Sharks coach Todd McLellan has never been shy about praising Detroit center Pavel Datsyuk. McLellan, a former Red Wings assistant, just wishes he didn't have to do it now as Datsyuk skates circles around the Sharks in this playoff series.

"I thought Pavel was the best player on the ice again, and he willed his team to the win," McLellan said of Detroit's 4-3 victory in Game 5 on Sunday. "It wasn't a full night thing, but he was there in the third period."

Datsyuk had three assists, including the fancy stick work that ultimately resulted in Tomas Holmstrom's winning goal. For the postseason, Datsyuk has a team-leading 13 points and is staking his claim as perhaps the NHL's best player at this moment.

Oh, and he's doing it despite being bothered by an apparent wrist injury. Datsyuk didn't take a single faceoff Sunday.

"That's pretty good investigative reporting," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock joked after the game when asked about Datsyuk staying out of the faceoff circles. "I guess he didn't feel like taking them. He's the best on our team, but we just didn't have him taking them."

If the Sharks are going to close out the series Tuesday in Game 6, they will have to find a way to better contain the gifted Russian puck-handler.

"I think we did a pretty good job against him early (in the series)," Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle said. "But the last couple of games, especially last game in the third period, we let him do his thing.