There were quite a few people who expected the second round of the 2011 playoffs to be over by the end of this weekend. The Philadelphia Flyers continued their implosion on Friday, but the Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators stayed alive. Detroit faces the prospect of elimination once again in Game 5 against the San Jose Sharks tonight. Let’s take a look at the contest.
Detroit @ San Jose (Versus) – 8 p.m. ET; Sharks lead series 3-1
There were rumors that Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen might miss Game 5, but the Red Wings have denied those murmurs. Their lack of a morning skate added fuel to the confusion yet it seems like both players will skate for Detroit. We’ll let you know if that verdict changes once again, though.
Even if those two players manage to play tonight, it’s tough to shake the feeling that the Red Wings are a little worn down. They have the experience, skill and guile to come back from this deficit, but do they have the energy to complete this turnaround against a big, talented Sharks team?
Despite all the firepower, depth players have made a big difference in this series so far. Then again, it’s pretty tough to fathom Joe Pavelski qualifying as a “depth” player, but it shows just how deep the Sharks’ forward group really is right now.
The Red Wings earned four wins in their last five Game 5 contests, while the Sharks are 9-4 in Game 5 contests at home in their franchise history, according to the Associated Press.
Will history repeat itself with another five-game series win for San Jose or will another Western semifinals series go to at least six games? We’ll find out tonight.