Before Tomas Holmstrom tipped Nicklas Lidstrom's shot past Antti Niemi to give the Red Wings a 4-3 lead over the Sharks tonight, I said, "Even if the Wings lose this one, they did something that'll matter in the next round: They drew blood."
In this series, San Jose has looked nearly invincible. Even Detroit's Game Four win included a three-goal comeback by the Sharks. Tonight, it was the Wings making the comeback, rallying from down two in the third period to get the win and force Game Six at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday.
The Red Wings didn't play their best game by any means. They might not have even played a better game than the Sharks. They ground this one out, though, finding the gaps in the Sharks' play and making things happen out of nothing.
Dan Cleary's game tying goal? All about not giving up on a loose puck at the side of the net.
The game winner? Holy hell, what more could Pavel Datsyuk do to set that one up? And his wrist is supposed to be hurt? One of three assists on the night.
Jimmy Howard. Thirty-nine saves. He's the reason the Wings had a chance to win in the first place.
The series just got interesting. If you subscribe to the "hold serve at home" theory, this was supposed to be at 3-2 headed back to Detroit for Game Six. For all intents and purposes, the fact that the Wings dropped the first three games is moot at this point.
Tuesday will bring new challenges but this weekend the Wings did everything they had to in making up lost ground.