Red Wings-Sharks Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 16, 2011
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 round. These teams faced off Oct. 28 in Detroit, with Marleau contributing a goal and an assist and Niemi stopping 30 shots in a 4-2 victory. "It's always a great game when these two teams come together," Marleau said. "They've been a very good organization, an elite team, for a long time, so you know you'd better come prepared to play. Getting a win against them does feel good, because you know it's always an elite game." Including the playoffs, San Jose is 13-5-0 in the last 18 meetings despite outscoring Detroit only 55-50. "Every game against them seems to be a one-goal game," said Sharks center Joe Thornton, who scored twice in the Oct. 28 matchup. "These are two good, competitive teams, and it's become a pretty good rivalry the last couple of years." The Sharks (9-5-1) gave Niemi a rest Saturday and suffered their first regulation loss in five games, 3-0 against Phoenix. "We had a good run, but it's done now and we have to start something new," defenseman Dan Boyle said. Niemi is 2-0-1 with a 2.30 goals-against average in his last three starts. Marleau, second on the Sharks with 14 points, had three goals and two assists in his previous two games before Saturday. Detroit (9-6-1), meanwhile, has been streaky all season. The Red Wings opened with five straight wins before losing six in a row, then won four straight before a 2-1 defeat to St. Louis in the opener of a four-game trip Tuesday night. They went 0 for 6 on the power play and have come up empty in 16 opportunities with the man advantage over the last three games. "Our power play let us down," said coach Mike Babcock, whose team has dropped four of six away from home. San Jose has not allowed a power-play goal in six chances over its last two games.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Top 10 takeaways from Super Bowl 50

Was firing Jeff Hornacek the wrong move for the Suns?

Panthers picked wrong day to play worst game of the season

Was Peyton Manning paid for Budweiser mentions?

Cam Newton walks out of postgame press conference

Eli did not look thrilled after Peyton locked up Super Bowl

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rick Reilly sends awkward tweet during Super Bowl 50

Peyton Manning gives Papa John a kiss after game

Panthers' Josh Norman crying after losing Super Bowl

Peyton Manning ‘going to drink a lot of Budweiser’ after win

Where Peyton Manning ranks among Super Bowl era QBs

Peyton Manning declines to comment on possible retirement

Von Miller trolls Cam Newton, Panthers

Cam Newton proves again he is a great winner and terrible loser

Steph Curry trolls himself with Jordan face meme

Winners and losers from Super Bowl 50

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Aqib Talib wipes out on NFL Network

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Five biggest boneheaded plays of Super Bowl 50

WATCH: Cam Newton gives questionable effort to recover fumble

Lions say Calvin Johnson's future still not determined

How Louisville basketball bungled their self-imposed ban

Ted Ginn Jr. whiffs on football twice on one play, results in Panthers turnover

Kony Ealy makes one-handed interception of Peyton Manning

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker