Benn big in Sharks OT win

San Jose Sharks Benn Ferriero (left) is congratulated by team mates Dan Boyle and Douglas Murray...

San Jose Sharks Benn Ferriero (left) is congratulated by team mates Dan Boyle and Douglas Murray after scoring the winning goal as Detroit Red Wings Pavel Datsyuk leaves the ice in Game 1 of their NHL Western Conference semi-final hockey playoff in San Jose, April 29, 2011. (Reuters)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:01 AM ET

SAN JOSE - A hero is born every minute in the playoffs.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Benn Ferriero.

The little-used fourth-liner celebrated his 24th birthday in style Friday night at the HP Pavillion, he skated onto one of the NHL’s biggest stages in the playoffs and scored the OT winner in Game 1 of the Western Conference semi-final.

Making his post-season debut after being a spectator for all of the Sharks Round 1 series, Ferriero’s shot took a fortunate bounce to beat goalie Jimmy Howard and give San Jose a 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings.

Ferreiro’s first playoff goal capped a comeback victory for the Sharks. Joe Pavelski scored late in the third period to tie it up while only Detroit defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom was able to beat Antti Niemi on the 25 shots he faced.

Lucky to even get a shift after playing only a total of 4:58, Ferreiro called his shot that bounced off Mark Stuart’s stick and through Howard’s five-hole at 7:03 of OT the biggest goal of his career. No kidding.

“I hadn’t been out on the ice in a while,” said Ferreiro. “I got a headsup that I was going out there. We had just gotten off a four-minute powerplay and I was getting a chance in the third group there. Like I say, you’ve got to make the most of your opportunities.

“When you’re playing in a series like this against Detroit, you’re going to need a lot of guys contributing. I was just trying to fill my part.”

That’s the kind of contribution the Sharks are going to need if they’re going to go far in these playoffs.“It’s nice to get the first win,” said Sharks captain Joe Thornton. “We haven’t been playing well at home and hopefully we can get some confidence playing here.”

Outshot 45-25, the Wings wouldn’t have made it to OT without a standout performance from Howard.

It looked like the Sharks were going to be frustrated, but Pavelski scored his fourth of the playoffs to break Howard by knocking in a rebound of a Thornton shot at 10:22 of the third to tie it up 1-1 on the powerplay.

“It was a little bit of a lucky bounce but it was nice to get that one,” said Pavelski. “We haven’t really done the job with the powerplay and we have to get it done.”

That goal came with Todd Bertuzzi in the box.

Any concern before the puck was dropped that the Sharks and Wings have too much respect for each other and don’t harbour enough hatred for was alleviated early and it should build up pretty quickly after Game 1.

So upset was Howard with getting a face wash midway through the second, he got up in his crease and slammed the culprit Pavelski across the head with his glove. Yup, that’s a pretty good sign of bad blood.

The incident didn’t distract Howard from his job of stopping the puck, especially in the second when the Sharks outshot the Wings by a count of 18-8. He was everywhere to frustrate San Jose’s shooters.

Detroit coach Mike Babcock wasn’t happy.

“I thought we looked like a team, especially up front, I didn’t think we skated very good,” said Babcock. “I thought they were quicker than we were. I thought our first period was going to be worst period and that wasn’t the case.

“We took too many penalties. You can’t be in the penalty box and expect to survive against them. They wore us out on the powerplay and then they were able to get the game winner.”

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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