Wings Beat Sharks 4-1

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) -- Dominik Hasek slowly skated out of his goal, bent down and inspected the octopus late in Detroit's 4-1 win over San Jose on Saturday.
Red Wings fans have been tossing the eight-legged sea creatures on the ice for decades as a symbol of their team's quest for the Stanley Cup.
If Detroit keeps playing the way it did on Saturday, another title might not be out of the question.
Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg each had goal and two assists, leading the Red Wings within a victory of reaching the Western Conference finals.
Ahead 3-2, Detroit can end the conference semifinal Monday night in San Jose.
Hasek was perfect after allowing a shaky early goal, turning aside 23 shots and proving again how valuable he is to the Red Wings. Instead of retiring last summer when Ottawa didn't want him back, the two-time MVP and six-time Vezina Trophy winner returned to play for Detroit after helping it win the Stanley Cup in 2002.
"He just is mentally tough and knows how to play," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "That's why we're always in the game, because he's going to shut the door."
Hasek and the Red Wings pulled off their strong effort on Saturday despite playing short-handed on defense much of the game.
Defenseman Mathieu Schneider broke his wrist during the first period, knocking him out of the game and the remainder of the playoffs. Schneider, who scored the overtime goal in San Jose on Wednesday night that evened the series at 2, was hurt when checked by Sharks captain Patrick Marleau.
"Everybody stepped up. We played five defensemen," Hasek said. "We knew about it. So we were very focused on quick changes and (being) very smart with the puck."
The Red Wings already were ailing on defense, with Brett Lebda out with an ankle injury. Rookie Kyle Quincey took Lebda's spot in the lineup.
Babcock said he wasn't overly concerned about Detroit's depleted defensive corps.
"You can't worry about that (injuries)," he said. "The guys we've got are going to play well."
And they did Saturday, outhitting and outshooting the Sharks.
But they also had some luck.
Datsyuk turned San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov's misplay into the winning goal late in the second period, and Nabokov didn't seem the same after that, surrendering a pair of third-period power-play goals.
With the Sharks circling in the Red Wings' zone, Detroit cleared the puck into San Jose territory. Nabokov left the goal to play the puck, but sent it straight into a charging Datsyuk. He scooped it up and fired it into an open net with 3:47 to play in the second.
"I tried to go straight. When he was ready to shoot the puck, I just jumped," Datsyuk said. "He hit my stick. It was unlucky for Nabby."
Detroit, the top seed in the West, twice has come back from two-goal deficits to win games in the series, but needed only to erase a one-goal San Jose lead Saturday.
Unfortunately for the Sharks, blowing leads is becoming something of a habit. A year ago, they lost a 2-0 series lead over Edmonton in the conference semifinals.
"Somehow we have to ... put these games behind us and move forward," said defenseman Kyle McLaren, who assisted on San Jose's lone goal. "We're going to go home and be in front of our crowd. They're going to be jacked up, and we're going to be jacked up. We're going to bring it all in Game 6."
Mikael Samuelsson added an insurance goal nearly 4 minutes into the final period, slapping a one-timer past Nabokov. Zetterberg and Datsyuk set up Samuelsson's first goal of the playoffs.
Tomas Holmstrom concluded the scoring, converting Zetterberg's centering pass with 13:46 left in the third. Datsyuk also picked up an assist on the play.
Detroit had evened it 1-1 3 minutes into the second period on Zetterberg's fourth goal of the postseason. Nicklas Lidstrom's shot from the point trickled to Holmstrom, who slid it through the crease to Zetterberg, and he flipped it above a sprawling Nabokov.
"They're three very good players," San Jose right wing Mike Grier said. "Zetterberg and Datsyuk are extremely talented, and Holmstrom does a lot of dirty work for them."
Marcel Goc opened the scoring on what looked to be a harmless wrist shot. Grier rushed the puck up the ice, sent a pass to Goc between the left circle and the blue line. Goc floated the shot in, beating Hasek inside the far post with 15:07 left in the first period. Hasek was not squared up to Goc and appeared to misread the angle of the shot.


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