Sharks Wary of Streak
The San Jose Sharks have knocked the Detroit Red Wings out of the playoffs in the Western Conference Semifinals two years in a row. Their regular season success has been dominant against Detroit, and when the Sharks visit Joe Louis Arena tomorrow, they know what's at stake.
The Red Wings have not lost at home for 22 consecutive games. Their record at JLA is an amazing 25-2-1.
Expect the Sharks to proceed with caution as Detroit has been unstoppable at home. Mike Babcock has even said he doesn't think the Wings are playing their best hockey, just managing to win games.
The Red Wings will get a huge boost with the return of goaltender Jimmy Howard from a broken finger. He will start against the Sharks. Joey MacDonald will likely be sent back down to Grand Rapids so he can get more playing time. Ty Conklin will rot on the bench instead.
Dan Cleary should also be back in the lineup after having his knee drained of fluid. He has missed the last three games.
The dominance of the Sharks against Detroit might have a lot to do with coach Todd McLellan. He coached under Babcock as an assistant and clearly knows how to beat the system. The Sharks always have someone that steps up huge, usually Joe Pavelski, a proven Wings killer. Joe Thornton and Logan Couture are also dangerous, while Patrick Marleau tends to disappear at the Joe.
Detroit shouldn't have a tough time solving Antti Niemi. The San Jose goalie is average at best. The Sharks can beat teams by scoring more goals than needed, but Howard isn't a slump and will try and shut down the potent Shark attack.
Martin Havlat and Jason Demers are out for San Jose. Douglas Murray is a game time decision with a neck injury (he was hit with a puck).
Detroit still has Patrick Eaves out with a concussion. Nicklas Lidstrom took a puck to the foot in last night's game but said the injury isn't anything to worry about.
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