Well I hate to say I called it but it sure looks like Déjà vu out in San Jose.
The Red Wings are going to have to find ways to keep themselves out of the penalty box and keep their foot on the gas if they want to defeat the San Jose Sharks this time around.
It may have only taken three seconds into the game for Darren Helm to make his presence known as he laid out his first hit just after the puck dropped. How does Helm pull that off? Pretty easy when he was chosen to start the game on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk.
Shortly after Helm’s statement making hit there would be an awkward hit/roughing situation between Drew Miller and Sharks birthday boy Benn Ferriero that would land them both in the penalty box for roughing. Wings got the power play as Sharks Scott Nichol was also assessed two minutes for cross checking.
If only Detroit knew what a thorn in their side Ferriero would turn out to be in his first NHL playoff game… happy birthday kiddo (really it was his 24th birthday and that kid knows how to make the most of a birthday…)
Not surprising the Red Wings failed to do much of any thing on their power play and it wasn’t until halfway though the period that captain Nicklas Lidstrom would finally score his first of the playoffs to give Detroit the lead. Leave it to Norris Nick to lead by example put a slap shot past Sharks net minder Antti Niemi. It is too bad for Detroit that no one else followed his example.
Then again I guess that isn’t easy to do when Lidstrom, whom just turned 41, just surpassed former Red Wing Sergei Fedorov for having the most play off goals in Red Wings history. Lidstrom now sits third in franchise history with only Mr. Hockey Gordie Howe and The Captain Steve Yzerman ahead of him. Not bad for a defenseman that was picked in the 3rd round of the draft.
The second period would see Jimmy Howard take over for the skaters in front of him as he would stop everything that came at him no matter the angle. Howard held steady even after Jiri Hudler would pull a slew foot on Sharks Joe Pavelski. The Sharks would go up a man advantage that would lead to some fantastic play making from San Jose captain Joe Thornton; but would it would untimely be Howard that would continue to stonewall the Sharks.
Eventually it would be Pavelski that would snow Howard and set the goalie with an attitude off as he attack back on the unsuspecting Pavelski. The players would end up with coincidental roughing penalties (Hudler would serve for Howard) neither team would capitalize on the four-on-four play.
The third period in the Shark Tank would start off with a the fans chanting ‘Howard’ with their new found hate for goalie out of Hockeytown.
Though the hometown fans were riled up with their team down 1-0 in the third both teams appeared to just sit back and coast that is until Detroit would see Todd Bertuzzi called for boarding on Pavelski. Ironicly after being boarded so hard by Bertuzzi it would be Pavelski that would see the Sharks tie the game.
As though that was not enough to give Detroit fans back in Hockey town an anxiety attack it would be just minutes later that Patrick Eaves would get a questionable call for slashing. With just over five minutes left in regulation time the Red Wings would go down a man.
It was a great save by Howard that managed to keep Detroit in the game with less than a minute left on the clock before the game would head into overtime.
Just minutes into overtime Justin Abdelkder was given four minutes for a hi-sticking penalty. While the Red Wings were able to kill off all four minutes it was not enough as just seconds after the Abdelakder penalty expired it would ne birthday boy Benn Ferriero that would put the puck past Howard.
History was somewhat repeated from last year; and yet made at the same time as the goal would be the first time in NHL history a player would score a playoff overtime goal on their birthday, it would also be Ferriero’s first NHL playoff goal, in his first playoff game on what happened to be his 24th birthday (it was also Detroit‘s head coach Mike Babcock‘s birthday).
What a way to make a statement in the big leagues there kiddo.
Red Wings will need to show some of that emotion Brad Sturat showcased there at the end of that clip when puck drops tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. EST on NBC if they want to even this series up before returning home.