Last week when Devin Setoguchi scored in overtime to win Game 3 for the Sharks, I was feeling pretty bad about the Red Wings' chances of advancing to the Western Conference finals of the 2011 NHL playoffs. Just like a year ago, the Red Wings lost three straight one-goal games, and two of them this year came in overtime. The Sharks weren't outplaying the Red Wings by a lot, but San Jose seemed to have Detroit's number.
Even after the Red Wings won Game 4 thanks to a late goal by Darren Helm, I wasn't exactly beaming with confidence that Detroit would pull off the comeback. After all, last year the Wings won Game 4 in blowout fashion only to lose by one goal yet again in Game 5. This year history seemed to be repeating itself when the Wings went down 3-1 in the third period in Game 5. The season was in great danger of ending after a fifth game in San Jose yet again, but the 2011 Red Wings weren't about to let that happen.
The Red Wings stormed back with three straight goals to end the third period, taking Game 5 and bringing the series back to Detroit. Nashville did the same thing with the Canucks, but they failed to win Game 6 at home on Monday. Trailing 1-0 in the third period despite dominating the entire game, the Red Wings were in danger of becoming the second home team in as many nights to be eliminated. Thanks to a pair of quick goals and an empty-netter, however, Detroit was victorious in front of a rocking Joe Louis Arena and forced a Game 7 against the Sharks.
As the Flyers last year and the Blackhawks this year taught us, you never say never in the NHL playoffs. 3-0 deficits aren't what they used to be, as the Red Wings are the third team in the last two years to take a series seven games after being in a 3-0 hole. They want to become the second team in the last two years to actually win the series, though. Chicago's great comeback came up short in an overtime loss to the Canucks, which await the winner of Thursday night's Game 7 between the Red Wings and Sharks. Detroit wants to follow a path similar to the 2010 Flyers, which came back from a 3-0 deficit in the second round to ultimately make the Stanley Cup final.
Regardless of what happens in Game 7, you have to commend the Red Wings' effort in these last three games. They blew a 3-0 lead and managed to hang on in Game 4 and rallied back in the third period of Games 5 and 6 to win and keep their season alive. Now they are one win away from making history and moving on to the Western Conference final.
The Red Wings' attitude of never panicking and staying cool under pressure has allowed them to get to this point, and hopefully on Thursday night it will allow them to win and keep this amazing run going for at least another round.