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After waiting an entire offseason to avenge their loss to the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference semifinals, the San Jose Sharks came up short in the teams' first meeting since the playoffs.
The Sharks only had to wait about a week to try again.
San Jose (5-3-1) gets another shot at Detroit (7-2-1) on Friday as the teams meet at Joe Louis Arena.
Unlike last postseason, when the Sharks went up 2-1 on the Red Wings only to lose the final three games of the series, San Jose has bounced back well from its 4-2 defeat to Detroit on Oct. 18. The Sharks beat Nashville 3-0 on Saturday and defeated Calgary 4-1 on Monday in the opener of a four-game road trip.
Milan Michalek scored twice and Jeremy Roenick added two assists against the Flames. Michalek's second goal - a short-handed score set up by Roenick from behind the net in the second period - was his team-leading sixth goal of the season.
"He scored, he blocked shots, he was making plays killing penalties on the power play, he played really well tonight. It was easily his best game of the year," coach Ron Wilson said of Michalek.
The fourth-year forward will try to help Sharks continue their roll as they look to make up for their only loss in the last four games.
"You have to be mentally ready, and we seem to be content reading our press clippings and seeing whatever our predictions are for where we're going to finish," Wilson said.
San Jose, which has scored three goals in the final period the last two games, has lost 11 of its last 15 trips to Joe Louis Arena, including two playoff games last season.
Detroit continued its strong play at home Wednesday, beating Vancouver 3-2. Tomas Holmstrom scored twice in the second period and Dominik Hasek made 13 saves to help the Red Wings improve to 4-1-0 at Joe Louis.
Detroit has won three straight overall.
"I think our guys were determined," said Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, whose team outshot the Canucks 39-15. "They got to the net, had some chances, and created some screens."
Holmstrom's power-play goal early in the second period was his first goal since Oct. 14. He went three games without scoring after recording a goal in five of his first six games.
The Detroit forward has seven goals on the season and has had three scores overturned. The 6-foot, 200-pound winger, who scores most of his goals while creating traffic in front of the net, was also called for goalie interference against Vancouver. He leads Detroit with 22 penalty minutes.
"I don't think he deserves the penalties that he gets," linemate Henrik Zetterberg said.
The Red Wings got bad news Thursday, learning Hasek will be out indefinitely due to a sore hip. Veteran Chris Osgood becomes the starting goalie, and Jimmy Howard will join the team from Grand Rapids of the AHL to serve as backup.
Detroit also placed forward Dallas Drake, who suffered a hairline fracture in his left cheekbone when he was rammed into the glass by San Jose defenseman Kyle McLaren last week, on injured reserve. Drake is expected to miss at least one week.
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