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Red Wings to play Sharks in second round, revenge-match probably starts on Friday

Updated 3x at 1:59 AM: The Detroit Red Wings will head to San Jose to play against the Sharks in the second round of the playoffs.

We’ll find out shortly whether the NHL is nuts and wants them to fly to San Jose today for a Thursday night start, or whether they’ll give the Wings a break and let them start the series on Friday.

Big edit per the Mercury News’s David Pollak:

A Calgary colleague watching tonight’s games says that CBC is reporting it’s a 99 percent certainty that Vancouver-Nashville series will open Thursday night, giving the Hockey Night in Canada crew it’s preferred Saturday night start without back-to-backs. And that makes Sharks-Detroit that same 99 percent certainty to open at HP Pavilion on Friday night with Sunday the logical time for Game 2.

The NHL won’t be announcing anything until tomorrow and nothing from the Sharks until that happens. Still, there’s an early heads-up. But nothing set in granite and nobody should be booking any flights just yet.

 

As the Wings’ beat writers had to pack for a possible trip to San Jose as well, the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness spoke to the Wings about their opponent and posted a short series preview…

The Sharks won the season series with Detroit, 3-1. The Wings won the first meeting, 5-3, and then dropped the next three straight, 5-2, 4-3 and 3-1. San Jose finished one point ahead of the Wings during the regular season to earn the second seed. The Sharks beat the Los Angeles Kings in six games in the opening round, winning three of their four games in overtime.

“They’ve got good talent up front, some guys with good speed and guys that can put the puck in the net,” Wings defenseman Brad Stuart said. “They’re a fast team, play a fast game, similar to what we try to do.”

All four of San Jose’s wins in last year’s meeting were by one goal. The Wings beat the Sharks in Game 4 to avoid a sweep, 7-1. The Wings won the season series from the Sharks 3-0-1 last season.

“We’ll be fresh and ready,” Wings forward Jiri Hudler said.

As did MLive’s Ansar Khan:

Unlike the Coyotes, the Sharks are loaded with talented forwards who have size, speed and scoring ability. It’s a group that features stars Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley and a supporting cast that includes Joe Pavelski, Devin Setoguchi, Ryane Clowe and Logan Couture.
...
“You know the big star players they have,’’ Detroit’s Kris Draper said. “A team that always plays us hard. Big bodies, real strong on the puck. Very good cycle team, puck possession team. You look at what they did against L.A., being down 4-0 (in Game 3), no quit, they just kept coming and ended up winning that game (6-5 in overtime). It was a big reason they moved on. It’s a team that believes in themselves and it certainly showed in that series.’‘

Said Red Wings forward Patrick Eaves: “They can put five guys out there that are very talented. We need to make them deviate from their set plan as much as possible.’‘
...
“We were coming off a seven-game (series) [last year],’’ Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi said. “Hopefully this time around we’ll have all our guys back and we’ll be well-rested. And we’ll be a lot more prepared.’‘

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter who they play, Red Wings forward Jiri Hudler said, because, “These days, if you want to go far, you’ve got to go through everybody.’‘

The rest was vital for Detroit, which will welcome back Henrik Zetterberg, their leading scorer in the regular season who missed the opening round due to a sprained left knee. The break also gave high-scoring forward Johan Franzen more time to heal his sore left ankle.

Update #2: here’s Helene St. James’ early take from the Detroit Free Press:

“San Jose just has so much talent,” Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “They’ve got so much skill. They’ve got a good goaltender who won the Cup last year with Chicago. They’ve got Dan Boyle, who is all over the place for 30 minutes a night. It’s tough to defend a guy like that. And then up front, obviously they’ve got some big guys there, some guys that can really do some damage. It’s going to be a big challenge.”
...
The Sharks are one of the few teams that can match the Wings’ depth up front. Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton highlight a cast that includes support from Dany Heatley, Joe Pavelski, Devin Setoguchi, Ryane Clowe and Logan Couture.

Antti Niemi joined the Sharks last summer after backstopping the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup, but he had a shaky playoff debut with his new team, finishing with a 3.99 goals-against average and .863 save percentage against the Kings.

With Zetterberg back in the lineup after missing Round 1 with a knee injury, the Wings should be able to make life tough on Niemi, or Antero Niittymaaki, his back-up. The Wings can roll four lines that all have scorers and hitters, and as much as the best players will have to emerge the deeper the playoffs go, having Darren Helm on the fourth line wearing down opposing defensemen was a huge benefit in Round 1. He went after both Ed Jovanovski and Keith Yandle.

The Wings will have to improve on the penalty kill, which fared poorly against the Coyotes, and Phoenix didn’t even have that good of a power play. The Sharks can decimate with theirs, so the Wings have to watch taking penalties in the first place.

Give the Wings the advantage on defense and goaltending (call it even up front), and the prediction is Wings in six.

And here’s the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan’s take…

The Red Wings finally know who they’ll play in the second round of the playoffs. And it’s a familiar foe, the San Jose Sharks.


That fact finally became clear early Wednesday morning when the Vancouver Canucks staved off one of the biggest upsets in NHL history by defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 in overtime. Alex Burrows scored the winner 5:22 into overtime with his second goal of the game.

San Jose and the Wings played last season in Round 2, with the Sharks winning the series in five games.

[T]he No. 2 seed Sharks (who defeated Los Angeles in six games) and the No. 3 Red Wings (who swept Phoenix) are expected to open the second round on Friday in San Jose, although the league has yet to officially announce the schedule.

The Wings continued to struggle against the Sharks this regular season. San Jose won three of the four games.

The Wings will practice Wednesday morning at Joe Louis Arena before flying to San Jose, Calif., later in the day regardless of the upcoming schedule.

Update #3: Here’s the Mercury News’s David Pollak’s take:

Next up: the Detroit Red Wings.

The Sharks learned Tuesday night that their prize for disposing of the Los Angeles Kings is a second-round rematch with Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Lidstrom after the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 in Game 7 of their first-round Stanley Cup matchup.

This will be the fifth postseason showdown between San Jose and Detroit with each team having eliminated the other twice. A year ago, San Jose won the series in five games to advance to the Western Conference finals as coach Todd McLellan matched wits with Mike Babcock, the coach he served under for three years as a Detroit assistant.

San Jose was 3-1 against Detroit during the season, splitting two games at HP Pavilion and winning on both trips to Joe Louis Arena.

And Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area’s Ray Ratto weighed in…

SAME OLD FACES, SAME OLD PLACES

The only true differences between these Red Wings and the ones the Sharks beat last year are health and rest. The only real issue is whether Johan Franzen, normally the right wing on the Pavel Datsyuk line, will be available after injuring his ankle during the Phoenix series. Franzen is hugely important to the Wings for both his skill and his flint, and if he can’t play, Mike Modano won’t be able to replace his game. On the other hand, the rest of the old faces – Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Nicklas Lidstrom, Tomas Holmstrom, Valtteri Filppula, Dan Cleary, Todd Bertuzzi, Justin Abdelkader, Brian Rafalski, Niklas Kronwall and former Shark Brad Stuart.

SAME OLD GAME

They like possession. They like to cycle, they like to outshoot you by a factor of 2-1, they like to clog your net with their people, and they like to win draws in your end, and they like doing this even though you know they’re coming, because they’re also good at all of these things, night in and night out. Sound familiar? Well, Todd McLellan worked for the Wings before he got to San Jose,. Draw your own conclusions.

SAME OLD GOALIE

Jimmy Howard had a so-so year as the undisputed atarter, and his backups, the redoubtable Chris Osgood and Joey MacDonald, saw about 15 percent of the available minutes this year.  People have been waiting for that breakout year for awhile now, and this wasn’t that year, but the options don’t seem to excite head coach Mike Babcock all that much.

SAME OLD BRAINIAC

Mike Babcock can do this drill in his sleep, so loaded with familiar faces is he. He is like Todd McLellan, only more animated, and he is matter-of-fact-snarky when answering questions, as he was when someone asked about defenseman Ruslan Salei’s injury: “He has a boo-boo.” He’s done this his way long enough that it has become the players’ way as well, so he can allow his veterans more rope. If Franzen is healthy, he will have the team he had three years ago, and it will be well rested after routing Phoenix in the first round.

And the Sharks’ website is like its team—a little cocky, reminding fans that the Sharks have won seven of their last nine regular and post-season meetings with Detroit:

Last year the Sharks dispatched the Red Wings in five games in the conference semifinals in moving to the Western Conference Final. They will have to take the same path to reach the Western Conference Final in 2011.

During the regular season, the Sharks captured three of four games against Detroit. On November 30, Detroit won the season opener between the two by capturing a 5-3 decision at HP Pavilion. Jimmy Howard bested Antero Niittymaki that day.

In the first game at Joe Louis Arena on December 6, San Jose earned the first of three consecutive wins against their Western Conference rival as they came out on top 5-2. Antti Niemi toppled Howard between the pipes. In the return match in the Motor City, Team Teal brought home a 4-3 win. This was another victory for Niemi against Howard in what likely would be the playoff goaltending scenario.

The fourth and final matchup was at HP Pavilion and the Sharks against prevailed, this time 3-1. This time Niemi was victorious against Joey MacDonald.

Offensively, San Jose scored 15 goals in the four games and they were paced by Dany Heatley who scored four goals against the Wings. Ryane Clowe, Joe Thornton, Devin Setoguchi and Logan Couture contributed two goals apiece.

Detroit on the other hand was led by Danny Cleary and Henrik Zetterberg who each contributed three goals in the series. Tomas Holmstrom found two other tallies.

The NHL will be releasing the second round playoff schedule as soon as possible and the Sharks television schedule will follow.

Put simply? The last series with business. This one is personal, and Jimmy Howard’s no longer a young rookie trying to learn how hard it is to “bring it” on an every-save basis. I like revenge.

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Comments

Chet's avatar

yeah. van did everything possible to give this one away.

this rhymes:

time to go beat san jose.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 04/27/11 at 03:08 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

We’ll find out shortly whether the NHL is nuts and wants them to fly to San Jose today for a Thursday night start, or whether they’ll give the Wings a break and let them start the series on Friday.

George,

I think the commissioner & co. already answered that question back in the ‘09 finals.  I can’t believe the Hawks shat the bed like on the game winner.  Lame.  Shark fin sandwhich anyone?

Goodnight folks.  Round two starts tomorrow night or I’m a horse’s arse.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 04/27/11 at 03:12 AM ET

Ian!'s avatar

How shortly? Like, should I keep refreshing, or go to bed?

Posted by Ian! from Baltimore, MD on 04/27/11 at 03:13 AM ET

stonehands-78's avatar

” ... do you know the way to San Jose? ... “

cuppy
cuppy
cuppy

L.G.R.W.

Posted by stonehands-78 from the beginning ... a WingsFan, on 04/27/11 at 03:14 AM ET

Beatrain's avatar

On NHL website they already have the 2nd round dates up for the Sharks first 2 home games as Thursday and Saturday. I suppose the silver lining is that if it is Thurs, then the Sharks have less time to rest/prepare.

Posted by Beatrain on 04/27/11 at 03:16 AM ET

Chet's avatar

i watched them close out LA last night at nearly ice level. i watch way more than enough hockey to know we got a war on our hands.

there must

be

no rust.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 04/27/11 at 03:17 AM ET

KelseyAnn's avatar

I think the Wings have had enough of a break. I don’t mind the Thursday start, plus like Beatrain said it gives the Sharks less time to prepare. Detroit’s had all kinds of time to scout and refresh whereas San Jose hasn’t really.

Posted by KelseyAnn from we have an NHL team here?, Arizona on 04/27/11 at 03:20 AM ET

Chris in A^2's avatar

I think the Wings have had enough of a break. I don’t mind the Thursday start, plus like Beatrain said it gives the Sharks less time to prepare. Detroit’s had all kinds of time to scout and refresh whereas San Jose hasn’t really.
-KelseyAnn

I don’t think you can scout the wings.  They took the last 50 games of the season off, and round one was the hockey equivalent of running the ball up the middle for 60 minutes with the second stringers.  If they want tape of the circus, they’ll have to go all the way back to December.

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 04/27/11 at 03:59 AM ET

Avatar

Ahh the hubris of the Red Wings’ tin foil community.

Posted by RoneFace on 04/27/11 at 04:23 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Might want to go to be there, Ian.

And I think that the Sharks are a helluva team that will give the Wings everything they can handle. But I like revenge in this fight.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/27/11 at 04:35 AM ET

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Here we go again, the WingNuts who have their tin foil beanies screwed on too tight already counting the Sharks out.  This is going to be a bruiser.  If you think McLellan et. al. in San Jose haven’t been keeping a close eye on the WingNuts all season then you’re sorely mistaken.  You Detroit fans might as well start bellyaching about the calls, refs, media, etc. etc. now to get it out of your systems.  This series goes 7 games, without a doubt. GO SHARKS!!!

Posted by WhateverWingNuts from San Jose on 04/27/11 at 05:41 AM ET

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Even as good as the Sharks are up front, the defense isn’t anything special and the goaltending is suspect. Unless Niemi vastly improves his play from the first round, this is over in 5 or less. If Niemi plays well, it could be a very close series.

But this isn’t anything like the Wings team from last year. So long as the Sharks don’t receive a slew of 5 on 3 chances because the Wings get called for bleeding on the ice after a SJ high-stick, the Wings are just too good for the Sharks this year. Especially if we match the intensity we had in the first round.

Posted by Erinabeth on 04/27/11 at 06:05 AM ET

CC Moor's avatar

I am as huge a Wings fan as George Malik, but speaking objectively, I feared this, and was praying for VAN or SJ to be upset. 

This league is so even now, home ice is really critical (even if less than it once was).  If only Chicago had won tonight….we could have beaten Nashville with home ice advantage.

I am afraid now we are headed to a 7 game series but cannot win on the road in this scenario, when it matters most.  We may all therefore rue the Wings’  season ending collapse and reversion to 3rd.

George as objective as you can be, how do you see this going?

How baged up are Z and Franzen??

Posted by CC Moor from Washington DC on 04/27/11 at 06:16 AM ET

Chris in A^2's avatar

I saw most of the LA/SJ series

The good:
-The sharks had serious issues with LA’s energy line.  If this holds true, the Gator and Helm lines are going to raise all sorts of hell
-The sharks gave up a ton of goals to a team that doesn’t have anyone close to a Datsyuk, Zetterberg or Franzen (kopitar didn’t play)
-The Sharks gave up a ton of points to defensmen; again that bodes well for the best offensive blue line in the league.
-Outside of game 6, they didn’t play well at all.  The sharks were down 3-0 in 3 different games and deserved worse. If LA didn’t have stretches of equally terrible play, that would have been a very different series

The bad:
The sharks have 6 very talented forwards.  Clowe and wellwood didn’t look half bad either.
-this plus home ice advantage means all 6 wings defenders need to be very good because the sharks will get favorable matchups.  They did great against the yotes, but the sharks have way more weapons.
-The PK needs to be much better.  I don’t care how bad the sharks were against Quick and a very good LA PK, the talent is there
-bad things will happen if the wings sit on a lead
-5 on 3 apocalypse 2010

The sharks have enough offensive talent to cause problems, but I like the way the wings matchup against them and based on the play in the first round, the wings look like the better team.

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 04/27/11 at 07:43 AM ET

42jeff's avatar

So long as the Sharks don’t receive a slew of 5 on 3 chances because the Wings get called for bleeding on the ice after a SJ high-stick, the Wings are just too good for the Sharks this year. Especially if we match the intensity we had in the first round.
Posted by Erinabeth on 04/27/11 at 04:05 AM ET

+19

Posted by 42jeff from The greater Howard City, MI metroplex on 04/27/11 at 09:03 AM ET

Chet's avatar

-5 on 3 apocalypse 2010

everything else he says is true, too, except the sharks looked like a team that would not be denied against LA. i believe this series may well decide the stanley cup.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 04/27/11 at 09:59 AM ET

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That’s right, Chet.  You can say the Sharks looked bad against LA all you want.  The fact of the matter is they won 3 overtime games (not to be denied) and had their goalie pulled twice. 

Not sure how Helene give Wings the edge in goal and defense.  Edge in goal has to go to the guy that won the Cup last year and was practically unbeatable from January 1 to April 1.  Defense is more like a push with only a slight edge to Detroit.  Helm’s not going to run over a guy like Douglas Murray and they have good puck-movers in Boyle, Vlasic, Demers, Wallin and White.  And we saw it last year, the Wings were flies on the backs of SJ’s big forwards cycling down low and aren’t good enough in their own zone when the puck’s there for 20-30 seconds.  With Franzen and Z at less than full strength, the forward edge probably goes SJ’s way too on the strength of SJ’s awesome PP vs. Wings average to below PK.

I believe the Sharks were basically taking the LA series off for most of it, and only turned it on when necessary.  That and the fact that they’ve faced a ton of adversity this year (they were in 10th and 12th place in December and the above mentioned first round) means that they are much more resilient than in the past.  Only the Wings sheer will to win pushes it to Sharks in 7.

Posted by jkm2011 on 04/27/11 at 11:12 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Defense is more like a push with only a slight edge to Detroit.

It’s either a push or it’s an edge.  Throw around modifiers all you want, but a slight edge is an edge.

I believe the Sharks were basically taking the LA series off for most of it, and only turned it on when necessary.  That and the fact that they’ve faced a ton of adversity this year (they were in 10th and 12th place in December and the above mentioned first round) means that they are much more resilient than in the past.  Only the Wings sheer will to win pushes it to Sharks in 7.

Resilient teams don’t let big, hitting teams like the Kings push them to OT three times and win two games because they’re taking playoff games off.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/27/11 at 12:04 PM ET

MsRedWingFan's avatar

and they say Wings fans have tinfoil screwed too tightly???  ha ha ha ...  reading some of these Snark fans posts WOW ... taking playoff games off as an excuse? just WOW

TURN IT UP WINGS there’s no stopping you now

Posted by MsRedWingFan from West Michigan hometown of Abdelkader on 04/27/11 at 12:50 PM ET

Avatar

If you watched the Sharks series vs LA, and the Wings series vs Phoenix, you would see that a) Howard was spectacular, and b) Niemi was pretty horrible and they debated even not starting him in game six. Think that’s edge Detroit.

And the big cycling Sharks forwards won’t be looking at the same run down team after two long cup runs and a seven game series with only one day of rest between the start of rounds. If you really think the Sharks are going to dominate like that, I’d like some of whatever drugs you’re on.

Lidstrom Rafalski Stuart and Kronwall are all as good or better than anyone on SJ’s D…including Dan “scored in my own net” Boyle.

And our third and fourth lines are deeper.

And we have the two best players in the series and perhaps the world, in Datsyuk and Zetterberg. And the team looks hungry again. Sharks are a good team, but unless they have an extra three or four gears, I think they’re going to look overmatched the way Phoenix did, though to a lesser degree.

Posted by Erinabeth on 04/27/11 at 01:19 PM ET

Trish's avatar

Haha Hey Erinabeth,  where ya been hiding ??

Posted by Trish from PalmBeachCntyFL on 04/27/11 at 03:22 PM ET

MsRedWingFan's avatar

Posted by MsRedWingFan from West Michigan hometown of Abdelkader on 04/27/11 at 03:26 PM ET

SYF's avatar

I don’t think you can scout the wings.  They took the last 50 games of the season off, and round one was the hockey equivalent of running the ball up the middle for 60 minutes with the second stringers.  If they want tape of the circus, they’ll have to go all the way back to December.

Posted by ChrisinA^2 from Michigan, home of the Old Wings on 04/27/11 at 01:59 AM ET

The Wings played the regular season like Muhammad Ali boxing in his career:  rope-a-dope.  Pundits should STFU with the regular season crap because it only determines where a team will place in the playoffs.  Using the regular season records as a gauge is lazy ass prognostication.  Just stupid…

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 04/27/11 at 03:57 PM ET

PuckRules's avatar

So long as the Sharks don’t receive a slew of 5 on 3 chances because the Wings get called for bleeding on the ice after a SJ high-stick, the Wings are just too good for the Sharks this year. Especially if we match the intensity we had in the first round.
Posted by Erinabeth on 04/27/11 at 04:05 AM ET

The series hasnt even started and Wings fans are already johning.

Posted by PuckRules on 04/27/11 at 04:00 PM ET

Avatar

Both teams are more or less the same as they were last year so I don’t really see why the results would be dramatically different.

Posted by RoneFace on 04/27/11 at 09:05 PM ET

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Because both teams aren’t the same as last year. Abdelkader and Helm are the same names, but they aren’t the same players. Same with Miller. Hudler is back, we have a hall of famer sitting on the bench waiting for a chance. We’re also healthy this go-round. And rested.

This Wings team is night and day different than it was a year ago, even if a lot of the names are the same. Health, rest, and experience from our younger guys, especially Howard, make a huge difference.

Posted by Erinabeth on 04/27/11 at 09:46 PM ET

Avatar

Because both teams aren’t the same as last year. Abdelkader and Helm are the same names, but they aren’t the same players. Same with Miller. Hudler is back, we have a hall of famer sitting on the bench waiting for a chance. We’re also healthy this go-round. And rested.

This Wings team is night and day different than it was a year ago, even if a lot of the names are the same. Health, rest, and experience from our younger guys, especially Howard, make a huge difference.

I guess, but you could also say the same things about Couture and Setoguchi and Demers.  Plus White is an upgrade over what Blake was by this time last year.  Ditto Niemi over Nabakov.

Posted by RoneFace on 04/27/11 at 11:56 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.