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Morning Skate: Fishing for Sharks

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SAN JOSE CA - NOVEMBER 30:  Dany Heatley #15 of the San Jose Sharks struggles with Pavel Datsyuk #13 of the Detroit Red Wings at HP Pavilion on November 30 2010 in San Jose California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SAN JOSE CA - NOVEMBER 30: Dany Heatley #15 of the San Jose Sharks struggles with Pavel Datsyuk #13 of the Detroit Red Wings at HP Pavilion on November 30 2010 in San Jose California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Before we get to our regularly scheduled Morning Skate portion of this post, I thought I would take this opportunity to introduce myself to those in the WIIM community who might not know me and to reintroduce myself to those who do.  My name is Jeff Hancock and I currently reside in Boston, MA.  I was born and raised in Michigan and moved out east for college and now my post-college career.  My blogging career began over at the Brendan Smithsonian Institution and now I've gotten called up to the big show.  I've officially taken my talents to Winging it in Motown.  But enough about me, let's get on to the Morning Skate.

The Red Wings are going for their sixth win-in-a-row as they welcome in the Sharks from San Jose.  After a Sunday matinee with the Wild, the Wings are back on at their regular 7:30p ET start time on Fox Sports Detroit.  It's the third meeting of the season between the Red Wings and Sharks.  Each team has scored five goals on the road and picked up the win in regulation.

Detroit is enjoying their longest win streak of the season.  San Jose has won three in a row and eight of their last 10 games.  The Sharks were flirting around the 8th spot of much of the season, but thanks to their strong play in the end of January and throughout the month of February, they find themselves sitting in 4th place (one point behind Pacific Division leading Phoenix).

Fear The Fin is your SB Nation Sharks' blog.

More after the jump.

  • Antti Niemi has started every game for the Sharks since January 15.  Since then he has gone 11-2-1 with a 1.77 GAA.  He's also 3-0 in his three career starts at the Joe with a 1.63 GAA.  Good thing the Wings are averaging 4.4 goals per game during their five game winning streak.
  • Don't look now, but Happy is streaking!  I know I probably just jinxed it, but Jiri Hudler has a five game point streaking going.  He's got a goal and six assists over that time.  Hudler registers a point = Red Wings win.  In fact, since Pavel Datsyuk came back, Hudler has 9 points in 7 games.  Keep it going, Happy.
  • If this game turns out to be a battle of special teams, we could find ourselves with a high scoring affair.  The Sharks have the 4th best power play (22.8%) and the Wings have the 5th best (20.8%).  Both squads are identical on the PK (81.7%).
  • At the time of this post there was no news on whether Valtteri Filppula will play tonight.  From what I've read though, he's expected to return Thursday vs Dallas.  Mike Modano will not play tonight and his target return date is Saturday at Buffalo.  What we do know is that the two better be spending some time together and building some nice chemistry while they're both injured.  Mike Babcock has plans to pair the two together with Tomas Holmstrom when they return.  So you're telling me that we'll have Happy-Pav-Cleary, Mule-Hank-Bert, Mo-Flip-Homer, and Eaves-Helm-Draper/Miller/Abby as the lines?  Dear opponents...Good luck.
  • What kind of day would it be in the NHL without a trade?  Monday the Dallas Stars shipped LW James Neal and D Matt Niskanen up to Pittsburgh for D Alex Goligoski.  At this rate by the time we get to the trade deadline on Monday all the deals will be done.
  • Todd Uncle Leon is finally coming around to liking you...that's big.  Hopefully everyone who was Contuzzi has turned a corner on the issue.  He's a changed man (Hi Hollis!) and he's playing some great hockey right now.  He put up six goals in his last five games and had a nice game winner in the shootout on Sunday.
  • Don't forget there is still time to get your pledges in for H2H2.  Just send our friend over at The Production Line an email, tweet, or comment.  So far $2428 has been raised.
  • PREDICTION: Before every single game of the 2002 Stanley Cup playoffs my dad and I would try to predict the score.  I always picked a 3-1 win (I was correct three times).  So for my very first prediction here at WIIM, I'm going with a 3-1 Red Wings win and Hudler will continue his point streak and make us all happy.