Red Wings win Game 4 late, stay alive vs. Sharks


Red Wings win Game 4 late, stay alive vs. Sharks

May 6, 2011


DETROIT (AP) The Detroit Red Wings figured out a way to be on the winning side of a one-goal game against the San Jose Sharks.For Detroit, it was about time.Darren Helm scored with 1:27 left, lifting the Red Wings to an elimination-avoiding 4-3 win over San Jose in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinal series on Friday night."For us it was an overtime game, a game we obviously had to win," Helm said.The Sharks won the first three games of the second-round rematch by a goal after beating the Red Wings by one goal for a fourth time in Game 5 last year."It's a great feeling just finishing on top and finally getting a win," said captain Nicklas Lidstrom, who scored twice in the first period to give Detroit a three-goal lead that slipped away.The Sharks will take their 3-1 series lead back to San Jose with a chance to advance on Sunday night to the NHL's final four.
RATTO: Sharks can't capitalize on comeback
"We have an opportunity to win at home," coach Todd McLellan said. "We're going to learn from this one and we're going to be better."Detroit is trying to become the fourth NHL team to win a series after trailing 3-0."We think we have an opportunity," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said.The Red Wings had a chance to win Game 4 big as they did last year, but couldn't put away San Jose.Logan Couture had a goal 15 seconds after Lidstrom's second, Dan Boyle scored midway through the middle period to pull San Jose within 3-2, and Dany Heatley tied it early in the third."I like the fact that we were resilient when we weren't playing real well," McLellan said. "We found a way to claw our way back into it."Helm put Detroit back ahead for good, scoring from the left circle off a cross-ice pass from Patrick Eaves, who got the puck off a long rebound following Brian Rafalski's shot."When I saw the puck, it was on the other side," said San Jose's Antti Niemi, who stopped 26 shots.Jimmy Howard made 25 saves for the win.The tightly contested series has mirrored last year's matchup between the highly talented, puck-possession teams. San Jose won the first three games by a goal each time, but again failed to complete the sweep.Todd Bertuzzi scored first this time 6:22 in, just as he did last year in Game 4, when he gave Detroit a 1-0 lead at 5:40.The Red Wings went on to win that game 7-1 before getting eliminated in Game 5.Detroit appeared to be on the way to another blowout win after Lidstrom scored twice in the first period to make it 3-0."We didn't answer the bell as well as we could've," San Jose forward Joe Pavelski said.The Sharks, though, refused to get routed.Couture quieted Joe Louis Arena at 18:16 of the first, and Boyle silenced the fired-up fans when he made it 2-1 at 13:44 of the second.The Sharks had their first power play 4:12 into the third, shortly after tying the game, but didn't take advantage. San Jose had another power play with 8:25 left and failed to score."It was getting hairy near the end," Bertuzzi said.Bertuzzi started the scoring with a spectacular play, making a 360-degree spin with the puck and beating Niemi with a backhander from the right circle.From the other circle, Lidstrom's slap shot off a long rebound made it 2-0 midway through the first period. The defenseman got control of a pass with his left skate, whacked the puck out of the air, and bounced it past Niemi."You guys were talking about retirement," Babcock said when asked about the 41-year-old Lidstrom's performance. "I think he answered that pretty good."The cheers turned to groans seconds later when Helm had a giveaway, and Howard gave up what seemed like a soft goal to Couture. Howard went low and Boyle shot high after a cross-ice pass caught back-checking forward Jiri Hudler out of position to make it 3-2 midway through the second period.The Red Wings were scrambling to keep up with San Jose on the tying goal, too, leaving Heatley alone in front for a shot that Howard couldn't stop.In front of a standing crowd, Detroit made the big play in the heart-pounding final minutes to avoid elimination."It was a huge adrenaline rush," Howard said. "Our fans were going crazy the last 10 minutes of the game. That really helped energize us."NOTES: The 2010 Flyers, 1942 Maple Leafs and 1975 Islanders are the only NHL teams to overcome 3-0 deficits to win a best-of-seven series. ... Lidstrom's first goal gave him 181 career playoff points, breaking a second-place tie with Ray Bourque for scoring by a defenseman, and broke an 11th-place tie overall with Jaromir Jagr. ... LW Ryane Clowe assisted on each of San Jose's goals, giving him 12 points to rank among scoring leaders this postseason.

Steve Kerr doesn't really care that much about blowout loss to Spurs

Steve Kerr doesn't really care that much about blowout loss to Spurs

The Warriors will play their second game of the season on Friday night in New Orleans.

But that doesn't mean they are done talking about the 29-point loss to the Spurs on Opening Night.

"We played a team that just came in and beat the crap out of us, frankly," Kerr told 95.7 The Game's Damon Bruce on Thursday. "They're the one team I would say, when you're adding a lot of new parts and pieces like we are, you either don't want to play the Spurs on Opening Night or you do. The reason you don't want to play them is because of what happened the other night -- they're gonna execute, they know who they are, they got all that continuity from the roster that they've had for years.

"The reason you do want to play them is because they'll expose your weaknesses right away. I don't really care that much about the loss to be honest with you. I felt bad for the fans, who had to suffer through that. But as far as our team goes, even though it was embarrassing and humiliating and nobody slept very well that night, it really opened up every weakness that we had. And it'll sharpen our focus, and we'll be able to work on a lot of things based on that game."

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In the game's aftermath, a lot of the focus was centered around the idea that the Warriors missed Andrew Bogut's presence on the defensive end.

The Warriors surrendered 21 offensive rebounds and acknowledged they miscommunicated many times within their scheme.

"Every team that you put together is gonna be different," Kerr explained. "Obviously, we had to move Andrew (Bogut) in order to get Kevin Durant. Even Boges himself said, 'Hey, if I'm the GM, I'd do that, too' ... we were really lucky to get Zaza (Pachulia) and David West, and they're gonna play huge roles on our team, but they're different players.

"It's our job as coaches to figure out what works best and the players have to get to know one another. And they'll get more comfortable as they go. We should be a very good defensive team. We won't have that shot blocking at the rim but we'll have a lot of other really good components to work with and we'll figure it out."

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Kerr also discussed the team's mentality in regards to the regular season. Is 74 wins possible?

"I think that record is impossible to break. I don't care who we have on our team. What we did last year to break the 72-win record was incredible. I don't think that record will ever be broken, but of course, we're gonna be asked about it because we've got Kevin Durant.

"It's unfathomable for any team to win 74 games ... anybody who predicted that we were gonna win 74 games, doesn't get the NBA. It doesn't work that way ... it's not even something that enters our mind.

"The most important thing for us is to win when it matters in June. We didn't do that last year, so that's the focus."

Rewind: 'Beautiful' night for Kings, Sacramento despite loss to Spurs

Rewind: 'Beautiful' night for Kings, Sacramento despite loss to Spurs

SACRAMENTO -- Basketball was supposed to take a back seat Thursday night at the Golden 1 Center. After countless failed attempts to build a new arena in Sacramento, the Kings were almost allowed to leave twice. But a new building comes another 30-plus year lease, cementing NBA hoops in the capital of California until at least the midway point of the century.

The evening was supposed to be a celebration of an accomplishment that many believed would never happen. And then a basketball game broke out.

No one expected the Kings to compete with the San Antonio Spurs. Gregg Popovich’s club won 67 games last season and were fresh off a smackdown of the Golden State Warriors in the season opener on Tuesday.

But this isn’t the 2015-16 Sacramento Kings that would routinely yield 110 points to their opponents. This is Dave Joerger’s club and they are grinders.

The end result was a loss, but one that you can live with. 102-94 doesn’t tell the whole story. For much of the night, the Kings were the best team on the floor.

“I consider this a good loss,” DeMarcus Cousins said. “I’m ready for the next one.”

There are moral victories when you are two games into an 82 game schedule and you go toe-to-toe with one of the best in the league. The mood in past seasons would have been somber in the Kings locker room, but that is not what it felt like on Thursday evening.

“The scary apart about it is we’ve still got so much more room to improve,” Cousins said. “In the past, you usually walk in here and guys are sulking and pissed off. (Tonight) it’s like okay, let’s get onto the next one. We know we made some mistakes. We know we broke down, but we’re on the right path right now.”

That path is built on a defensive identity and the Kings are building chemistry at a shocking rate. With five new rotational players and three new starters, Sacramento’s roster is still learning how to play together.

“As a group, we were pretty good defensively, we communicate with each other, so we’re always going to have a chance every night,” veteran shooting guard Arron Afflalo said.

When you play the Spurs, your margin for error is almost nill. The game turned on a turnover here and a mistake there and that’s something you can’t have when you’re playing a group that has been together for years in the same system.

“Defensively, I think we took a step in the right direction,” Rudy Gay said. “They’re a great team, I think we played great defense. Had a couple of letdowns, but it’s a basketball game. They’re a veteran team playing together. They have a system and they stuck to their system.”

It will go down as the first loss in the history of the Golden 1 Center, but the Kings are showing signs that they might be better than expected.

As for the opening of the building, it went off without a hitch. Both David Stern and Adam Silver were in attendance to see the event. As was Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett, former Sacramento Kings All-Star Chris Webber, mayor Kevin Johnson and a bevy of local celebrities.

It was an emotional night all around, even for Cousins who has spent the first six-plus seasons of his career in a Kings uniform.

“It was beautiful, man,” the Kings’ big man said from his locker stall. “As much as this city has been through, as much as they fought, they were more than deserving of this night. I wish we could have sealed the deal with a win, but we got 80 more so we can make it up later.”

The Kings face a young and athletic Minnesota Timberwolves team on Saturday that has given them fits in the past. It’s a new challenge that this team looks better prepared to face this season.