The Detroit Red Wings put up a 3-0 lead in the first period, but allowed the San Jose Sharks to come back and tie it. However, a Darren Helm goal with 1:27 left put Detroit back into a lead they wouldn't relinquish again. The Red Wings won 4-3, putting their Western Conference Semifinal to 3-1 San Jose, with a Game 5 Sunday night at HP Pavilion in San Jose.
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 was a huge goal to keep the Sharks alive in this one, and a boost headed towards period two.
Detroit was given three power play chances in the second period, after going 1-for-1 on their first period opportunity, which ended in Lidstrom's goal. Joe Thornton went off at 5:47 for holding-the-stick, Torey Mitchell for holding at 10:58, and Dany Heatley for tripping at 14:29. Despite many chances and all the talent on the ice, Antii Niemi was superb in particular for the San Jose penalty kill. Niemi, even though he has given up three goals, has been stellar since the early barrage, making 24 saves through two periods.
Later in the period, after two of Detroit's man advantage chances, San Jose chipped away at their lead once again. Kyle Wellwood sent a cross-ice pass to Dan Boyle. The veteran defenseman, who's been terrific against Detroit, simply went roof on Jimmy Howard and the Sharks were within one. Wellwood's been surprisingly good this post-season too, with five assists for San Jose. Meanwhile, it was Boyle's second goal of the playoffs at 13:44 to make it just 3-2 Detroit.
San Jose had been chipping away the entire game, as I mentioned, and they finally climbed back in to tie it early in the third period. Ryan Clowe, who is having himself a heck of a series, found Dany Heatley alone in the slot. That's not a place Dany Heatley should be allowed to go without proper supervision, and Heatley beat Howard to tie the game, 3-3, at 1:14 of the third. It was Heatley's third of the playoffs and Clowe's eighth assist.
But Detroit started to really come on late in the third period, with only Niemi keeping the Sharks tied after that goal. Darren Helm won a loose puck at the blue line, then headed for the other side of the ice. Eventually, it came over for Patrick Eaves, who fed it across for Helm, who started the play and then finished it, ripping one past the prone Niemi to make it 4-3 Detroit, give the Red Wings a win in this series, and a trip to San Jose to try and keep on surviving on Sunday.