Sharks steal Game 1 on Ferriero's OT goal

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Sharks steal Game 1 on Ferriero's OT goal

April 29, 2011

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SAN JOSE (AP) In a series filled with some of hockey's biggest stars and most accomplished players, it was someone who spent almost the entire second half of the season in the minors who came up with the biggest play - on his birthday no less.Little-used Benn Ferriero scored 7:03 into overtime of his playoff debut on a deflected goal that gave the San Jose Sharks a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series. RATTO: Ferriero stunner caps Sharks' best playoff game in years
"You always have to be ready," said Ferriero, who provided the perfect capper to his 24th birthday. "You never know when they are going to call on you. You go through practice and do everything you can to be ready to play. When your number gets called you have to be ready."Ferriero's shot hit off Detroit defenseman Brad Stuart's stick and got past Jimmy Howard for the game-winner just seconds after the Red Wings had killed off a four-minute penalty. Stuart slammed his stick to the ice in disgust after the goal, as the Red Wings again fell behind in their series to the Sharks.Ferriero has just seven goals in 57 career regular-season games and played only once in the NHL after Feb. 5 this season."You never know who the hero is going to be," Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle said. "You never know where it's going to come from. That's just a prime example of just shooting, just putting it at the net in overtime. You never know what's going to happen."Joe Pavelski scored the tying goal on the power play in the third period for San Jose. Antti Niemi made 24 saves as the Sharks won their fourth overtime game of this postseason.Nicklas Lidstrom scored in the first period for Detroit the day after his 41st birthday. Howard made 44 saves, including three during Justin Abdelkader's double minor for high-sticking, but had little chance on Ferriero's deflected game-winner."It's very disappointing, especially after leading for most of the game," Lidstrom said. "We were able to kill off that four-minute penalty in overtime. They kept coming at us; our guy was coming out of the box and it was still a scramble in our zone. This is what happens in the playoffs. You're going to have those momentum swings."Game 2 is Sunday in San Jose.After being stymied for two-plus periods by Howard, the Sharks finally broke through midway through the third on their third power play of the night with Todd Bertuzzi out for boarding Pavelski.Joe Thornton took a big shot from just inside the blue line that Howard stopped, but Pavelski batted the rebound down out of midair with his stick and into the net to tie it with 9:38 to go with San Jose's first power-play goal in four games this postseason.Pavelski played a big part in San Jose's series win over Detroit a year ago, scoring four goals in the first two games, including the tying tally in the third period of Game 2. That was one of two third-period comebacks in that series for the Sharks, who did it again in the opener this year.The Red Wings killed another power play later in the third and withstood a late flurry from San Jose, with Howard making a tough pad save on a deflection by Dany Heatley to send the game to overtime."It was not enough," Howard said. "All that matters is winning. I felt good out there and I saw a lot of the shots."Led by an energetic shift by the line of Logan Couture, Ryane Clowe and Heatley, the Sharks dominated the play in the first half of the second period but were unable to score. Howard made a tough stop on Pavelski and helped kill a power play as Detroit maintained the lead despite being outshot 16-2 in the first 10 minutes of the second period.Detroit allowed two shots the rest of the period and had chances to extend the lead but one shot rolled along the goal line and away from the net, and Niemi stopped Jiri Hudler on a wrist shot in the closing minute.This marked the third time in five seasons that these teams met in the second round, with each team winning once.The Red Wings were well-rested, with eight full days off since their sweep of Phoenix in the first round. That's in stark contrast to their one day off a year ago after a seven-game series against the Coyotes, which was a factor in them falling behind 3-0 in the series.The time off also allowed two of Detroit's most potent players to heal from injuries that kept them out of action for at least part of the first round. Johan Franzen, who led the team with 28 goals in the regular season, has recovered from an injured left ankle that forced him to miss Game 4 against the Coyotes. Leading scorer Henrik Zetterberg is also back after missing the entire first round with an injured left knee.There was a feeling-out process early, with both teams seemingly wary of making an early mistake. San Jose killed off an early power play before the Red Wings broke through midway through the period when Pavel Datsyuk got the puck on the boards and fed Lidstrom in the slot for a slap shot that beat Niemi to the glove side.Notes: The last player to get his first playoff goal in OT of his first playoff game was San Jose's Niko Dimitrakos, in Game 1 of the first round against St. Louis in 2004. ... Detroit coach Mike Babcock turned 48 on Friday.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs

BOX SCORE

Hit five home runs, and a team has to like its chances of winning.

The A’s simply couldn’t keep up with the Houston Astros’ bats, however, in an 11-8 loss Wednesday night that snapped Oakland’s four-game winning streak. Khris Davis went deep twice, and Ryon Healy, Jed Lowrie and Matt Olson all went deep as the A’s set their season high for home runs.

But Houston racked up 17 hits against Jesse Hahn (3-6) and four relievers and evened this three-game series at a game apiece. It was the second time Hahn has gotten knocked around by Houston inside of a week.

The A’s took an early lead, 5-4, in the third on the second of Davis’ two homers, part of a four-run rally for Oakland. But the Astros answered right back with five runs in the bottom half, and the A’s never recovered from that momentum swing.

Hahn’s struggles continue: Hahn was trying to rebound after the Astros hung nine earned runs on him last Thursday at the Coliseum. Things didn’t improve Wednesday at Minute Maid Park, as the right-hander lasted just two-plus innings and allowed six runs on nine hits. Is this a case of one team simply having Hahn’s number or do the A’s make a move and try someone else in the rotation? It bears watching.

Krush Davis x 2: It was apparent early this would be a slugfest, with Khris Davis homering twice within the first three innings as the A’s tried to keep pace. He led off the second with a shot to left field, then came back with a three-run blast to left in the third that put Oakland up 5-4. The homers were his team-leading 20th and 21st.

Reddick-ulous night: Josh Reddick filled up the stat sheet against his old team in every way imaginable. He went 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs, and twice caught the A’s by surprise by stealing third base. For good measure, he turned in an excellent running catch in right field to rob Yonder Alonso.

Strange offensive night: What to make of this night offensively for the A’s? They hit a season-high five homers but also struck out a whopping 17 times. No matter … you can’t hang this one on the offense, because …

The pitching staff just couldn’t hold things down: Josh Smith was called upon to hold down the fort after Hahn departed in the third, but Smith was tagged for three runs on four hits. Daniel Coulombe and John Axford also got touched for runs. Rookie Michael Brady did turn in 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

Cubs outfielder vows he didn't give Trump the middle finger at White House

Cubs outfielder vows he didn't give Trump the middle finger at White House

WASHINGTON – Albert Almora Jr. didn’t use Wednesday’s Oval Office photo op as a subtle form of political protest, but it did sort of look like the Cubs outfielder gave President Donald Trump the middle finger, at least from that angle in an image that went viral on Twitter.    

“There was two fingers! Look closely, there was two fingers!” a veteran player yelled across the room as reporters gathered around Almora’s locker inside the visiting clubhouse at Nationals Park. 

“Guys were giving me a hard time about it,” Almora said, “but I pointed out the second finger. We’re all good.”

In another White House visit that didn’t look nearly as unofficial or informal as the Cubs said it would be, one snapshot became Almora with part of his left hand in his pocket. Almora stood near Kris Bryant – who held a 45 Wrigley Field scoreboard panel – and Trump at his desk with the World Series trophy.

“Obviously, it’s unfortunate,” Almora said with a laugh. “I’m getting ready to take a picture and I’m posing there. But you guys know that I would never do that to the president of the United States. 

“I respect everybody. It is what it is. We laugh about it now, but there’s definitely two fingers out there.”

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