for this game

Nic of time: Wallin's goal gets Sharks past Red Wings

May 1, 2011 - 11:47 PM
San Jose, CA (Sports Network) - Niclas Wallin doesn't boast many playoff goals, but each one has something in common -- they're all game-winners.

The 36-year-old defenseman scored early in the third period, and San Jose withstood a late Detroit rally to emerge with its second consecutive 2-1 victory in Game 2 of this best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series.

"At the end of the day, the two teams are pretty darn even," said San Jose head coach Todd McLellan. "I think you're going to continue to see this. It's going to be a bounce or a break that goes one way. But if anybody should let their guard down, whether it's us or them, the other team is going to make them pay."

Antti Niemi turned aside 33 shots from the Red Wings, who find themselves in familiar territory, facing a 2-0 deficit to the Sharks heading back to Detroit.

These two clubs are meeting in the second round for the second year in a row. Like they did in 2010, the Sharks took the first games at HP Pavilion. San Jose eventually ousted Detroit in five games.

San Jose doubled its lead 1:39 into the third with the fourth postseason tally of Wallin's career.

Wallin gathered a Ryane Clowe pass in the neutral zone, avoiding Todd Bertuzzi's poke check, and pushed the puck down the right side. As he moved inside the faceoff circle, the left-handed shooting rearguard snapped a high wrister. Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard got a piece of the shot with his glove, but not enough as the puck fluttered into the net.

The previous three playoff goals Wallin scored were all overtime winners, and his latest tally proved to be critical after the Red Wings got on the board via the power play.

With San Jose forward Devin Setoguchi in the penalty box for slashing, Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg, who missed the entire opening round against Phoenix with a sprained left MCL, converted a feed from Pavel Datsyuk with 6:02 remaining in regulation.

Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom hit the post with a little over two minutes left, and Detroit, which will host Game 3 on Wednesday, pulled Howard in the late stages but an equalizer wasn't forthcoming.

Howard made 35 saves in defeat.

"I thought we skated better and had more opportunities. We just weren't good enough. They won more battles than we did," said Detroit head coach Mike Babcock.

Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader clipped Calder Trophy finalist Logan Couture, triggering an early power play for the Sharks. Ian White let go a slap shot from the high slot, beating a screened Howard 4:54 into the contest for his first career playoff goal.

Moments later, Game 1 hero Benn Ferriero received a double-minor for high- sticking Abdelkader. The Red Wings, though, failed to convert.

Ferriero celebrated his 24th birthday on Friday by supplying the overtime- winner in his postseason debut. He became the first NHLer to score an overtime goal in his first playoff game since Niko Dimitrakos turned the trick for San Jose on April 8, 2004 versus St. Louis.

Game Notes

Clowe assisted on both San Jose goals...Detroit finished 1-for-6 on the power play, while the Sharks were 1-for-5 with the man advantage...San Jose's last three playoff wins over Detroit have all come by a 2-1 score.