Morning Skate: Red Wings at Sharks Preview

USA TODAY Sports

Game 44

10:30p ET, SAP Center

San Jose, CA

TV: Fox Sports Detroit

Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

Sharks Blog: Fear The Fin

California Dreamin'?

More like California Nightmare.

The next three nights will either be very encouraging or an utter disaster. The Red Wings head into San Jose tonight to take on the Sharks in game one of their three game California road trip. What exactly lies ahead for the Wings? Only the top three teams in the Pacific Division. Three of the best teams in hockey. Three teams that have combined for SIX (!?!) regulation losses at home. It should be noted that five of those six losses belong to the Kings. San Jose is a blistering 15-1-3 at the Shark Tank. Which is insane because it's not even the best home record in their state.

Both teams will be missing key players on offense, so not having your best weapons isn't an excuse for either squad. For the Sharks, this might be just another game against the Red Wings. I'm sure they expect to win. They're the better team. For the Wings, it's the beginning of an amazing road trip or the start of a fall down a slippery road that only gets harder from here on out.

The Expected Lineup

Forwards

Gustav Nyquist Henrik Zetterberg Daniel Alfredsson
Justin Abdelkader Darren Helm Todd Bertuzzi
Tomas Tatar Joakim Andersson Drew Miller
Daniel Cleary Luke Glendening Patrick Eaves

Defensemen

Niklas Kronwall Brendan Smith
Kyle Quincey Danny DeKeyser
Brian Lashoff Jakub Kindl

Goaltenders

Jimmy Howard (starting)
Petr Mrazek

Scratches: Mikael Samuelsson, Alexey Marchenko

Injuries: Johan Franzen (concussion), Pavel Datsyuk (probably a groin because duh)

LTIR: Stephen Weiss (groin), Jonathan Ericsson (shoulder)

SHARKS THE MATCH-UP RED WINGS
27-11-6 (60 pts; 2nd in Pacific) Record 19-14-10 (48 pts; 4th in Atlantic)
3.11 (5th in NHL) Goals Per Game 2.63 (16th in NHL)
2.48 (11th) Goals Against Per Game 2.65 (16th)
19.1% (13th) Power Play % 18.2% (16th)
82,.3% (12th) Penalty Kill % 85.3% (5th)
Patrick Marleau (20 goals) Goal Leader Pavel Datsyuk (15 goals)
Joe Thornton (48 points) Points Leader Henrik Zetterberg (36 points)

Opponent Outlook

Player to Fear: Jumbo Joe... Especially if he scores four goals.

X-Factor: Patrick Marleau. If Steve Yzerman thinks highly of him, than he must be good.

Familiar Faces: Brad Stuart won a Cup with the Wings in 2008.

Thumbs up (One Thing to Like About San Jose): Todd McLellan also won a Cup with the Wings in 2008.

Thumbs down (One Thing to Dislike About San Jose): Raffi Torres.

Bullets of Knowledge

  • The Red Wings are 51-24-4-4 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the Sharks.

  • Last 10 games: San Jose 6-4-0. Detroit 4-5-1.

  • Howard is 3-5-4 with a 2.61 GAA, .915 SV% and one shutout in 12 career games against San Jose.

Prediction: Shark Bait

Let's Go Red Wings.
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