Morning Skate: Sharks at Red Wings Preview

More of this please. - Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Game 10

7:30p ET, Joe Louis Arena

Detroit, MI

TV: Fox Sports Detroit

Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

Sharks Blogs: Fear The Fin & Battle of California

The Wings return to the Joe after laying some justice on the Avalanche in Colorado, followed by an incredibly disappointing, frustrating loss to the Coyotes in the desert. Niklas Kronwall is still out with a mild concussion and will not play tonight. He's expected to be ready to play on Wednesday against Ottawa. Cody McLeod has a date with Brendan Shanahan later today. Being without Kronwall for another game sucks donkey balls, There's no way to expect missing your #1 defenseman not to be a tough challenge, and everyone has to step up and take on more responsibility. Danny DeKeyser will have a big challenge on the top pairing with Riggy against the offensive Sharks forwards.

The Wings will only face the Sharks twice in the regular season this year, and after tonight we won't see them again until January 9th in San Jose. This is going to be one of the toughest games the Wings have played so far this season. The Sharks are playing very well so far, have great forward depth, and are getting scoring from from several key players, their rookie Tomas.Hertl, and Antti Niemi is playing some of the best hockey in his career. The Sharks have only lost one game this season (to Dallas in a shoot out) and will put up a fight for the Wings. Ever since they knocked us out of the playoffs in 2010 and 2011, it seems like they just have our number. That might, maybe, possibly have something to do with the fact that their head coach came from the Wings and knows our system and how we play.

I hope the Wings come out with some piss and vinegar against he Sharks after the way the Phoenix game ended. The Sharks will play us hard, and I'm a little bit nervous.

The Expected Lineup

Forwards

Henrik Zetterberg Pavel Datsyuk Daniel Alfredsson
Johan Franzen Stephen Weiss Justin Abdelkader
Daniel Cleary Joakim Andersson Todd Bertuzzi
Drew Miller Luke Glendening Jordin Tootoo

Defensemen

Danny DeKeyser Jonathan Ericsson
Kyle Quincey Jakub Kindl
Brendan Smith Brian Lashoff

Goaltenders

Jimmy Howard (starting)
Jonas Gustavsson

Scratches: Mikael Samuelsson & Tomas Tatar

Injuries: Niklas Kronwall (concussion)

LTIR: Darren Helm (body), Patrick Eaves (knee and ankle)

SHARKS THE MATCH-UP RED WINGS
7-0-1 (15 pts;1st in Pacific) Record 6-3-0 (12 pts;1st in Atlantic)
4.88 (1st in NHL) Goals Per Game 2.67 (16th in NHL)
1.88 (4th) Goals Against Per Game 2.56 (12th)
25.0% (6th) Power Play % 21.4% (10th)
85.2% (8th) Penalty Kill % 82.9% (12th)
Patrick Marleau & Tomas Hertl (7) Goal Leader Henrik Zetterberg (6 goals)
Joe Pavelski (12 points) Points Leader Datsyuk & Zetterberg (11)

Opponent Outlook

Player to Fear: While Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski both seem to have unnaturally good success against the wings, let's go with Patrick Marleau. Marleau has 45 points in 58 career games against the Wings, and 5 of his 21 goals are game winners. He's tied for second in points for the Sharks, and tied for team lead in goals. Marleau's playing on the Sharks second line, and with how ineffective our second line has been for stretches, this match-up makes me a little bit nervous.

X-Factor: I trust Zetterberg, Datsyuk, and their winger to keep Thornton's line under control, but the aforementioned Joe Pavelski has 16 points in 24 games against the Wings, and 3 of his 8 goals have been game winners. Andersson's line will have their hands full keeping Pavelski and his line in check.

Familiar Faces: Take your pick: Brad Stuart came to the Wings towards the end of the 2007-2008 season and left us to go back to his family at the end of the 2011-2012 season. Todd McLellan was Mike Babcock's assistant coach until 2008-2009 when he went to San Jose to be head coach. Oh, and Mikael Samuelsson played 4 games for the Sharks in the 2000-2001 season.

Thumbs Up (One Thing I Like About San Jose): Ummmm... It's warmer than 44 degrees there right now.

Thumbs Down (One Thing I Don't Like About San Jose): San Jose home games start at the ass crack of night.

Bullets of Knowledge

  • The Red Wings are 51-24-4-3 all time against the San Jose Sharks.
  • Daniel Alfredsson has 14 points (5G, 9A) in 15 career games against the Sharks.
  • Henrik Zetterberg has 36 points (17G, 19A) in 37 career games against the Sharks.
  • In franchise history, the Sharks have allowed 3.63 goals against/game against the Red Wings. That's San Jose's 4th worst GA/G against any team in the NHL.

Prediction: Wings win 3-2, Jimmy Howard plays like a man posessed, and is your POTG

NOTE: The WiiM prediction contest is back. Two of our WiiM faithful are undertaking the task of keeping track of all the predictions and you can click on the link above to read all the details. How will it work? Just leave your predictions in the comments of the morning skates before the game starts. Tell us what you think the final score will be, which team you think will win, and who you think the POTG (Player of the game) will be. For example: 4-2 Red Wings, Henrik Zetterberg POTG.


Let's Go Red Wings.
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