Last year, an overtime loss put the Detroit Red Wings down 3-0 in a Western Conference Semifinal series to the San Jose Sharks. Last year, the Red Wings were able to force a Game 5 by winning Game 4 in Detroit. They appear to mean business about doing just that tonight, with a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes over the Sharks in Game 4 of this year's series at Joe Louis Arena.
Todd Beruzzi had an interesting start, claiming he got slew-footed earlier in the game by a San Jose defender and getting no call, but later tallying the game's first goal. A spin-o-rama back-hander from almost impossibly deep in the zone from the veteran forward went past San Jose goaltender Antii Niemi. It was Bertuzzi's first goal of the series and second of the post-season to make it 1-0 Detroit at 6:22.
The Red Wings doubled up just minutes later, as they held the momentum from their first goal for quite a while. Dan Cleary raced down the wing and through a back-hander on goal that Niemi kicked out. However, it came straight to Nicklas Lidstrom and, while Dan Boyle crashed into Niemi and impeded his progress, Lidstrom blasted it past the San Jose netminder to make it 2-0 at 11:09. It was Lidstrom's third of the playoffs.
The Red Wings' third goal was more bizarre than Bertuzzi's spin-o-rama. On a power play, Henrik Zetterberg lifted a pass in the air, off of Lidstrom's shin. The Detroit captain knocked it out of the air and in to make it 3-0. It was Lidstrom's 30th career playoff goal, most all time among defensemen, at 18:01. Zetterberg has two assists in the period, and made a great pass to set Lidstrom up.
The Sharks salvaged something out of the first period, however, when just 17 seconds later, Logan Couture deflected a Ryan Clowe fade-away shot behind little-worked Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard at 18:18. Couture's been a bit quiet in the series, but that's a huge goal to keep the Sharks alive in this one, and possibly give them a boost headed towards period two. For now, however, it's all Wings.