The first thing I'm going to do tonight when I get to the Joe Louis Arena is to find out what Everybody wants to know. What kind of stick is it that breaks at the worst possible moment and causes the Red Wings to lose a hockey game and in all likelihood a playoff series? Instead of making my usual bee line to the Media Dining Room, I will instead head to the stick rack outside the Wings dressing room and find out what brand of stick Nick Lidstrom uses. I want to know what kind of stick it is that breaks like Lidstrom's broke as he was taking a slapshot Sunday night resulting in a turnover resulting in a 2-on-1 the other way resulting in a San Jose goal which snapped a 3-3 tie resulting in a 2-0 series lead for the Sharks over the Wings in this Western Conference Semi-Final. I will then find out what Liddy's stick retails for--it's going to be in the $150-$180 dollar range, I'll bet (I know, how can a freaking hockey stick cost that much?)--and I'll be back with the pertinent information tomorrow.
That said, the problem, dear Brutus was the fact that the Wings allowed the Sharks to score four in the first place. San Jose was 30-1-2 (.969) during the just-concluded 2009-10 regular season when they scored at least four goals in a game. In other words, you give the Sharks four, you lose. Detroit, on the other hand, was 4-13-7 (.313) when allowing at least four goals in a game. In other words, when the Wings gave up four or more, they had about a one-in-three chance of winning the game.
The playoffs? That's another story. I probably don't have to tell you this, but the Detroit Red Wings have now played 571 playoff games all-time. Of those 571 games, Detroit has allowed four or more goals in 158. That's 27.7% of the time. Roughly one game in four. Would you care to hazard a guess as to how many of those 158 games in which the opponent has scored at least four goals the Wings have won? I'll give you a moment...
The answer is 17. Detroit is 17-141 (.108) in playoff games when they allow at least four goals. I don't know about you, but all I could say when I completed that computation was, "Wow," or "Damn," or something just like it.
Also, for the record, the Wings are 5-18 all-time in series in which they trailed two games to none. This includes series of all lengths: best-of-three, best-of-five, best-of-seven; even the total-goals series they played against Toronto in 1929--Detroit's first-ever playoff series.
Now, if you want to feel a little better, if you don't want to abandon all hope and think all is lost, remember back to 2002. The Wings lost the first two games to Vancouver, at home no less, then roared back to win the next four to take the series in six.
But they'd better win tonight. The Wings have never won a series in which they lost the first three games. (Although they did once lose one in which they won the first three games.) The closest the Wings have ever come to rallying back from 3-games-to-none down came in 1945 when they lost the first three before winning the next three to force a game 7. Which they lost.
So, historically at least, it's do or die for the boys tonight on home ice.