near goals shorthanded in the first period, and knocking the puck clear in the second period.
He was especially sharp on the rebound plays the Red Wings employ from the Zamboni side end boards.
He also broke up a possible odd-man rush in the overtime period and played strong along the boards all night.
Jason Demers limited his mistakes and was one of the only Sharks able to lead the breakout without turning the puck over. Detroit carried play in the neutral zone for the majority of the first two periods, and this pair carried the team through a rough patch.
Special Teams - The penalty kill on the Setoguchi penalty in overtime was as good as it got for the Sharks, that was a huge effort and response. After being on their heels for most of the game, San Jose stood up and responded when they needed to for the huge win.
Setoguchi redeemed himself after an awful minor penalty assessed to him early in the overtime period, completing the hat trick for the huge 3-0 lead in the series.
Nemo was again spectacular when it counted against a huge late third period Detroit rally and in the overtime frame.
He’s playing as well as we’ve seen all season and Game 3 is just another notch on the belt for Niemi as he continues his strong play.
His glove save in the first period Detroit power play was as spectacular as they come and he was a wall late in the third period with the Sharks unable to clear their zone.
The Red Wings were all over the Sharks in the closing minutes of the period, a trait common to Shark fans this season. Without Niemi, there would have been no chance for overtime, the Sharks were on their heels for the last 2 minutes straight.
Recording 31 saves for the huge Game 3 win, Niemi is looking like the net-minder that dismantled the Sharks in the Western Finals a year ago. Doug Wilson is laughing somewhere right now.
Devin Setoguchi scoring the playoff hat trick is a huge accomplishment, but the top line as a unit truly came to play tonight. With the Red Wings splitting up their big line, it allowed the Sharks top line a little more operating room and they made Detroit pay.
Joe Thornton's backcheck and effort broke up several Wings' chances coming down ice and Marleau had a strong game along the boards and nearly had a shorthanded breakaway early in OT.
Of course, we would be remiss to not mention Devin Setoguchi's biggest game as a pro, collecting the hat trick against the rival Red Wings at the Joe.
Only a matter of time before the next memorable Shark NHL "History" commercial is released, what would the tagline be?
Fourth line - As they did against the Kings in the quarterfinal round, the fourth line had a rough go of it in Game 3 against Darren Helm’s line. When they weren’t missing defensive assignments, they were icing the puck and killing any kind of continuity.
It's clear that the Red Wings boast more depth, but the Sharks' top three lines have been the difference in this series. Moving forward however, the San Jose fourth line remains a huge question mark.
Late goals – The late goals being allowed by the Sharks really hurt them tonight, but San Jose rallied when they had to.
Looking back for the call - San Jose had done an excellent job taking care of business and ignoring the extracurricular stuff until Game 3. Multiple times during the game, a Shark would take the time to look back to the official looking for a call.
The Sharks can’t afford that kind of luxury against the Red Wings at the Joe, and they know better than that.
Detroit posed as tough a challenge as the Sharks have seen all postseason and the Sharks probably didn’t deserve to win tonight with the way they played. But as they have done since the New Year, San Jose never gave up and continued to fight for the win.
With their fifth overtime win, and the commanding 3-0 lead over the Wings in the semifinal series, the Sharks now aim for the sweep in Game 4.
The fourth win is always a difficult one and the Red Wings won’t be giving up anytime soon but the Sharks have to be pleased with their rebound effort.
Against their nemesis in the Red Wings, the Sharks found a way to win on the road to salvage a less than perfect performance to that point.
Here’s to Game 4, and collecting win 8 of 16.