A deflection here, a lucky bounce there, and the Detroit Red Wings could be looking to close out the San Jose Sharks at home tonight.
Unfortunately, the deflections here and the lucky bounces there haven’t happened. Instead, the Red Wings head into tonight’s game down 3-0 in the series to the Sharks. All three losses have been by one goal. Sound familiar? It should. This is the same situation the Wings were in last year. The similarities are eerie.
Last year, on May 4, the Red Wings led heading into the third period. The Sharks came back to tie the game up and force overtime, where they would eventually win 4-3. This May 4, same exact result.
Last year, on May 6, the Wings demolished the Sharks 7-1 and forced the series back to San Jose only to lose the next game 2-1.
The results have to be demoralizing for the Red Wings. The 3-0 hole they face isn’t an accurate indication of how the Wings have been playing. At times, the Wings have imposed their will on the Sharks. At times, the Wings have played the style of hockey they have become famous for. They have kept possession of the puck, created traffic in front of the net and fired shots at the opposing goaltender. At times, they have played disciplined defense and forced the opposing team to take stupid penalties. And at times, perhaps the most crucial times, they haven’t.
In two out of the three games, the Wings led heading into the third period, only to watch San Jose tie it up and eventually win in overtime. The Wings aren’t getting outplayed as badly as a 3-0 series deficit would suggest, but in the end, a 3-0 hole is a 3-0 hole no matter how you look at it.
The road back from being down 3-0 isn’t impossible, the Philadelphia Flyers proved that just as recently as last year, but it is unlikely. The epic comeback has been achieved by only three teams in the history of the NHL.
The Wings have the talent to come back and become the fourth team to accomplish this incredible feat, but they need to focus on winning Game 4 first. Before you can win four games, you have to win one.
Tonight, Wings fans hope the road doesn’t end in Hockeytown.
If the Red Wings season does end to the San Jose Sharks , we may be witnessing the end of an era. Tonight could be the last time Nicklas Lidstrom and Kris Draper put on a Red Wings uniform. Hopefully, they will both suit back up in the red and white for one last run at the Cup.
In the past two postseasons combined, the Wings have seven one-goal losses to the Sharks. It’s about time the deflections here and the lucky bounces there start going in the Wings favor. Hopefully, tonight is the start of the turning of the tides.