Morning Skate: We Don't Need A Bigger Boat

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 28: Johan Franzen #93 of the Detroit Red Wings tries to get around the stick of Michal Handzus #26 of the San Jose Sharks at Joe Louis Arena on October 28, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. San Jose won the game 4-2. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Which Red Wings team is going to show up tonight?

Well, it's going to be a team without Jimmy Howard once again. Not because he had a set back, but because Joey MacDonald is playing so well that Mike Babcock has decided to ride the hot hand and give Jimmy a few more days off (He's expected to play Tuesday at Chicago). Jimmy is the best goalie on this team and if he says he's ready, I personally believe he should be starting between the pipes. But Babcock knows best, right? Granted, it helps that MacDonald is 5-1-1 with a 1.61 GAA since Howard went down with his finger injury.

Enough about goaltending though. The Red Wings still have their little home win streak going. It's now up to 22 consecutive wins at home. Pretty damn impressive. However, that just means the bulls eye on the Wings back is getting even bigger. And Sharks fans, especially those over at the Sharks SBNation blog, were openly rooting for the Wings to win on Friday just so their team could snap the streak.

Screen_shot_2012-02-18_at_11

Sharks fans have a pretty damn good reason to be confident too. According the AP, if you include the postseason, San Jose has won six of their last nine games in Joe Louis Arena. Playoff games are pretty important too. So it's not like there were all regular season games with nothing on the line. Quite frankly, as badly as the Sharks might want to end the streak, this game is bigger for the Wings. Here's a team that has taken it to the Red Wings the last two seasons. Two losses already this year. Two early exists from the postseason the last two years. The Red Wings have something to prove. The Sharks have been a kryptonite for this team recently and it's time for the Wings to send a message and shove it in the Sharks face.

The race to the playoffs continues. Every point matters. It's Hockey Day in America. Get your popcorn ready, ladies and gents.

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Fear The Fin is your SBNation Sharks' blog.

Puck drop is just after 12:30p ET on NBC (If the game is not covered in your region -- you can check here -- NBCSports.com will be streaming the coverage).

The Expected Lineup

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Johan Franzen -- Pavel Datsyuk -- Todd Bertuzzi

Valtteri Filppula -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Jiri Hudler

Justin Abdelkader -- Darren Helm -- Drew Miller

Jan Mursak -- Cory Emmerton -- Tomas Holmstrom

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Nicklas Lidstrom -- Ian White

Niklas Kronwall -- Brad Stuart

Jonathan Ericsson -- Jakub Kindl

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Joey MacDonald (starting)

Ty Conklin

Scratches: Mike Commoodre

Injuries: Patrick Eaves (concussion), Jimmy Howard (finger) and Danny Cleary (knee)

SHARKS HOW THEY MATCH UP RED WINGS
31-18-7 (69 pts; 3rd in West) Record 40-17-2 (82 pts; 1st in NHL)
2.84 (9th in NHL) Goals Per Game 3.05 (5th in NHL)
2.43 (8th) Goals Against Per Game 2.30 (5th)
21.0% (3rd) Power Play % 17.7% (14th)
78.0% (27th) Penalty Kill % 81.5% (21st)
Logan Couture (24 goals) Goal Leader Johan Franzen (23 goals)
Joe Thornton (51 points) Points Leader Pavel Datsyuk (59 points)

  • The Red Wings are 49-23-4-1 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the San Jose Sharks franchise.
  • San Jose is currently in the middle of a nine game road trip. They're 1-2-1 so far with losses to the Blues, Hurricanes and an OT loss to the Lightning. They're one win came against the Captials.
  • Detroit is 0-2-0 this year against the Sharks.
  • Antti Niemi is 7-1-1 with a 1.98 GAA, .936 SV% and one shutout all-time against the Wings. He's pretty, pretty, pretty good against Detroit. Meanwhile, Joey MacDonald is 0-3-0 with a 3.23 GAA and .903 SV% all-time against the Sharks.

PLAYER STATISTICS DURING 22-GAME HOME WIN STREAK

GOALS ASSISTS POINTS
Datsyuk 7 21 28
Filppula 7 15 22
Franzen 12
10 22
Zetterberg 8 12 20
Lidstrom 6 12 18
Hudler 5 11 16
White 2 14 16
Bertuzzi 5 10 15
Kronwall 8 7 15
Cleary 2 8 10
Miller 5 5 10
Helm 4 5 9
Holmstrom 5 3 8
Stuart
2 5
7
Abdelkader 2
4 6
Kindl 1 4 5
Emmerton 3 1 4
Ericsson 1 3 4
Conner 1 1 2
Brunnstrom 0 1 1
Eaves 0 1 1

Prediction: The Red Wings don't just make a statement to the Sharks today...they make a HUGE statement to everyone in the league. It's Hockey Day in America, but the greatest team in the world -- nay -- universe hails from Detroit. The Red Wings blow the door off this one and win 6-2. Pavel Datsyuk is your player of the game.

Let's Go Red Wings.

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