The Stat Line Of The Night — 5/8/11 — Pavel Datsyuk
There were questions surrounding the health and availability of Pavel Datsyuk entering Game 5, as he was listed as questionable with a wrist injury. However, with the Wings in a must-win situation, Datsyuk not only took part in last night’s game, but he would prove to be the difference in the Wings’ 4-3 comeback victory.
After watching his team go down 2-0 late in the second period, Datsyuk delivered a perfect cross-ice pass on the stick of defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who capitalized on the opportunity to put Detroit on the board and bring them to within one heading into the second intermission. The Wings would once again find themselves trailing by two early in the third period, but for the second time in a row, Datsyuk would set up the play that would bring Detroit back to within one.
Less than two minutes later, Dan Cleary would score to tie the game up at 3-3, and with just over six minutes remaining in regulation, Datsyuk used his patented smooth stick handling to maintain control of a puck in the Sharks’ zone, elude a couple of defenders, and find Nicklas Lidstrom open at the point. His shot would be deflected by Tomas Holmstrom in front of the net and beat Sharks’ goaltender Antti Niemi for the game-winning goal.
With the win, the Wings now find themselves two victories away from making history, as they can become just the fourth team to ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven NHL series. If they are looking for some inspiration, they do not need to look too far, as the Flyers were able to accomplish that feat in the second round of last year’s playoffs against the Boston Bruins. The Chicago Blackhawks had the opportunity to perform a similar comeback against the Vancouver Canucks this year, before losing in Game 7. Now it appears as though the Wings may be on the verge of an epic comeback of their own, thanks in large part to Pavel Datsyuk’s three-point night. As a result, he earns our “Stat Line of the Night” for Sunday, May 8, 2011.