Red Wings-Sharks Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 28, 2013
The San Jose Sharks may be relieved to end February, but they'd like to do it in positive fashion. Taking the ice at home against the struggling Detroit Red Wings should help. The Sharks go for back-to-back wins for the first time this month on Thursday night when they attempt to continue their home success against the Red Wings. San Jose (9-6-3) has gone 2-6-3 this month, scoring 15 goals in that span after totaling 29 during a franchise-best 7-0-0 start. Going 3 for 51 on the power play in February is one of the major problems. "We're not scoring as much as we'd like, and we're trying to fix that," coach Todd McLellan said. "Some of that comes through the power play, and we're trying to fix that." The Sharks are also proving to be much better at home, going 6-1-2 while dropping six of their last seven on the road. "The level of play has been better at home than it has been on the road, and it's as simple as that," McLellan said. "We've been able to find that extra point here at home more often than on the road." San Jose did that again Tuesday, beating Colorado 3-2 in a shootout to open this three-game homestand, which concludes Saturday versus Nashville. The Sharks may be in solid position to close out the month with consecutive wins since they've won nine of the last 11 home meetings with the Red Wings (9-8-3), including the playoffs. They've taken six of seven overall during the regular season, including three in a row at HP Pavilion. Patrick Marleau, who converted the decisive shootout attempt Tuesday, and Joe Thornton have routinely factored in the scoring against Detroit. Marleau has 34 points in 28 career regular-season home meetings, tallying six in the past five overall matchups. The venue hasn't mattered much to Thornton, who has 29 points in the last 22 games. The captain leads the Sharks with 19 points, one more than Marleau. However, they've combined for one assist over the past five home games. Ryane Clowe, still seeking his first goal of the season, is scheduled to return from his two-game suspension for instigating a fight late in Friday's 2-1 loss at Chicago. The Red Wings are 2-4-2 on the road, and have dropped six of eight overall after giving up a pair of third-period goals to fall 2-1 at Los Angeles on Wednesday. "I've got to give us a chance to win, but it wasn't enough," said Jimmy Howard, who had 27 saves. "We were playing a great road game there. We were just grinding it out and making smart plays. (But it) doesn't matter who you play, you can't be giving up three 5-on-3s." Howard may be back in net, but he's 1-3-1 with a 3.61 goals-against average in six road games, getting pulled in two of them. He's also struggled lately against the Sharks, going 0-4-1 with a 4.06 GAA in his last five matchups. Henrik Zetterberg leads Detroit with 25 points, but he has just six - all assists - on the road and was held pointless by the Kings. The center has 52 points in 52 career games versus San Jose, including the postseason.
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