Sharks survive, clip Wings in thrilling Game 7

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Sharks survive, clip Wings in thrilling Game 7

May 12, 2011

BOX SCORE SHARKS VIDEONHLPAGE NHLSCOREBOARD

SAN JOSE (AP) For all the blame Patrick Marleau has shouldered for past postseason failures by San Jose, it was only fitting that his winning goal helped the Sharks avoid their biggest collapse yet.Marleau got his first point of the series when he knocked home a rebound with 7:47 to play and then made the key defensive play in the closing seconds as the Sharks managed to knock out the Detroit Red Wings on their fourth try with a 3-2 victory Thursday night in Game 7 of their Western Conference semifinal series."For him to end up with the winning goal was pretty special for our team and for him," coach Todd McLellan said. "I think the monkey may be off his back for the next series. ... He was a difference maker tonight."
RATTO: Marleau saves impact for Game 7 winDevin Setoguchi and Logan Couture scored in the first period and Antti Niemi made 38 saves for the Sharks, who had lost three straight potential clinching games before eliminating the Red Wings for the second straight year in the second round.San Jose avoided becoming the fourth NHL team to lose a series after winning the first three games. A franchise known for its playoff flops avoided a colossal one and now heads into its second straight Western Conference final."There's a lot of doubters who said we probably couldn't do this," captain Joe Thornton said. "But that's two years in a row we beat a pretty good team. We're a pretty good team now, too."
VIDEO: Joe Thornton postgame
The Sharks get two days off before beginning the conference final Sunday in Vancouver against the Canucks, who also won a Game 7 after blowing a 3-0 lead in the first round against defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago.
Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg scored for the Red Wings, who fought valiantly to the end but were unable to complete their bid for an historic feat. Detroit furiously pushed for the tying goal in the frantic final minutes, but couldn't beat Niemi again - even after getting a late power-play chance."It's not easy being down 3-0 and having to win four games," Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. "I felt like we had the upper hand. But you never knew the outcome of any game until the end. At the end, it's still disappointing to win three games and come back here with a chance to win or tie it in the final minutes and then fall short."The 41-year-old defenseman, who has won four Stanley Cup titles with Detroit, must decide if he wants to come back for a 20th NHL season.
RELATED: Sharks-Canucks Playoff Schedule"I'm going to take my time before making a decision," Lidstrom said. "We'll have our meetings and go from there. I'm going to take the whole year into account. I'll take about as much time as last year. I'll meet with the coaching staff. It's been tough the last couple of years."The much-maligned Marleau, who was called "gutless" by former teammate Jeremy Roenick after Game 5, gave the Sharks the breathing room when he poked a rebound of Setoguchi's shot into an empty net behind Jimmy Howard to give San Jose a 3-1 lead.But as tough as it was to eliminate the Red Wings in the series, it was just that hard to close out this game. Datsyuk beat Niemi with a great individual effort to make it a one-goal game with 6:01 remaining. The Sharks had to kill off a power play, when Torrey Mitchell was called for slashing with 5:03 left, to preserve the lead. Niemi then made a stop on a tricky shot by Datsyuk in the final minute.After a scramble in front of the net, Marleau broke up a scoring chance for Patrick Eaves and then got the final clear, sending the fans into delirium and giving the Sharks their first sense of relief as the clock ran out."It was just nice to have it over and have us on top," Marleau said. "They played great the whole way through. It was just nice to be able to shake hands and come back in here."The Red Wings fell behind 2-0 in the first period but that deficit surely wasn't daunting to a team that overcame a 3-0 hole in the series to force this Game 7.Detroit dominated the second period despite finishing it without three of its top forwards, with Johan Franzen missing the game with an ankle injury, Todd Bertuzzi getting knocked out in the first period with an upper body injury, and Danny Cleary getting helped to the locker room after appearing to hit his head on the ice after a collision with teammate Jiri Hudler."That's a huge chunk of team that was missing," coach Mike Babcock said. "We would love having some more minutes out of those guys."The Red Wings outshot the Sharks 17-6 in the period but managed to get only one puck past Niemi, who made tough saves on Niklas Kronwall and Cleary in the first half of the period.Zetterberg got Detroit on the board when he beat Niemi with a backhand at the end of a three-on-two rush with 6:50 left in the second. The Red Wings kept the pressure up the rest of the way as the Sharks looked desperate for the period to end, icing the puck five times.Detroit got the final 10 shots in the period as the Sharks couldn't manage even to get one after Setoguchi's attempt with 7:48 to go. But Niemi was able to preserve the lead heading into the third, robbing Zetterberg with his glove late in the period."We had to get it done, especially in the playoffs," Zetterberg said. "We should have created a few more chances."The crowd was frenzied at the start for what was being billed by many as the biggest game ever at the Shark Tank, cheering "Beat De-troit! Beat De-troit!" That energy from the fans was matched by the Sharks, who were thoroughly outplayed in their Game 6 loss in Detroit two nights earlier.They scored on a power play midway through the period when Thornton threaded a perfect pass from behind the net to Setoguchi, who beat Howard with a one-timer for his fifth goal of the series. Then after killing off two Detroit power plays, San Jose got a second goal when Couture stole an outlet pass from Zetterberg, and in the same motion beat Howard with a wrist shot from the faceoff circle with 59 seconds left in the period.Notes: San Jose F Ryane Clowe returned to the lineup after missing Game 6 with an upper body injury. ... Kris Draper replaced Franzen in the lineup. Draper scored a goal in the only previous Game 7 between these teams, a game the Sharks won 3-2 in 1994.

Kings' Cousins: 'Only goal this season' is to make playoffs

Kings' Cousins: 'Only goal this season' is to make playoffs

With their 109-104 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night, the Sacramento Kings sit 10 games under .500 at 17-27. In almost any other season, that would mean that they were dead in the water in the Western Conference playoff race. But this it the 2016-17 season where anything is possible at the bottom.

Following Sacramento’s win at the Palace at Auburn Hills, DeMarcus Cousins was asked about the playoff picture.

“It’s my only goal this season,” Cousins told reporters following the game. “My only goal.” 

When pushed on the subject, he gave a more complete answer.

“Oh man, it’s eating me alive - every loss or every time another team wins that’s battling for the eighth spot, it’s eating me alive,” Cousins added. “Our only goal is to be in the playoffs this season.”

The Kings snapped a five-game losing streak with the win over the Pistons and they came into the evening just 2-10 over their previous 12 games. 

Once they get through their current eight game road trip, they spend the entire month of February in the Pacific time zone and play 11 over their next 13 games at Golden 1 Center.  

“The one thing I can give credit to this team about is us staying together and being a positive locker room through the ups and downs,” Cousins said. “I’m still confident and I still believe we’re going to make that push for the playoffs.”

Despite the rough patch, the Kings remain just a game and a half out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference standings. No one is running away with that last playoff spot, at least not yet.

 

Lawson, bench unit spark Kings' much-needed win over Pistons

Lawson, bench unit spark Kings' much-needed win over Pistons

Everyone must contribute. With Rudy Gay gone for the season, Sacramento needs a team effort each night out if they are going to have a chance of turning things around. Balancing the roster on the fly is never easy, but it’s the hand that the Kings were dealt when their second leading scorer tore his Achilles last week.

Needing a win in the worst way, the Kings walked into the Palace at Auburn Hills and came away with a huge 109-104 victory. Demarcus Cousins put up numbers, but it was the supporting cast that found a way to rise to the occasion and snap the team’s five-game losing streak.

“We’re going to need everybody on this team,” Cousins told reporters following the game. “At some point, everyone on the bench is going to win a game for us. Tonight, it was Ty (Lawson), it was Willie (Cauley-Stein) and it was Malachi (Richardson).”

Lawson was a magician with the ball. He entered the game with the Kings down just one with 3:36 remaining in the first quarter, but the Pistons caught fire around that time and pushed the lead to 11 with 20 seconds remaining in the quarter.

It looked like Sacramento might fall behind big once again, but then Lawson and the bench unit took over.

“Ty Lawson, Malachi Richardson and Willie Cauley-Stein had a great energy when we were down 11 in the first half,” Joerger told reporters. “Obviously, probably the best Willie’s played all year. Same for Malachi. He got some run, he got a little burn in the second half, felt pretty good.”

Powered by Lawson, the offense instantly opened up in the second quarter as the Kings tracked down the Pistons on their home floor. Sacramento outscored Detroit 37-24 in the frame to take a three point lead into the intermission. Lawson posted nine points and handed out four assists in the quarter.

“When our offense gets sticky, he’s able to create shots for guys by getting kickouts and getting in the lane,” Joerger said.

The 5-foot-11 point guard didn’t let up in the second half, finishing the night with 19 points and six assists in 23 minutes of action.  

“Chico just goes and plays, man, that’s Chico,” Cousins said of Lawson. “If there’s anyone with a green light to just go and play, it’s him. We love what he does with this team. He’s a spark off the bench for us. He gets us going when there’s a slump. We love the little guy.”

Lawson has become a catalyst off the bench for coach Jeorger. The 29-year-old speedster signed a one-year deal with the Kings late in the offseason and he’s quickly found his niche with the team.

“You play with Ty, you can’t help by want to run, because he will pitch it to you and that’s the best motivation - everybody wants to score,” said Joerger.

Cousins and Lawson didn’t do it alone. Cauley-Stein had one of his games of the season, finishing the night with 12 points and five rebounds. Darren Collison added 12 points, Garrett Temple chipped in 11 points and veteran Matt Barnes added 10 points and eight rebounds.  

“It’s a big, bounce back win,” Cousins said. “We were kind of heartbroken about the last lost. We felt we did everything needed to pull a win and it just didn’t go that way for us. We kind of showed our character and showed we could overcome some type of adversity with the win tonight.”

The Kings are back at it on Wednesday in Cleveland when they hit game four of their season-long eight-game road trip. They’ll face LeBron James and the championship Cavs for the second time this month.  

“It’s huge, we had a little stretch where we lost like eight of nine games, something like that,” Lawson told CSN’s Kayte Christensen following the game. “Getting a win going into Cleveland, it makes us feel a little bit better. Now we’ve got to go in and get a tough one.”

A tough one indeed. Cleveland sits at 31-13 on the season, but they are coming off back-to-back losses against the Spurs and Pelicans.