Hockey moms will get a late Mother’s Day present Sunday when the San Jose Sharks host the Detroit Red Wings in Game 5 of this Western Conference semifinal series. The puck drops from San Jose’s HP Pavilion at 5 p.m. (PT), with Versus providing television coverage.
Most sports books monitored by Don Best Sports’ Real-Time Odds have opened the Sharks as 150 home favorites, with the total set at 5 ½ ‘over’ (minus 115).
This contest became necessary when the Red Wings edged the Sharks 4-3 in Friday’s Game 4 as 130 home favorites. San Jose had won seven straight one-goal games against the Wings prior to that result, including the first three contests of this series.
The combined seven goals skipped above the 5 ½-goal closing total, leaving the ‘over’ 9-4 in the last 13 overall series meetings.
Detroit, which captured Game 4 despite relinquishing a 3-0 first-period lead, now trails the best-of-seven series 3-1.
Father Time has not seemed to have any influence on Detroit defenseman Niklas Lidstrom. The 41-year-old staked the Wings to that early lead with a pair of first-period markers. Darren Helm scored the winning goal with 87 seconds remaining in regulation after the Sharks had battled back to tie the game at 3-3.
The victory meant the Wings avoided what would have been their first losing series sweep since 2003 when Anaheim beat them four straight in the first round. Ironically, current Wings coach Mike Babcock was directing traffic from behind the bench for the Ducks in that series.
Aided by an offside call the referees missed, Detroit forward Todd Bertuzzi opened the scoring with a whirling-dervish backhand shot that beat San Jose goalie Antti Niemi at 6:22 of the first period.
Lidstrom made it 2-0 when he hammered home a rebound at the 11:09 mark. It was Detroit’s first two-goal lead of the series and was only a glimmer of things to come for the future Hall-of-Fame defenseman.
Lidstrom made it 3-0 thanks to a power play goal with just under two minutes to play in the period. He stopped a rising pass from Henrik Zetterberg with his skate and then somehow managed to send a ground-rule double past Niemi into the net. It was Detroit’s only goal of the game with the man advantage in four opportunities.
Detroit is 4-for-16 on the power play during this series, while San Jose is 4-for-17 after failing to score on its two chances. The Wings outshot the Sharks, 40-28, which marked the second straight game they fired at least 40 shots on the San Jose net.
San Jose began its rally from a 3-0 deficit at the 18:16 mark of the first period – just 15 seconds after Lidstrom’s goal – when Logan Couture scored a soft goal from a bad angle that sneaked past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard on the stick side.
The Sharks trimmed the lead to 3-2 thanks to a second period marker from Dan Boyle before finally tying the game at the 14:29 mark of the third stanza on a Danny Heatley goal that was scored directly in front of Howard.
Detroit’s lone two penalties of the game occurred in the third period, but the club fought off both to blank the Sharks in that category for the first time in the series.
If the Sharks fail to eliminate the Wings on Mother’s Day, the two foes must travel back to Detroit for Tuesday’s Game 6.