When a playoff series concludes, there is usually a moment one can look back on and identify as a key instance that would shape the way the rest of the series would play out. For the San Jose Sharks, that moment was realized last night when Patrick Marleau scored 7:07 in overtime to put his team up 3-0 against the Detroit Red Wings. Both teams knew that heading into the overtime period locked at 3-3, that the next goal scored would be the most important goal of the season. If Detroit scores, the series becomes 2-1 with a huge momentum swing in Detroit’s favor. If San Jose scores, they hold a commanding lead in the series which a comeback from a 3-0 series deficit has only happened once in post expansion Stanley Cup playoff history. The latter held true and the Sharks now have the Wings with their backs against the wall.
Now the Sharks must continue to do the things that have been working for them – winning faceoffs, getting pucks deeps, and getting pucks on net with traffic in front. They know that they cannot write-off this series as being over now that they’re up 3-0 because if any team is capable of turning this around, it’s the Red Wings. After coming back from a 3-1 deficit in the 3rd period last night, the victory must be a huge confidence boost for the Sharks who have to figure that they are in the head of rookie goaltender Jimmy Howard.
The Red Wings will focus on the task in hand – win their next game. They know they cannot win the series in just one game or think about winning the next 2 or 3, they must focus on one game at a time. Though it is easier said than done, the fact that they were up by two goals in the 3rd period has to be in the back of the players’ minds.
The series continues with Game 4 tomorrow night at 7:30 pm et in Detroit. The Wings look to avoid being swept for the first time since 2003 when they were swept by Anaheim in round one.