“That was a pretty special birthday present,” Ferriero commented after. “I don’t think I could ask for anything more than that.”
Clearly the shining moment of his hockey career.
“I’d say so,” Ferriero, “I scored a goal in triple overtime in college, but it doesn’t really compare to this one.”
Ferriero had played just one NHL game since February 5, but Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan has the confidence to put him in the right spot.
“It was great to see Benny find a way to get the puck to the net,” McLellan said. “Fortunately his first shift out in overtime he ended it and we didn’t have to continue to tax the three big lines.”
Ferriero play just over five minutes on the night, but the longer overtime went, the more Ferriero would likely be playing.
“We didn’t use him a lot in the game,” McLellan said. “As it wore on and we felt overtime was looming once we scored, we talked at the intermission of overtime about getting people involved. Benny was one of them.”
McLellan actually gave Ferriero a bit of a heads up on the winning shift. About 30 seconds of warning that is.
“You’ve just got to be ready at all times,” Ferriero said. “When your number gets called you’ve got to make the most of your opportunity. You try to stay loose and try to stay involved in the game. I hadn’t played in a bit. He gave me a little heads up to be ready.”
McLellan said playing Ferriero on the night was as statement to what the rookie showed during the regular season.
“It wasn’t a genius move, I can tell you that,” McLellan said. “We just felt looking at their lineup, and the way their third and fourth line played, we needed certain ingredients. We’ve really liked Benny Ferriero’s game when he’s come up and contributed.”
Ferriero rewarded the coach by doing what was called for to close out the contest.
“Couture just poked it free a little bit,” Ferriero said. “We were trying to throw pucks to the net all game long, so I just grabbed it, spun out of the corner and threw it to the net. It bounced off a stick, skate, something, took a good bounce and ended up in the back of the net.”
Ferriero was actually told by McLellan the previous day he’d be playing because of the Detroit matchup and he came prepared.
“I found out yesterday afternoon,” Ferriero said. “I had a little time to prepare, which was nice. I knew what was going on. I was excited to get into my first playoff game. He just calls you in, let’s you know what he expects from of you, what he’s thinking. Said go get them tomorrow. You’re penciled.”
The Sharks dressing room was very happy for their unlikely hero.
“He kept himself prepared and for him to score that goal for us was huge,” Couture said. “In the playoffs you need everyone and some extras as well.”
The goal was likely the best highlight of Ferriero’s 24-year-old life.
“I guess that was the first shot. First game, first goal, on my birthday,” Ferriero said.
What a night.
The last NHL Player to score his first playoff goal in overtime in his first playoff game was San Jose's Niko Dimitrakos in the 2004 Western Conference Quarterfinals in Game 1 against the St. Louis Blues.
The Sharks have now won four of their five playoff games in an extra stanza.
“Last shot wins and we’ve been fortunate,” McLellan said. “You go back to the games against L.A., they had their chances, we had ours. Sometimes the bounces go your way, you can’t always count on them.”
“I think that’s been huge for us, but you never know what is going to happen when you go to overtime. You have to be confident, but you never know,” Antti Niemi
San Jose will have a rare Noon start this weekend.
“The good thing about that game is we practice at 11 or 12 every day, so our bodies and our minds are prepared to show up and think hockey and play hockey at that time,” McLellan said.
EVERY GAMEJoe Pavelski
scored his fourth goal and fifth point (4-1=5). He has recorded a point in all five wins in the postseason.
GIVE ME 5Joe Thornton
picked up an assist and now has a five-game point streak (2-4=6).
Game 2 with Detroit will be at NOON on Sunday and will be on NBC, 98.5/102.1 FM and www.sjsharks.com.