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Breakdown: Game 1 vs. Sharks

by Staff Writer / Detroit Red Wings

By Michael Caples |

The penalty-kill was a primary focus for the Wings during their extended break heading into Game 1. In overtime, the penalty-kill wasn’t the problem – it was the moments immediately after.

The Wings had just finished killing off a four-minute high-sticking penalty given to Justin Abdelkader when a bouncing puck ended the game. San Jose managed to keep possession of the puck in the Wings’ end after Abdelkader had exited the box, and a shot from forward Benn Ferriero hit Brad Stuart’s stick and got past Jimmy Howard.

The Wings had held a 1-0 lead for the majority of the game, after captain Nicklas Lidstrom scored his first of the postseason 9:30 into the first.

Joe Pavelski notched his fourth goal of the playoffs 10:22 into the third period to tie the game and eventually force overtime, where Ferriero won the game for the Sharks.

The Wings were outshot 46-25, but played well in their shorthanded situations. San Jose scored only one power-play goal in 10:41 worth of man-advantage time. The Wings were held scoreless on two power-play chances.

The Wings will look to even the series on Sunday afternoon. Puck drops for Game 2 at 3:00 p.m. EDT.

Sixty minutes wasn’t enough for the Wings and Sharks in Game 1. Moments after the Wings killed a four-minute high-sticking penalty to Justin Abdelkader, Benn Ferriero fired the puck towards the Detroit goal. The shot hit Brad Stuart’s stick, changed direction, and got past Jimmy Howard to give the Sharks the game-winning goal and the early series lead.

6 Shots by San Jose's Ian White, the highest total for a single player in Game 1.
35 Shifts for Brad Stuart, despite not leading the team in ice-time (second to Niklas Kronwall).
30 Hits by the Red Wings in Game 1, which was four more than the Sharks' 26.
18 Shots taken by the Sharks in the second period. Detroit had 9.

Benn Ferriero
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 +1 1

 Joe Pavelski
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 EV 5

Pavel Datsyuk
G A P +/- Shots
0 1 1 EV 4

Antti Niemi
25 24 1 67:03 .960

Jimmy Howard
46 44 2 66:51 .956

Dan Boyle - D

27:41 - T0I, EV rating

Niklas Kronwall - D

26:39 - T0I, -1 rating

With just seconds remaining in regulation, Ian White fired the puck from the Wings’ blue line. The puck was tipped from a player in the midst of a scrum in front of Jimmy Howard, and it drastically changed direction. Somehow Howard knew to kick his right leg out and steer the puck wide, which preserved the tie to send the Wings and Sharks to overtime.

Despite picking up his first loss of the 2011 playoffs, Howard played an impressive 66:51 worth of hockey. The Wings were outshot 46-25, and Howard managed to stop 44 of them. Aside from the ‘highlight reel’ play, Howard robbed Torrey Mitchell’s blast from the slot in the first period, and a big save on a deke from Joe Pavelski in the first five minutes of the second. Howard also helped the Wings hold the Sharks to one power-play goal on six chances.

Pavel Datsyuk tried to do whatever he could to lead the Wings in this one. The Wings’ talented forward led all forwards in ice-time (22:32), and during that time recorded an assist, four shots, a team-high six hits, three takeaways, and 11 face-off wins – a game-high total. His assist was an impressive saucer pass over a Sharks defender’s stick to find Nicklas Lidstrom in the slot.

In the closing moments of the second period, Brad Stuart took a shot from the far blue line, which Antti Niemi stopped it and fired the puck towards the side boards. Justin Abdelkader went over to pick up the puck with Douglas Murray on his heels. Instead of picking up the puck, Abdelkader shifted directions, and put his shoulder into Murray, sending him flying as the buzzer sounded to end the period. It was an exclamation point on the pressure the Wings generated in the closing moments of the second.

Captain Nicklas Lidstrom’s goal now gives him 51 playoff goals, breaking a tie with Sergei Fedorov to put him in third place all-time for Detroit goal-scorers in the playoffs. Only Steve Yzerman (70) and Gordie Howe (67) have more goals in the playoffs than Lidstrom.

“I had a problem with lots of penalties – we shouldn’t have took them. They’re penalties, what are you going to do? You can’t take penalties, you have to look after your stick. Could they have had a couple more? Maybe, but they didn’t get a couple more. But the team that has the puck the most is going to take the least penalties.”

- Mike Babcock when asked his thoughts on the penalties called against the Wings in Game 1. 

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