May 10, 2011, 6:36 PM EDT
The San Jose Sharks face three scenarios going into tonight’s Game 6 against the Red Wings in Detroit:
1. They can win tonight and rest until Sunday’s Game 1 against the Vancouver Canucks.
2. They can win a stressful Game 7 on Thursday, robbing them of two extra nights of rest.
3. They can lose both games and become just the fourth team in NHL history to lose a series after building a 3-0 lead, undeniably etching them in history as some of the biggest “chokers” the sport has ever seen.
The Canucks avoided another near-collapse by finishing off the Nashville Predators last night, but the Sharks might face even more pressure in this Game 6. The Red Wings managed to win Game 5 thanks to frantic (yet borderline inevitable?) comeback from a 3-1 third period deficit, so the choking calls are already building. It’s hard not to wonder if the Sharks would be a little tight in a Game 7 considering the collective psyche of their team and fans.
San Jose @ Detroit (Versus) – 8 p.m. ET; Sharks lead series 3-2
Both teams will be without key contributors as Ryane Clowe didn’t make the trip to Detroit and Johan Franzen won’t play because of an ankle injury. Mike Modano will suit up in Franzen’s place for what might be the future Hall of Famer’s final game.
All five games in this series were decided by one goal, so it’ll be interesting to see if we’re in for another close contest.
Interestingly enough, Stats Inc. points out that the Sharks hope to avoid repeating history from 2002 while the Red Wings are hoping to repeat it. That playoff year marked the last time the Sharks gave up a 3-2 series lead and the most recent instance in which Detroit came back from that exact deficit. Both teams experienced those moments against the Colorado Avalanche, by the way.
While Sharks fans might cringe at a possible Game 7 while Red Wings fans are hoping for at least one more game, the rest of the hockey world would probably be delighted to see two more games between these teams.
There won’t be any NHL playoff hockey until Saturday, anyway, so why not?
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