The Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks meet again in Round Two, and this time the Red Wings are looking for revenge against the Sharks.
The Sharks have many star players including: Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley, Patrick Marleau, Devon Setoguchi, Joe Pavelski, and probable rookie of the year and Red Wings killer Logan Couture. The Red Wings feature Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, Dan Cleary, Todd Bertuzzi, Niklas Kronwall, Brian Rafalski, and the perfect human, Nicklas Lidstrom.
The Sharks eliminated the Red Wings in five games in the Second Round last season, after the Red Wings finished a long seven game series against the Phoenix Coyotes with one day off between series. This time the Wings finished off the ‘Yotes in four games and have eight days between series, while the Sharks had three days between series after eliminating the Kings in six games. With the rest the Red Wings have Zetterberg and Johan Franzen back in the lineup which should give Detroit an edge.
The Red Wings and Sharks are mirror images when comparing their style of play, largely due to Sharks Coach Todd McLellan being a former assistant to Detroit’s Mike Babcock, and it would seem the two teams are evenly matched.
The Red Wings know what they must do to defeat the Sharks and the one area they must improve is on the penalty kill. It would help even more if they stay out of the penalty box altogether. During the series with the Coyotes, the Wings’ penalty kill was around 66 percent which is not acceptable if Detroit expects to win against the Sharks.
The Red Wings are confident their forechecking game is much improved compared to last season due to the pla of Darren Helm, Drew Miller, Patrick Eaves, and Justin Abdelkader. The persistence of these players it gives the Red Wings third and fourth line players the edge over the Sharks, and should create turnovers and wear down the Sharks defenders. The Red Wings plan to do a better job back checking, and keeping the Sharks on the perimeter.
Another edge for the Red Wings is in net as Jimmy Howard has outperformed Antti Niemi to date even, though Niemi won the Stanley Cup with Chicago last season. Taking all these factors into account and adding the revenge factor, the Red Wings will win the series in six games.