March 3, 2011
DETROIT (39-18-7) vs.
Coverage begins at 7 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California
SAN JOSE (AP) -- The San Jose Sharks held off the Detroit Red Wings last week to keep their win streak going.
The Sharks have since extended that run to a season-high seven games, but will next face a Red Wings team that's won three straight at HP Pavilion on Thursday night.
San Jose has surged to the Pacific Division lead by winning 16 of 19 and will try to add to that total by matching its season-best eight consecutive victories from 2009-10.
The Sharks (37-21-6) earned one of their latest victories in Detroit on Feb. 22. Devin Setoguchi had a key third-period goal in that 4-3 win among his two scores, and Antti Niemi stopped 35 shots.
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Niemi has a 1.85 goals-against average over 19 consecutive starts and a 1.64 GAA during the win streak.
For his efforts in place of an injured Antero Niittymaki, he was rewarded with a 15.2 million, four-year contract extension Tuesday before recording a 2-1 shootout win over visiting Colorado.
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"It wasn't pretty. It was a greasy win," said Ryane Clowe, who tallied the only goal in the tiebreaker. "It was nice to get the win, but it wasn't our best game by any means."
Joe Thornton scored the tying goal with 2:58 remaining in regulation and helped his team open a season-high, six-game homestand with its sixth consecutive victory at HP Pavilion.
"You want to play good for the fans, but we have to stick with our game and to what's working," Setoguchi said. "If we can do that at home, we'll continue getting wins."
The Sharks haven't won at home over the Central Division-leading Red Wings (39-18-7) since Jan. 17, 2009, and fell 5-3 there Nov. 30. Henrik Zetterberg had two goals and two assists, and Pavel Datsyuk added a goal and two assists in the rematch of last season's Western Conference semifinals.
The Red Wings enter this meeting having won six of seven on the road, but suffered that lone defeat Wednesday as Anaheim's Bobby Ryan converted an overtime penalty shot.
"They did a good job and put some pressure on us," coach Mike Babcock said. "Their goalie made some saves, and we missed a couple of open nets. The game was set up for us to find a way to get a win, and we didn't."
Detroit will try to bounce back by avoiding their second three-game losing streak to San Jose and first since Dec. 16, 1997-March 5, 1998.
Logan Couture scored twice in a 5-2 win over the Red Wings on Dec. 6 and Thornton added a goal. He has five goals and three assists during a five-game point streak against Detroit.
Zetterberg doesn't have a point streak versus San Jose, but he has totaled 13 goals and 10 assists in his last 17 matchups with the Sharks.
Niemi, though, might have a good chance to limit the Detroit winger as he's 4-1-1 with a 2.15 GAA in six career appearances against the Red Wings.
Detroit's Jimmy Howard, meanwhile, has allowed nine goals in his past two meetings with the Sharks after giving up eight in his previous four. Backup Joey MacDonald hasn't fared much better, going 0-2-0 with a 3.28 GAA in three career matchups.