The Detroit Red Wings continue to silence their critics with a strong second half, and they have a chance to put an exclamation point on the end of their current road trip with a win over the San Jose Sharks tonight. The Red Wings have won three straight games and five of their last six, and would be well-served to have a lot of momentum heading into Sunday afternoon’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
The game with the Blackhawks will be the featured game on NBC, and just happens to fall on Red Wings legend Gordie Howe’s 85th birthday. The home crowd will be pumped, and the Red Wings can show they are a true contender by avenging a Mar. 3 shootout loss to the Blackhawks.
First things first, the Red Wings need to take care of business tonight against a Sharks team that has won two straight games behind the strong goaltending of Antti Niemi. The game will pit a red-hot Red Wings power play against the strong Sharks’ penalty kill (third in the league). The Red Wings have eight power play goals in their past nine games, and will be in good shape if they can convert with the man-advantage tonight. While Detroit has gotten scoring boost from Justin Abdelkader, Drew Miller and Ian White in the past three games, it has been Pavel Datsyuk’s hot streak leading the way up front. Datsyuk has three goals in the last six games and five points in the last three games.
Joe Thornton and Logan Couture have been successful in recent games against the Red Wings, and Jimmy Howard will need another strong performance to keep his team in the hunt. Detroit leads the season series, taking a 2-1 shootout win over the Sharks in the two teams’ only meeting this season.