The preview posted here at SB Nation Bay Area said that it could come down to the man advantage, with the San Jose Sharks and Detroit Red Wings sporting conflicting power play stats, and it worked out almost exactly that way. The Sharks went 1-6 on their power plays, but the last of those six definitely attributed to the game-winning goal in overtime.
Oh yes, the game-winning goal, we should probably get to that. When the game went to overtime, the Sharks had some great opportunities, with Devin Setoguchi handling the puck well and multiple Sharks setting up multiple Ryane Clowe scoring opportunities, but the puck eventually left the zone and Detroit started to mount an offensive ... but then Justin Abdelkader was called on a high sticking penalty that drew blood on Niclas Wallin, so San Jose had a four-minute power play.
It wasn't an encouraging start to the power play, by any means. Everybody on the Sharks' unit looked slow and complacent, which isn't a terrible strategy in hindsight. The Red Wings fought for every loose puck and eventually cleared it away multiple times, bringing the man advantage down to thirty seconds. At that point, the Sharks turned it up a little and got some shots on goal. More importantly, they kept it on when the penalty was successfully killed by Detroit, and by doing so, didn't allow them to make an important change. The Sharks took advantage of this and got even more aggressive ... eventually, Benn Ferriero, in his first playoff game this year, put the puck on net and with perhaps the help of a deflection, gets the goal past Jimmy Howard to lift the Sharks to a 2-1 overtime win.
So when it all comes down to it, the man advantage was definitely key in this game, the Sharks were able to tie it with a power play goal in the third period after Todd Bertuzzi was called for boarding. Joe Thornton fired a shot from the point and Joe Pavelski got the perfect tip to beat Howard halfway through the period. The first girl of the game came when Pavel Datsyuk demonstrated his puck wizardry against the boards to keep it away from Sharks players, before dishing it to Nicklas Lidstrom at the middle of the ice, who simply beat Antti Niemi without much issue.
Niemi finished the game with 24-of-25 saves, good for a .960 save percentage. Howard was very solid for Detroit, stoping an offensive onslaught in the second round in which the Sharks out-shot the Red Wings by a wide margin. He finished with 44-of-46 saves and a .957 save percentage. Dan Boyle had two assists for the Sharks.
Game two is on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. pacific at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, and will be carried on the Versus network.