The last time the Detroit Red Wings visited San Jose, they had a chance to win their Western Conference semifinal series after losing the first three games.
Antti Niemi and Patrick Marleau made sure the Sharks avoided an historic collapse, and they also paved the way for San Jose to win the first meeting between the teams this season.
Niemi is expected to make his first start in a week Thursday night when the Sharks host the Red Wings for the first time since winning Game 7 of last season's playoff matchup.
After winning each of the first three games of that semifinal series by one goal - two in overtime - San Jose went on to lose the next three before posting a 4-2 win in the decisive game May 12.
Marleau got his first point of the series in Game 7 when he knocked home a rebound with 7:47 to play in the third period and then made the key defensive play in the closing seconds. Niemi had 38 saves as the Sharks eliminated the Red Wings for the second straight year in the second ro...