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GAME: San Jose Sharks (26-14-11-5) at Detroit Red Wings (31-15-8-2).
TIME: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
The Detroit Red Wings will not have goaltender Dominik Hasek for the rest of the season - not that they have missed him all that much.
Now that their goalie controversy has worked itself out, the Red Wings begin their stretch run to the playoffs as they host the San Jose Sharks.
Hasek came out of his one-year retirement to return to the Red Wings this season, but played just 14 games because of a groin injury. The two-time MVP and six-time Vezina Trophy winner, who won his first Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2002, went 8-3-2 for the Red Wings.
"No, I never made a mistake," he said when asked if he regretted his comeback. "Unfortunately my groin wasn't strong enough."
Hasek, who spent nine seasons in Buffalo and parts of two campaigns in Chicago, said he would return next season at age 39. He is 296-192-82 with a 2.23 goals-against average over his 13-season career.
Curtis Joseph signed a three-year, $24 million contract with the Red Wings after Hasek retired in 2002. When Hasek returned, Detroit was desperate to deal Joseph and keep Manny Legace as the backup, but no one would take on his contract.
"We're very, very lucky that he's been a real pro through this," general manager Ken Holland said of Joseph. "And luckily for us that nobody claimed him."
Last season, Joseph and Legace led Detroit to one of the best records in the league, before the Wings were knocked out of the playoffs by Anaheim in a stunning first-round sweep.
The Red Wings lead the Central Division and have gone 8-3-4-1 since the beginning of 2004, including Thursday's 3-2 overtime win over archrival Colorado. Brett Hull scored the game-winner 57 seconds into the extra period on a 5-on-3 power play, and Joseph turned away 29 shots.
The Sharks are coming off Tuesday's 2-1 loss to Buffalo, just their third loss in their last 12 games (8-3-0-1).
Mike Ricci, who will take the ice for his 1,000th NHL game on Wednesday, scored the only goal for San Jose, which was playing the first game of a six-game road trip.