2-1 Sharks, OT
:: During the first Red Wings power play, I remarked to Chris Hollis that whoever scores the first goal in this game will win the series. Kind of an outrageous claim to make two minutes into Game 1, but I think there’s some merit to it. The Wings were flailing a bit in the opening minutes, and being scored on might have taken the air out of the tires and in a series that’s going to be as close as this one looks to be, that’s dangerous and something that may be tricky to recover from. On the other hand, a Red Wings goal would assert their dominance in a way that might kick the Sharks in the happy place, and they might have trouble recovering. Let’s hope I’m right because our captain and recent birthday boy Nicklas Lidstrom starts the scoring with a one-timer from the slot. He snuck in behind the Sharks’ Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau and blew it by Niemi.
:: A few minutes later — and in classic Shitboxian style — Jonathan Ericsson fails to keep a puck in the zone and hooks the hell out of Joe Pavelski, giving us a chance to see the new and improved penalty kill. Well, it wasn’t that improved. The Wings looked scattered, were chasing the puck, their tails, and shadows all over the damn ice. Thankfully, the Sharks power play was useless and they had a hard time keeping the puck in the zone all by themselves. It didn’t do a whole lot to assuage fears of a weak kill, but I hoped it was just an isolated instance. It wasn’t. The Sharks would get on the board in the third period as Joe Pavelski scored on a power play following a boarding call to Todd Bertuzzi.
:: In the early part of the second period, the Sharks woke up and shelled Jimmy Howard, seemingly without opposition from the Red Wings. Howard held strong, stopping all 27 shots he faced through 40 minutes, including a nifty catch on a Dany Heatley opportunity. After freezing the puck at just about the halfway mark of the game, Joe Pavelski followed the shot and stopped behind Howard, who got up and went all Reagan Smash on that ass — shoving a glove into the Sharks forward’s face, earning a two minute minor. But, in true San Jose Sharks fashion, Joe Pavelski had no idea what was going on so he punched Valtteri Filppula in his face, earning a two minute minor of his own. The Aristocrats!
:: What’s a Rambus?
:: A bit of a scary moment for Todd Bertuzzi, who dropped his stick and gloves and skated to the bench in obvious pain. He didn’t appear to miss any time and seemed alright following what might have been a skate blade to the wrist/forearm. Glad to see he’s alright, but we didn’t get any kind of update on his status — or a replay of what happened — on the Versus simulcast of CSN: Moron.
:: Bertuzzi would make an impact again in the third period — when a hit from (almost) behind earned him a boarding penalty, as mentioned above. The victim of the ferocious hit, Joe Pavelski, would also be the goal scorer on the ensuing power player, tying the game at 1. It would be a brand new ballgame with ten minutes to play in regulation.
:: As weak as the Bertuzzi call was, the Patrick Eaves slashing call was downright limp. As soft a penalty as I’ve ever seen call in the playoffs, let alone the third period of a tied game. I’m not one to bitch about officiating, because like I’ve said a million times, if you’re going to be in a position to let something a third party did affect the outcome of your game, you didn’t play well enough. But, there’s no doubt about this one: the reffing was horrifying in the third period and pretty transparently in the Sharks pocket for the final frame. Disgusting. Yet not at all surprising anymore. What Todd Bertuzzi did was stupid and dangerous, and I can live with the call — but the Eaves slash was laughably cupcake. Thankfully, the Red Wings cleaned up the mess on the kill.
:: But wait! There’s more! In overtime, Justin Abdelkader was called for a four-minute high sticking penalty — even though it was accidental, it’s automatic, and there was blood. They killed off all four minutes, but the Sharks scored seconds later, with an exhausted shorthanded unit unable to get off the ice. There’s absolutely nothing to like about these Sharks and it looks like — similar to 2010 — we’re not even going to get a fair shake at this thing. The Sharks had six power plays, the Red Wings two. The end.