Detroit continues to defy time

Red Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom watches as Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi and defenceman Jason...

Red Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom watches as Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi and defenceman Jason Demers can't stop a shot from center Valtteri Filppula (not shown) during Game 6 of their NHL Western Conference semifinal in Detroit, Mich., May 10, 2011. (REBECCA COOK/Reuters)

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:58 AM ET

There are games that define what a franchise has become. Game 6 Tuesday in Detroit was a game that delineated what the Detroit Red Wings are known for: professionalism, their will to win and their competitive spirit.

The Wings' 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks forced a seventh game in the best-of-seven series; a game that was never supposed to happen.

That the Wings put in another winning effort, when the series could be lost, adds an exclamation mark to what this organization is all about.

It was a remarkable effort at what may be the end of a long and successful era in Wings history. For now, that era will continue for at least one more game.

There have been other defining moments for these Wings.

There have been Stanley Cup wins, great comebacks and remarkable achievements.

They have been blessed with great teams that were expected to win and teams that were on the cusp of greatness.

The Wings have come back from the dead against these Sharks. They turned a forgetful series into one worthy of remembrance.

If you enjoy hockey, you couldn't help but marvel at Game 6.

The Wings played playoff hockey as it should be played.

They grabbed San Jose by the throat and had the strength to squeeze it shut.

Will the Sharks be able to breath in Game 7?

The Sharks were working hard to stay upbeat after the loss.

"The No. 2 and 3 seeded team, you expect a seven-game series," said Sharks centre Joe Thornton.

Even when you take a 3-0 lead?

"I'm sure you guys will write about history," said Sharks centre Logan Couture. "But I'm not thinking about it and I don't think any other player in this dressing room is thinking of history.

"We have one game to save our season and we'd better play better than we did (Tuesday.)"

The Red Wings have been fighting father time in this series. They've been fighting father time the last few years.

They have heard it often enough. They are old and done.

After the first three games in this series, it suddenly appeared as if Father Time had jumped on the Wings with both feet. The long seasons, the injuries, the extra work, the travel, the missing infusion of skilled young players and the patchwork pieces that didn't quite fit anymore were all on display as the Sharks ran out to a 3-0 series lead.

It was painful to watch at times as the Wings tried to ride a handful of veteran players to some sort of last wild ride.

That wild ride has arrived.

Somewhere in those tired bodies there remained championship DNA. It was DNA that refused to allow the Wings to go quietly or quickly.

Their win in Game 4 was a testament of a true champion refusing to go out with the ultimate embarrassment of being swept.

Game 5 was a magical escape of the inevitable. Badly outplayed and down by two goals in the third period, the Wings reached deep into their history while the Sharks reached deep into theirs. The result was inevitable.

There were no old men among the Wings Tuesday in Game 6.

The Wings dominated the Sharks with an ease that brought back memories of Detroit's 2008 Cup win.

While the Wings fought their battle, the Sharks were looking to survive their own demons; their own angst.

They were frightened of a Game 7 and what it might bring.

Now the Sharks have to live the nightmare of facing a team that has stared at the end of an era in the face and survived.

Not a good place for a team that's never responded to that kind of challenge.


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