– Fittingly, overtime settled the first game of Saturday night’s
Western Conference Semifinals between the host San Jose Sharks and
the Detroit Red Wings.
SAN JOSE – Fittingly, overtime settled the first game of Saturday night’s Western Conference Semifinals between the host San Jose Sharks and the Detroit Red Wings.
After an 82-game regular season that left the teams only one point apart in the standings, a 1-1 tie in regulation was followed by the heroics of San Jose’s Benn Ferriero, scoring the game-winner on his 24th birthday.
The teams return to HP Pavilion ice Sunday for a 12noon game before the series switches to Detroit for Wednesday and Friday games.
San Jose owns four overtime wins among five victories in the post-season. Detroit won four straight in regulation over Phoenix in the first round.
Ferriero, playing in his first-ever Stanley Cup game, capped the 2-1 comeback win when he pulled a loose puck away from the left boards and sent a low shot toward the net.
“I tried to get it through (the goaltender’s) pads, but it hit a stick and got into the back of the net,” Ferriero said.
San Jose had hustled through a four-minute power play early in the overtime, but Detroit was able to kill the four minutes.
“We were able to stay in their end,” said San Jose defenseman Dan Boyle. “It was one of those ugly goals but it’s nice to see him rewarded like that.”
Ferriero, on his eighth shift for the game, was able to control the puck in the corner off a Boyle shot from the high slot before pushing it to Joe Pavelski. Ferriero regained control and shot toward the net. The puck deflected off the stick of Detroit defenseman Brad Stuart before flying over goaltender Jimmy Howard’s head and into the net at 7:03.
“They didn’t score on the four-minute power play but they wear you out,” said Detroit coach Mike Babcock.
“(Detroit) did a tremendous job of penalty killing,” said San Jose coach Todd McLellan. “Four minutes and you are counting on winning the game during those four minutes. It could have been a huge momentum swing against us. We were lucky enough to get two or three of their players at that point and win a battle and get the puck to the net.”
Niklas Lidstrom, Detroit’s captain, gave the visitors a 1-0 lead 9:30 into the first period.
An unmarked Lidstrom, in his 252nd career post-season game, collected Pavel Datsyuk’s low pass from the left boards as he skated into the high slot. Lidstrom’s snapshot flew inside the right post as a screened goaltender Antti Niemi made a late lunge at the puck.
The goal could have been revenge for last post-season’s turnover by Lidstrom that led to the winning goal by Joe Thornton in a 4-3 Sharks victory. Lidstrom’s stick broke at the blueline as he attempted to send the puck inside the San Jose zone in the third period of the second game of the series. The Sharks used that 2-0 cushion after two home games to finish off the Wings in five games.
San Jose ran up an 18-9 edge in shots on net in the second period but left the period with the same 1-0 deficit.
San Jose turned a power play opportunity in the third period into the tying goal.
Detroit’s Todd Bertuzzi went to the penalty box for boarding at 9:41 and the Sharks netted the equalizer 41 seconds later. Joe Thornton’s strong shot from the high slot was deflected aside by Howard but Pavelski was near the right post and clubbed the puck behind the goalie for his fourth goal of the post-season.
San Jose finished the game with a 46-25 edge in shots on net.
“It’s very easy to want to do it yourself,” Boyle said of San Jose’s inability to score until the 10:22 mark of the third period. “We did a good job staying with the game plan. We could have been frustrated but we stuck with it. We had some long surges, tons of shots, tons of looks. We stayed positive.”
Babcock noted that the Red Wings did not put sufficient pressure on the San Jose defense.
“They were better than us,” said Babcock. “I didn’t mind my (defense) at all but they had way too much wear and tear on them. (San Jose’s) D had a night off. We didn’t touch them.”