Wings down Sharks, stave off elimination

Darren Helm scored the winner with 1:27 remaining in the third period to give the Detroit Red Wings a 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Friday night, allowing the Wings to fight another day.

Captain Nicklas Lidstrom, Todd Bertuzzi, Danny Cleary and Henrik Zetterberg each added two points for Detroit and Jimmy Howard made 25 saves.

Despite the loss, San Jose remains in control of the Western Conference semifinals with a 3-1 series lead. Game 5 will be played Sunday night in San Jose at 8 p.m. ET.

San Jose rallied from a three-goal deficit as Logan Couture, Dan Boyle and Dany Heatley scored for the Sharks and Ryane Clowe contributed three assists. Antti Niemi made 36 saves in the losing effort.

BOXSCORE

A desperate Detroit squad was relentless in the second half of the final frame, whipping the Joe Louis Arena into a frenzy. The lid was absolutely blown off in Motown when Helm took a cross-ice feed from Patrick Eaves and buried the game winner.

It looked as if San Jose was going to make a huge comeback to sweep the series from the Wings. Detroit scored three first period goals but surrendered the next three to make the game close.

The Wings will be looking to avoid the identical result of last year’s playoff series against the Sharks. San Jose opened up a 3-0 series lead in 2010 then lost Game 4 in Detroit. They returned home to beat the Wings in Game 5 and advanced to the Western Conference final.

Bertuzzi opened the scoring for Detroit after pulling off a wonderful spin-o-rama. He then threw a backhand shot towards the net that deflected off a Shark skate and past a helpless Niemi.

Lidstrom added the next two goals for the Wings. His second featured some terrific hand-eye coordination as he batted a bouncing puck out of the air and past a bewildered Niemi to make the score 3-0.

Logan Couture answered immediately following the third Detroit goal with his third of the playoffs. Clowe pounced on a Helm turnover then threw a weak shot along the ice that Couture deflected past Howard.

A terrific cross-ice pass by Kyle Wellwood to a pinching Boyle allowed San Jose to close the gap, making the score 3-2 at 6:16 of the second frame.

San Jose capitalized on some horrific defensive-zone play by Detroit to tie the game up early in the third period. Heatley was left all alone in front of Howard and snapped home his third of the playoffs to tie the game at 3-3.