NHL Playoffs 2011: Detroit Red Wings Drop Game 3 to San Jose Sharks

Matthew ShepardContributor IIIMay 5, 2011

DETROIT - MAY 4:  Joe Pavelski #8 of the San Jose Sharks celebrates a San Jose power play goal in the second period in Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 4, 2011 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. San Jose defeated Detroit 4-3.   (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Detroit Red Wings should have not lost Game 3. They outplayed the San Jose Sharks and crashed the net more. Yet, somehow, Detroit found a way to lose and the biggest reason is their goaltender, Jimmy Howard.

Both teams have a diverse group of solid players and both have good goalies, but when rebounds occur, no one has more of them than Jimmy Howard. He seems to never be able to hold down a puck, and his play in the second half last night was sloppy in this regard.

As for the Sharks, San Jose forward Devin Setoguchi just seems to know when Howard is going to let a goal in. He scored three last night, and got one freebie—he flopped on a slap shot and it found its way past Howard. On that goal, it appeared even Setoguchi was surprised that it went in.

Each game so far has been close, with no team blowing out the other. In Detroit, goalies have to be at their best and that simply did not happen for the Red Wings last night. The Wings should have never been pushed into overtime in the first place and Howard knows it.

Detroit does not have a reliable backup to count on as Chris Osgood is still out with a hernia, and Joey MacDonald is not ready for playoffs. If Howard continues his substandard play, he may find himself out of a job come next year if Detroit can get a goaltender during free agency. 

Things may have been different if Detroit was able to keep goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, but for now, they have no choice but to depend on Jimmy Howard. 

Another major issue Detroit needs to work on is team discipline and special teams. Detroit seems to have a thing for taking dumb penalties that cause goals, and the Wings defense can not stop the power forwards of San Jose.

Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are always crashing the net, and it is hard enough to cover them when not short handed. Detroit special teams either need to be at their best or need to learn to not take penalties.

If Detroit wants to make a series out of this, they will need to score more.  Forwards Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk can only do so much, and cannot be always asked to bear the scoring brunt.

My question is what happened to Johan Franzen?

He used to be a major threat in the Playoffs? Now, he is just passing and trying to score but failing. He is plainly not at his best, and as a result, the Wings are losing.

The Wings looked great in the first round of the Playoffs, and seemed like they were going to go all they way—their offense looked unbeatable and they played smart. Last year, the Phoenix Coyotes took Detroit to Game 7, and Detroit looked burned out when they faced San Jose.

However, this year, Detroit had enough rest after quickly dispatching the Coyotes, and Howard also had a year of experience under his belt...and they are still losing.  

I highly doubt that the Wings can recover from their loss last night which put them down 3-0, but they may be able to make a series out of it. Any way you look at it, for Detroit fans, this is a sad day in Hockeytown.

The least the Red Wings can do at this point is win a game for their fans.