NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, October 30th
(All times eastern)
Detroit Red Wings (7-1-2) at San Jose Sharks (8-2-0), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The top two teams in the Western Conference hook up
tonight, as the San Jose Sharks host the Detroit Red Wings at HP Pavilion.
The Sharks and Wings both enter this test with 16 points and lead their
respective divisions. Both teams are playing to their early-season strengths
tonight, as San Jose is the only team left unbeaten at home, while Detroit's
five road wins are the most in the league.
The Sharks improved to 5-0-0 as the host on Tuesday, defeating the Pittsburgh
Penguins, 2-1. Though they went 0-for-6 on the power play, the Sharks got a
short-handed goal out of Joe Pavelski, while Mike Grier also scored.
Milan Michalek, Christian Ehrhoff and Dan Boyle all had assists, with Boyle
and Ehrhoff joining Joe Thornton with a team-high seven helpers on the season.
San Jose put forth an outstanding defensive effort, as netminder Evgeni
Nabokov needed to make just 10 saves for the Sharks, who at 8-2-0 are off to
their best start in franchise history. Their 19 goals at home is third-best in
Nabokov has struggled in his career versus the Red Wings, going 5-13-1 with a
3.56 goals against average and .885 save percentage in his career against
them. He allowed 16 goals in four starts versus Detroit a year ago, going
1-3-0 with a 4.23 GAA.
Backup netminder Brian Boucher, who has two shutouts in as many starts this
year, hasn't fared much better, posting a 1-6-0 mark in nine starts against
them in addition to two ties and a 3.18 GAA.
Detroit went into last night's game in Anaheim having won its first five road
games of 2008-09, but suffered a 5-4 overtime loss. Francois Beauchemin guided
the Ducks to the win, swatting the puck past Chris Osgood 1:39 into overtime.
Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg each tallied twice for the Red Wings,
whose five-game overall win streak was halted. Osgood allowed five goals on 34
shots in defeat.
Detroit is 2-0-1 on a five-game road trip, with each of the first three tests
of that swing going into either a shootout over overtime. The Red Wings have a
league-high 22 goals on the road so far this year, while their power play as
the visitor is connecting at a 31 percent clip.
Detroit ends its swing on Sunday against Vancouver.
The Red Wings won three of four versus the Sharks last year and have won seven
of the last 12 in the series. Detroit has won its last two in San Jose.
Tonight's meeting will be the first for San Jose head coach Todd McLellan
against his old team. McLellan was hired by the Sharks this past offseason
after he served the previous three seasons as an assistant coach with Detroit.
10/30 10:55:50 ET