Sharks vs. Red Wings NHL Playoffs Preview: More Of The Same In Game Two?

Benn Ferriero provided the overtime heroics for the San Jose Sharks in game one against the Detroit Red Wings in these 2011 NHL Playoffs. It was Ferriero, fresh and full of energy, who put the puck on net and tallied the game-winner in the Sharks 2-1 victory. Without the prior power play, Ferriero may never have been able to get that puck to the back of the net, however. Yes, it's true that the power play was technically unsuccessful, but the four-minute major set-forth by Justin Abdelkader and his high sticking penalty on Niclas Wallin had an awful lot to do with the goal. The Red Wings were clearly tired and unable to get a line change, and for that, once could call the power play successful.

The Sharks also tied the game at one-all in the third period with the man advantage, making true the initial game one preview which talked about the significance of the power play. San Jose entered the game with a terrible record on the power play, but Detroit had allowed the Phoenix Coyotes to waltz all over them in that regard, so either the Sharks were going to break out with theirs and win because of it, or the Red Wings would simply do what they do best and score during any player combination, be it full strength or with the man advantage.

Obviously it was the former, or more accurately, it was a fragment of the former, because the power play didn't actually look very good for the Sharks. A good portion of them were killed with subsequent clearings right as the puck entered the zone, and the first three minutes of the overtime power play was spent with a worrying state of complacency hanging overhead. Maybe that was by design so as not to tire themselves out, or maybe not - on hindsight, it looks like we can anoint someone a genius, but we'll never know what the playcall was there.

Anyway, the overarching point here is that the Sharks need to do well on the power play, especially against a team like the Red Wings who can be exposed in this area. The power plays from game one will not cut it going forward and the man advantage for the Sharks has hardly felt like an advantage at all, especially when playing at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. If they continue to hesitate at the top of the zone, the Red Wings will use their excellent ability to get after the puck to clear it away like we saw numerous times in game one.

Another good thing would be to, you know, limit the penalties themselves. They cannot continue to give the Red Wings the power play opportunities they've already done, not at this rate. If it keeps up, they'll almost certainly lose some games and make everything harder on themselves.

Either way, it remains the most important facet of this game, outside of the usual things like: fluster Jimmy Howard early, don't let Pavel Datsyuk anywhere near the boards with the puck and give Joe Pavelski the puck in overtime. Preventing Antti Niemi from getting behind would be special as well. Game two is on Versus at 12:00 p.m. pacific time on May 1st.

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