NHL Betting: Sharks push Red Wings to brink

By: Barry Daniels | Thursday, May 5, 2011

The San Jose Sharks can sweep away the Detroit Red Wings in this Western Conference semifinal series with a victory in Friday’s Game 4. The Sharks took a commanding 3-0 series lead thanks to Wednesday’s 4-3 overtime victory.

San Jose has now defeated the Wings in seven of the last eight postseason meetings, with all seven victories occurring by one goal.

Most offshore sports books monitored by Don Best Sports’ Real-Time Odds believe a sweep in this series won’t happen, as they have installed the Red Wings as 130 home favorites. The total opened at 5 ½ ‘under’ (minus 115).

The Verizon network will provide television coverage beginning at 4:00 p.m. (PT).

There have now been 20 overtime contests during these 2011 playoffs, which is three more than the entire 2010 postseason. The Sharks have gone into an extra session in five of their first nine games during the current playoff campaign, and have captured six of those postseason matches by one goal.

San Jose’s five overtime wins is still five shy of the record held by the 1993 Montreal Canadiens.

The star of Game 3 was San Jose’s Devin Setoguchi. The power forward recorded a three-goal hat trick, including the winning goal at 9:21 of the overtime period.

Ironically, before he could score the game winner, Setoguchi had to sweat out two minutes in the penalty box. Setoguchi was given a questionable holding call on Todd Bertuzzi where he was actually the one who was taken down.

The Red Wings couldn't protect a 3-2 lead in the closing minutes of the third period, as San Jose defenseman Dan Boyle scored the tying goal with 4:08 remaining in regulation. The lead was relinquished largely because the Sharks kept pressing in the third, out-shooting the back-pedaling Red Wings, 16-8.

Detroit outshot the Sharks in overtime, 7-3, and even had a power-play chance during the extra session. The Wings finished with a 41-38 advantage in shots during Game 3, but have been outshot during the series, 121-101.

Though the Wings didn’t connect on the overtime power play, they did manage to score two power play goals in four opportunities. As a result, the Wings are now 3-for-12 with the man advantage in this series. San Jose, also 2-for-4 on the power play in Game 3, is now 4-for-15 in the series.

Niklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk notched the two power play goals for the Wings, while Patrick Eaves registered an even-strength marker in the second period that gave the Wings a brief 2-1 lead.

Two of Setoguchi’s three goals occurred on the power play, including the game’s first marker at 12:57 of the first period.

Jimmy Howard took the loss in goal for the Wings and is now a dismal 1-7 in his last eight playoff games against the Sharks dating to last season.

In fact, Wednesday night's 4-3 overtime loss to the Sharks at Joe Louis Arena occurred exactly a year to the day after last year's 4-3 overtime loss to the Sharks at the Joe. Both times, it spelled the difference between it becoming a series and a potential sweep, with San Jose grabbing a 3-0 lead.

Antti Niemi stopped 38 of Detroit’s 41 shots to register the win. Niemi, the winning goalie in Chicago’s run to last year’s Stanley Cup title, raised his overall ledger this season to 41-20-1-5 with a 2.46 GAA and a .917 save percentage.

If the Wings are fortunate enough to collect a victory Friday, the two squads would play a Sunday contest at San Jose’s HP Pavilion starting at 5 p.m. (PT).

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