Pavel Datsyuk wasn't even supposed to play.
With a reportedly bad wrist, the Detroit Red Wings playmaker couldn't take faceoffs, and definitely wasn't expected to dazzle the way he normally does with the puck on his stick.
But the hurting hand was good enough to pull the Wings from the brink of elimination into good standing in their second-round series with the reeling San Jose Sharks.
Datsyuk didn't score in the 4-3 Game 5 victory at the Shark Tank in San Jose, but he did all the dirty work on three goals, including the winner late in the third period to bring the series deficit to 3-2 in the Wings' second-straight win.
Watching him work the puck along the boards and around players to set up his teammates is just mesmerizing on the small screen. Apparently it has the same affect on the opposition on the ice.
Stops and starts
Johan Franzen is playing on one good leg, Pavel Datsyuk has a wonky wrist and Henrik Zetterberg has a knee problem. Yet they're all still better options than Mike Modano, who can't get into the lineup ahead of Drew Miller. Sad end to a tremendous NHL career ... Joe Thornton isn't the toughest dude, but those mocking him after the Franzen slash should know he took that stick swing right on top of his foot ... The Canucks looked all loosey goosey as they headed to Nashville. Say they feel no pressure. Not sure if that's a good thing or not, but they are still in the driver's seat with a couple more chances to clinch ... To those who haven't been there, the Shark Tank (a.k.a. HP Pavilion) in San Jose is an incredibly energetic building. And the press box hot dogs are incredible — just ask Bryan Marchment ... We knew he could shoot, but did anyone know how great a passer Ryane Clowe can be? His saucer dish over a sliding Red Wings defenceman to set up a Joe Pavelski goal was brilliant.
The Red Wings have a lucky charm. Alyssa Milano is rooting for them. Maybe it will help them become the fourth NHL team to come back from a 3-0 best-of-seven series lead and win ... Goaltenders Martin Biron and Jamie McLennan joined the TSN panel Sunday night. Guess they couldn't find a starter. Then again, either of them might have had a chance to unseat Red Wings netminder Jimmy Howard in these playoffs ... Howard, though, hung tough late in Sunday's game to keep the hurting Red Wings in the hunt ... The case of the missing Stanley Cup puck from last year is getting ridiculous. TSN had a mini-documentary on the unknown wherabouts of Patrick Kane's overtime winner that gave Chicago its first title in 49 years. We all know linesman Steve Miller picked it up, but may never find out what he did with it. Do we really need the FBI looking into it? ... Is it just me, or does Dany Heatley shoot to hurt?
Dump and chase
After dropping Game 5 to the Nashville Predators, the President's Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks are now 1-4 in elimination games this spring. Not the kind of step-on-your-throat killer instinct you'd expect from a Stanley Cup favourite ... It's a little surprising T-shirt companies haven't picked up on the 'Kesler is Messier' trend yet. Gotta think SportsChirps.com will get on it if the Canucks move on ... If Kesler is Messier, is Joel Ward Wayne Gretzky? Ward scored just 10 goals in 80 regular-season games this year. He has seven in 11 so far this spring ... Ward shot some video as he walked through the crowd of fans that greeted the Preds at the airport Sunday and saw some great homemade signs with his name on them. Among the best were 'Praise the Ward,' 'Ward Have Mercy,' Way to WARD off the Canucks!' 'Built Ward Tough,' and acronym 'Will Always Rise up & Deliver!'
"Marine biology question: do sharks sweat? I think this species might just be."
— TSN's James Duthie (@tsnjamesduthie)
"Biggest decision of my off-season is whether im buying a Ryan Kesler or Joel Ward jersey. #NHL.comDiscount"
— Paul Bissonnette (@BizNasty2point0)
"Cancel the search, after 6 years of searching @JamieMcGinn64 has finally found his wallet. Bought me lunch today. #firsttimeforeverything"
— San Jose Sharks' Logan Couture (@Logancouture)
"i wonder what the over under is on when this twitter thing gets me into trouble?"
— Nashville Predators' Colin Wilson (@ColinW33, a Twitter newbie
"Started p90x today. Going to be either really ripped and miserable-or fat and happy. I want to punch the guy in the video. #ilovecarbsbye"
— Matthew Barnaby