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Sharks go for first-ever playoff sweep vs. Red Wings on TSN

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The Sports Network
5/6/2011 11:45:53 AM
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(Sports Network) - The San Jose Sharks will try to complete the first playoff sweep in franchise history tonight when they visit the Detroit Red Wings for Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals at Joe Louis Arena.

You can see the action on TSN and TSN Mobile TV beginning at 7pm et/4pm pt.

The second-seeded Sharks have won five playoff series in five games in their history, but they have never ended a best-of-seven set in four tilts. San Jose ousted the Red Wings in five games during this round last spring.

However, San Jose would do well to remember last year's Game 4 in the Motor City. The Sharks also had a 3-0 series lead heading into that contest, but Detroit slammed the visitors by a 7-1 score. San Jose would finish the series in Game 5 with a 2-1 victory on home ice.

Every game in this year's series has been decided by just one goal and two of three tests have ended in overtime, including Wednesday's Game 3. Devin Setoguchi completed the hat trick at the 9:21 mark of OT to give the Sharks a 4-3 win over the reeling Red Wings.

In the extra session, Joe Thornton caught up to the puck at the right boards and stopped there. He looked up and sent a pass to the top of the right circle for Setoguchi, who snapped a shot on net that went off the stick of Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg and sailed into the net for the win.

"You need heroes and you need people to step up and he was the guy tonight," said San Jose head coach Todd McLellan. "He's got a tremendous trigger and always puts himself in a good position to shoot the puck."

San Jose defenseman Dan Boyle tied the game with 4:08 to play in regulation while Thornton finished the game with three assists for the Sharks.

Antti Niemi, who won a Stanley Cup title as Chicago's No. 1 goaltender last season, stopped 38 shots for the win. The second-year NHLer is 22-8 lifetime in the playoffs.

Nicklas Lidstrom had a goal and an assist while Pavel Datsyuk and Patrick Eaves each had a goal for Detroit. Jimmy Howard made 34 stops in the loss.

"It's a tough loss and it's especially tough cause we had the lead late and let them tie the game," said Lidstrom. "We just have to dig deep and find a way to win the next game."

Detroit has never come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series in its long history as an NHL team. The Sharks have never blown a 3-0 lead in their relatively short history either.

Only three teams in NHL history have won a series after falling behind 3-0. The Philadelphia Flyers pulled off the feat last spring against Boston, becoming the first team to achieve the ultimate comeback since the 1975 New York Islanders.

The Red Wings had a mediocre 21-14-6 record as the host during the regular season, and dropped to 2-1 at the Joe in the playoffs after Wednesday's loss.

San Jose has a perfect 4-0 mark on the road this postseason and was 23-14-4 as the guest during the 2010-11 campaign.

The Red Wings were well-rested heading into this round, as they completed a sweep of Phoenix. San Jose then ousted Los Angeles in six games to set up this rematch.

Detroit and the Sharks have met four times in the playoffs and each club has won two series. Detroit last ousted San Jose in six games during the 2007 conference semifinals.

Jonathan Ericsson and Ian White (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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