Western Conference Semifinals, Game 1 (4/29/11)

Round two finally got underway for the Red Wings tonight after what seemed like an eternity of down time. The rest was just what the doctor ordered for Franzen and Zetterberg who were both back in the lineup tonight. Draper and Modano were healthy scratches. The goalies were Howard and Niemi.

The Red Wings scored the opening goal in the first period when Datsyuk made a nice feed to Lidstrom in the slot. Lidstrom slapped it past Niemi to give the Wings the first lead of the series. For the rest of the game Jimmy Howard faced a barrage of shots from San Jose. For the most part though, I thought the Sharks’ chances were not very dangerous. Even though the Wings were outshot for most of the game, I felt like they had the better opportunities to score. Jimmy Howard was superb and the Red Wings defense did a great job of keeping the Sharks to low percentage shots.

In the third period Bertuzzi was called for boarding. It was a marginal call and I thought Pavelski overreacted. It certainly wasn’t flagrant, but Pavelski reacted like he’d just been hit in the back with a sledgehammer and collapsed into the boards in a heap. It’s amazing how getting hit up high can make your legs give out like that. Of course the San Jose broadcasters from CSN didn’t have a problem with the call. They also blind to Pavelski’s knee hitting Jimmy Howard in the head earlier in the game. No matter how many times they watched the replay all they ever saw a simple snow shower. The knee wasn’t that bad in my opinion but neither was Howard’s shove afterwards. I would have had no problem with them not calling anything on the play but if they’re going to call one it’s only fair that they should call both, which is what they did. The CSN crew seemed to think that only Howard should have been penalized. I don’t know why broadcasters in certain markets feel the need to spin things like that; as if their viewers can’t handle the truth. In Detroit you can tell that they want the Red Wings to win but they also want the game to be called consistently and fairly. Mickey Redmond will routinely complain about bad calls even if they favor the Red Wings, and rightly so. Nobody wants to win a game because of a bad call. These guys from San Jose seem to think it’s part of their job to skew everything to favor the Sharks. The broadcasters in Nashville are notorious for that as well, but I digress. Pavelski went on to score during the ensuing power play and tie the game for the Sharks.

The tie held until the end of regulation. In the overtime period Abdelkader was called for an accidental high stick that didn’t look all that violent but apparently drew blood because he got a double minor. The Wings managed to kill off the four minute penalty. Shortly after that Ferriero threw a puck towards the net. It deflected off of Kronwall’s stick in front of Howard and went into the net giving the Sharks the win in game one. Ferriero was a last minute addition to the Sharks’ lineup and it was his birthday so it was quite a special night for him to get the game winner in OT.

I thought the Red Wings played pretty well tonight and just got a bad bounce at the end. They had a good start to the game, Howard was excellent and, although they were badly outshot, I thought they did a good job of limiting quality scoring chances. They need to generate more offensively, especially considering that Niemi has been inconsistent in the playoffs. He was pulled twice in the first round. The Wings have a lot that they can take from this game and build on for game two.

This 1-2 loss brings this Western Conference Semifinal series to 0-1 San Jose.

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