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Red Wings will need strong defensive performance to beat Sharks

Thursday, 11.5.2009 / 12:50 PM ET / News
By Michael Caples  - Detroit Red Wings Staff Writer
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Red Wings will need strong defensive performance to beat Sharks
DETROIT -- The Red Wings will be facing one of the hottest teams in hockey tonight when they square off against the San Jose Sharks.

The Sharks, led by coach Todd McLellan – a Red Wings’ former assistant coach – have won six straight games, and currently reside in second place of the Western Conference. Meanwhile, the Wings are looking to put together a winning streak of their own. Detroit has won two straight, and are climbing back towards the top of the Central Division.

After Thursday’s morning skate, the Wings acknowledged that they have to play well defensively tonight.  The Sharks have a talented offensive team that added sniper Dany Heatley to a roster that already features Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.

“Thornton and Heatley and (Ryan) Clowe are a strong line for them, but in my opinion, Patrick Marleau is playing better than anybody on that team,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said.  “So we’re going to have to be cognizant of both those groups.  They’re other guys out there, because of injuries, are like our guys, are energy guys, they’re going to work real hard, compete real hard.”

Some good news for the Wings is that members of their defensive unit are overcoming illnesses.  Both Brian Rafalski and Jonathan Ericsson will be back in the line-up tonight, and Rafalski will start with captain Nicklas Lidstrom against the Thornton line.  Derek Meech and Doug Janik will be healthy scratches.

Babcock said that his team is focused controlling the face-off dot against San Jose.  The Wings have struggled with face-offs early in the season, which Babcock attributed to roster changes and injuries.

“A key in tonight’s game is, do you want to chase the team around that has the puck, or do you want to have the puck yourself?” Babcock said. “So that will be a big part of our emphasis tonight, and it has to continue.”

Lidstrom said that he’s pleased with how the Wings have played of late.  Detroit is 3-0-1 in their last four games.

“I think we’re starting to play better, playing better as a group,” Lidstrom said.  “I think our defensive effort has really improved the last couple games, our penalty killing is better too.  We still want to build on it, and get better in those areas.”


SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
T. Tatar 5 0 3 1 3
M. Green 5 1 1 -1 2
A. Athanasiou 5 1 0 1 1
G. Nyquist 5 1 0 2 1
H. Zetterberg 5 1 0 3 1
J. Abdelkader 5 1 0 -3 1
B. Richards 5 1 0 -4 1
D. Helm 5 1 0 -1 1
D. Larkin 5 1 0 -2 1
N. Kronwall 5 0 1 3 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 1 2 0 .945 1.36
J. Howard 0 2 0 .891 3.59