1. Joe Pavelski, Sharks: It was another strong night for The Big Pavelski. hen the Sharks needed to make something happen in the third period of a game they trailed 1-0, Pavelski accomplished two things: 1) Draw a penalty on Detroit's Todd Bertuzzi for boarding -- perhaps a questionable call, but one that Pavelski sold well, which is part of the game sometimes. 2) Score a goal on the ensuing power play, a nifty bat of the puck in midair past Wings goalie Jimmy Howard. It was one of Pavelski's five shots on goal, leading all forwards in the game. Making something happen in the playoffs is becoming a Pavelski staple. He entered the game with four game-winning postseason goals since last year.
2. Steven Stamkos, Lightning: His play had probably been a little too spotty for coach Guy Boucher's liking, but Stamkos brought his 'A' game Friday night -- after too many "eh?" games. Stamkos' power-play goal with 32 seconds left in the second period broke a 2-all tie and held up as the game-winner. It was just the second time in eight playoff games Stamkos found the back of the net - though in the other contest, Game 5 against Pittsburgh, he collected two. Stamkos did other good things: He got a team-high four shots on goal and won 62 percent of faceoffs (8-for-13). Stamkos still has only four goals in his last 20 games, but the latest trends are encouraging.
3. Jimmy Howard, Red Wings: It wasn't his fault. Well, maybe it wasn't a great goal he allowed in overtime, to San Jose's Benn Ferriero, but Detroit's Game 1 loss would have been much worse without the work of Howard, who stopped 44 of 46 San Jose shots in a game the Wings were outshot badly (46-25). Play was in the Detroit end the vast majority of time in the final two periods and overtime, and yet, Howard nearly stole one for the Wings.
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