Sharks-Wings: Pavel Datsyuk mesmerizes

DETROIT -- Pavel Datsyuk was at it again Tuesday night, his gorgeous cross-ice pass to Valterri Filppula for the game winner leaving you gasping for air.

"If he isn't the best player in the world, he's got to be in the top three," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said of the Russian center.

Filppula, who had his strongest game of the series, said you always have to be ready for those kinds of plays.

"Yeah, it was a really good pass," Filppula said. "That's the way he plays. He makes those really amazing plays. When you're out there with him, there's always a chance you're going to get it. Luckily it went in."

The Wings had been waiting for Filppula to step up like that.

"I thought he was excellent," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "He was a guy we obviously needed more from. He's an important guy for us."

Confident Wings

Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom isn't surprised by his team's comeback.

"It shows that we don't give up," he said. "We didn't open ourselves up defensively. We tried to go after them even more. It paid off for us. We're getting pucks at the net at the tight time. We got guys there for tips and screen and rebounds. It was a hard-fought game for us."

Lidstrom said his team never looked at it as needing to win four games when it was down 3-0.

"Looking back at Game 4, it was a big uphill battle for us," he said. "We broke it down one game at a time, and that'll be our approach going into Game 7. We have to go out there and win one game. That's it. That'll be our approach."

Sharks outclassed

If not for Sharks goalie Antti Niemi and his 42 saves, this one would have been a laugher.

"We didn't play very good," Sharks forward Logan Couture said. "The score should've been 5-1 or 6-1. 'Nemo' gave us a chance to steal one, and we let him down. So we're gonna have to move on from this. And we've got one way to save our season, to continue to play. I know no one in this room that wants to end their season next game. So we better fight a lot harder than we did tonight."

But Couture still believes in his team.

"I don't think there should be any doubt. There's no doubt in my mind," he said. "There shouldn't be any doubt in any of the players' minds. I'm sure there's doubt in the media or whatever. But that's the outside world. This locker room has been tight all year, and it continues to be tight."


The Wings are only the eighth team in NHL history to force a Game 7 after being down 3-0.

Teams that forced Game 7 after trailing series 3-0 (Stanley Cup playoff history)

2011 - Red Wings vs. Sharks (result ???)

2011 - Blackhawks vs. Canucks (Chicago lost Game 7)

2010 - Flyers vs. Bruins (Flyers won Game 7)

1975 - Islanders vs. Flyers (Isles lost Game 7)

1975 - Islanders vs. Penguins (Isles won Game 7)

1945 - Red Wings vs. Maple Leafs (Wings lost Game 7)

1942 - Maple Leafs vs. Red Wings (Leafs won Game 7)

1939 - Rangers vs. Bruins (Rangers lost Game 7)