Saturday, May 7, 2011

Devin Setoguchi hat trick lifts Sharks to 3-0 series lead

Saturday, May 7, 2011

DETROIT ? It's far too early for the San Jose Sharks to say this is their year. But it has definitely been their April and early May.

  • San Jose's Devin Setoguchi, screening Jimmy Howard on this play, scored three times to push Detroit to the brink of elimination.

    By Jamie Sabau, Getty Images

    San Jose's Devin Setoguchi, screening Jimmy Howard on this play, scored three times to push Detroit to the brink of elimination.

By Jamie Sabau, Getty Images

San Jose's Devin Setoguchi, screening Jimmy Howard on this play, scored three times to push Detroit to the brink of elimination.

The scrappy Sharks found another way to win a hockey game, tying the game with 4:08 remaining in regulation, and then winning at 9:21 of overtime on Devin Setoguchi's third goal of the game to beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-3.

"We're just very, very comfortable. Our locker room is really calm," said San Jose center Joe Thornton, who set up the game-winner. "We just take some deep breaths and we feel we've got so many gifted players that can end games at any time."

The Sharks hold a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series going into Friday's Game 4 at Detroit's Joe Louis Arena. The Sharks were in the same situation last year and lost big in Game 4 before wrapping it up in Game 5.

The Sharks also have five consecutive overtime victories, meaning they are halfway to the 1992-93 Montreal Canadiens' NHL record of 10 OT wins. The Canadiens did that on their way to a Stanley Cup championship.

"The teams are so evenly matched, it's a break, a bounce, a save," San Jose coach Todd McLellan said. "It went our way tonight. It was the tightest game yet."

Trailing 3-2, the Sharks tied the game late in the third period when defenseman Dan Boyle crept in the back door and beat goalie Jimmy Howard with a shot from 10 feet out.

San Jose vs. Detroit

Sharks lead series 3-0

Game 1: San Jose 2, Detroit 1 (OT)

Game 2: San Jose 2, Detroit 1

Game 3: San Jose 4, Detroit 3 (OT)

May 6: at Detroit, 7 p.m. (Versus)

x-May 8: at San Jose, 8 p.m. (Versus)

x-May 10: at Detroit, TBA (Versus)

x-May 12: at San Jose, TBA (Versus)

x-if necessary. All times ET

"It's hard to hold a lead right now," McLellan said. "There's so much tension and stress."

Kyle Wellwood, a late-season acquisition, fed him the puck.

"A great pickup before the deadline," Boyle said of Wellwood. "He's very smart and gifted. Whether he saw me or not, it doesn't matter. It was a great play."

In overtime, the Red Wings had the better chances, In the opening minute, Pavel Datsyuk's shot hit a foot and went wide and Niklas Kronwall had a key chance, but his shot was blocked. Tomas Holmstrom also had two chances to jam the puck in the net, but San Jose goalie Antti Niemi (38 saves) stood his ground.

"It just shows how fine the line is between both teams," Howard said.

The Sharks have won all three games by one goal. Said Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson: "I thought we had it going there in overtime. We were really wearing on their D and their forwards, and they were getting tired down in their own end. We had a lot of chances, but the puck didn't want to bounce our way. They had one, not even a really good scoring chance, and they capitalized."

By Duane Burleson, AP

Devin Setoguchi had plotted out his sliding-on-knees celebration before overtime began.

The game-winning goal was scored by a player who was in trouble with his coach earlier for ill-advised penalties, including one in overtime for holding Todd Bertuzzi.

"Our PK has been terrible all year," Boyle said. "Arguably the biggest penalty kill we've had all year. It was a terrible call, I thought. We killed a huge power play and then win it. … Maybe that's the evolution of our team, I don't know, but we're finding ways to win. We were lucky to get in overtime tonight."

Before the start of overtime, Setoguchi had jokingly argued with teammate Logan Couture about who would score the game-winner because both wanted to use the same celebration move. Setoguchi scored from 30-feet out to earn the right to slide on his knees on the celebration.

Thornton wasn't sure where Setoguchi came from, but he spotted him with no coverage.

"I knew he had the hot hand, so I thought I'd better get it to him," Thornton said. "I think he surprised Howard with his shot."

McLellan said he chastised Setoguchi for the penalties. "We'll have to deal with that, but he's got a tremendous trigger and he puts himself in situations where he can shoot the puck," McLellan said.

Said Detroit coach Mike Babcock: "We played in their zone for a lot of the overtime, but at the end we didn't score."

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