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Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau help Sharks steal game 3

Patrick Marleau Joe Thornton

San Jose Sharks Joe Thornton jumps on Patrick Marleau celebrating their 4-3 overtime victory over the Detroit Red Wings in an NHL hockey Western Conference second-round playoff series in Detroit, Tuesday, May 4, 2010. San Jose leads the series 3-0. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)


The Red Wings looked like they were going to get right back in the mix in their series with the San Jose Sharks, holding a 3-1 lead going into the third period. Unfortunately, they couldn’t contain the supposed “chokers” from California ... particularly that totally not clutch Joe Thornton. San Jose Sharks 4, Detroit Red Wings 3 in OT

Sharks lead series 3-0

Thornton had a fantastic game, scoring a big early goal in the third to pull the Sharks within one and also sent a beautiful diagonal pass to the team’s other oft-critiqued center Patrick Marleau for the overtime game-winner. After empowering his critics by only putting up three assists against Colorado in Round 1, Thornton already has four points in three matches against the Red Wings. In other news, Joe Pavelski’s scorching hot goal scoring streak didn’t continue, but he still put up an assist.

Detroit scored the three of the game’s first four goals with Tomas Holmstrom, Dan Cleary and Henrik Zetteberg putting the puck in the net. Devin Setoguchi scored with just four seconds left in the first period, followed by goals from Thornton and Logan Couture in the third period then finally Marleau in overtime. Evgeni Nabokov made some great saves in this one, out-playing a still fairly solid Jimmy Howard.

The Red Wings now face a staggering 3-0 deficit in the series and would also need to win two games at the Shark Tank to make it to the Western Conference Finals yet again. It’s not as if the Sharks are blowing them out of the rink in this series, but things will have to change dramatically for the Red Wings to win four in a row. If they were to do that, then I’d finally have to agree that the Sharks are “chokers.”

Finally, the tin foil hats probably aren’t going away for a while. Although officiating didn’t cost the Red Wings the game, the Sharks had a 6-to-2 PP opportunity advantage and the Wings had two goals reviewed by video (with one being called back). If you ask me, though, the Red Wings have no one but themselves to blame for this loss.