The Stat Line Of The Night — 5/10/11 — Valtteri Filppula
Through the first 50 minutes of Game 6 last night between the San Jose Sharks and the Detroit Red Wings, Antti Niemi was busy making a strong case for our “Stat Line of the Night.” The Sharks goaltender was easily the busier of the two netminders, as he continued to frustrate the Red Wings’ shooters, stopping everything that came his way in an effort to help his team secure their 1-0 lead.
At that point it seemed as though the Sharks would finally get that elusive fourth win of this second-round series. Then, in the blink of an eye, the Wings did what they had done in the previous two games of the series – take control late and win the game in the final ten minutes of regulation.
Much of their comeback can be attributed to some key saves from Jimmy Howard, and some great work from players like Pavel Datsyuk and Darren Helm, to name a few, but perhaps no one had a greater role in sending this series to a seventh game than forward Valtteri Filppula. After setting up the tying goal with a great rush and an ever greater pass to Niklas Kronwall, whose shot was eventually deflected in by Henrik Zetterberg, Filppula put the Wings ahead, one-timing home a picture perfect backhand pass from Datsyuk with less than eight minutes remaining in regulation. An empty netter from Helm would eventually seal the 3-1 Wings victory and send this series to an improbable Game 7.
In the first round it was the Chicago Blackhawks coming back from 3-0 down to send their series with the Vancouver Canucks to a Game 7. The Detroit Red Wings have now accomplished the same feat, but on Thursday they will try to do what the Hawks couldn’t – win Game 7. Another great game from Filppula would certainly help them do just that, as he earns our “Stat Line of the Night” for Tuesday, May 10, 2011.