The good: The Red Wings started off a road trip from hell with a 5-1 win over the Dallas Stars.
The bad: Tonight is a start of three games in four nights in the state of California.
The ugly: Tonight's game is against the Sharks at the Shark Tank, which is where the Wings can never seem to win a game.
What: Red Wings at Sharks
When: 10:30 p.m. tonight
Where: SAP Center, San Jose, California (formerly HP Pavilion)
TV: Fox Sports Detroit
Records: The Red Wings are 19-11-14; the Sharks are 27-11-6
Season Series: Sharks lead 1-0
Last Meeting: Nobody scored a goal in regulation or overtime, as Antti Niemi and Jimmy Howard each recorded a shutout. The Sharks won in the shootout with a Logan Couture goal.
Projected Lineups (these might be way off)
Gustav Nyquist – Henrik Zetterberg – Daniel Alfredsson
Drew Miller – Justin Abdelkader – Todd Bertuzzi
Tomas Tatar – Joakim Andersson – Mikael Samuelsson
Brendan Smith – Niklas Kronwall
Brian Lashoff – Jakub Kindl
Kyle Quincey – Danny DeKeyser
Joe Pavelski – Joe Thornton – Brent Burns
Matt Nieto – Patrick Marleau – Tyler Kennedy
Tommy Wingels – Andrew Desjardins – Bracken Kearns
James Sheppard – John McCarthy – Mike Brown
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Dan Boyle
Scott Hannan – Justin Braun
Brad Stuart – Jason Demers/Matt Tennyson
Goaltenders (Starter not named)
Red Wings Update: The Red Wings somehow manage to (barely) keep their heads above water in terms of being a playoff team (and continue to drive writers like yours truly nuts). A 5-1 win over the Dallas Stars could be the spark the Wings are looking for to put together a strong second half of the season and get to a more comfortable spot in the playoff race. Putting together a win without Pavel Datsyuk (lower body), Darren Helm (shoulder), Johan Franzen (concussion), Jonathan Ericsson (ribs), and Stephen Weiss (sports hernia) is not going to be easy. Jimmy Howard will get the start between the pipes.
Sharks Update: Since the last meeting, the Sharks have cooled off a bit, but still remain a force in the rugged Pacific Division. This has been an inconsistent team as of late, with a win over the Chicago Blackhawks followed by a 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators. Injuries have hit the Sharks hard, as Adam Burish (lower body), Tomas Hertl (knee), Marty Havlat (lower body), Logan Couture (hand), and Raffi Torres (knee), and are all out tonight. Either Antti Niemi or Alex Stalock will get the start in goal.
Players to Watch:
Joe Pavelski: US Olympian who could play first-line winger or third line center. Always scores against the Wings.
Patrick Marleau: Canadian Olympian who leads the Sharks with 20 goals.
Joe Thornton: Another royal pain for the Wings. We will not make mention of what he said he would do if he scored four goals in a game.
Antti Niemi: Finnish Olympian who has shut out the Wings three times in his career.
Henrik Zetterberg: Captain of Team Sweden has 36 points in 38 games against the Sharks. Also has six points in his last four games.
Jimmy Howard: Can he turn in another Olympic-worthy performance?
Prediction: Even with half of their forwards being from their AHL affiliate, the Sharks are still hard to beat at home, as they have lost once in regulation at the SAP Center. Given that the Wings don't have Shark-killers Datsyuk and Franzen in the lineup, this will get ugly very fast.
Make It: Sharks 6, Red Wings 2
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