Sharks visit Detroit in battle of hot teams

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Sharks visit Detroit in battle of hot teams

Feb. 22, 2011
SHARKS (33-21-6) vs.
DETROIT (37-16-6)

DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit Red Wings have won five straight to build a 10-point lead in the Central Division. The San Jose Sharks have been one of the hottest teams in the NHL over the last month, but are still in a precarious position.

The Sharks are the club in greater need of points as they open a three-game road trip against the Red Wings on Tuesday night.

Detroit (37-16-6) has the third-highest point total in the league and trails Vancouver by five for the Western Conference lead. The Red Wings are on their longest run since winning seven in a row March 20-April 1, 2010.

San Jose (33-21-6), however, has been hotter since Jan. 15, with 25 points from 15 games compared to Detroit's 20 points in that span. Only New Jersey and Calgary have more points over that stretch.

The Sharks' 72 points, though, only put them slightly ahead of two teams with 70 and several more with 68 that are fighting for the West's last few playoff spots.

"We're not out of the woods," coach Todd McLellan said. "Tough road trip coming up."

San Jose will face Detroit, Pittsburgh and Calgary on the road swing. The Sharks and Red Wings have split two meetings in 2010-11, with each winning on the road.

Antti Niemi has been a major reason for the Sharks' surge, going 11-2-1 with a 1.77 goals-against average while starting every game since Jan. 15. He notched his third shutout in the last eight outings with a 25-save performance in a 4-0 victory over Colorado on Saturday.

"It always looks good when the team is playing so well," Niemi said. "For me, it's more experience, more comfort and being more patient."

Niemi has posted a 1.63 GAA in winning all three of his starts at Joe Louis Arena.

Devin Setoguchi recorded his first career hat trick Saturday as San Jose's top three goal scorers - Logan Couture, Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley - failed to score.

REWIND: Setoguchi's hat trick leads Sharks' rout of Avs

"I think early in the year we tried to rely on certain individuals to carry the team and when they weren't going well, we didn't get a push from anybody underneath them," McLellan said. "And right now, everybody seems to be finding a way."

The former Red Wings assistant probably won't be happy to see Detroit winger Todd Bertuzzi, who has six goals in his last five games.

The 36-year-old Bertuzzi failed to score in his 1,000th game Sunday, though he came through with the shootout winner in a 2-1 victory at Minnesota. He became the 263rd player in NHL history to reach the milestone.

"It's pretty special. Pretty cool," Bertuzzi said.

The Red Wings won a defensive battle after scoring 20 goals over their previous four games. Dan Cleary has six points during the team's five-game run.

Both clubs excel on the power play, with San Jose at 22.8 percent and Detroit at 20.8. The Sharks have three power-play goals in their last two contests following an 0-for-11 drought, while the Red Wings are in a 6-for-50 slump.

Detroit's Jimmy Howard has a league-leading 30 victories and is 3-1-1 with a 2.56 GAA in his career against San Jose.

Inactives: Amerson, Riley re-join Raiders starting lineup vs Bills

Inactives: Amerson, Riley re-join Raiders starting lineup vs Bills

OAKLAND – The Raiders knew they were going to be without some interior defensive linemen on Sunday against Buffalo, with Stacy McGee and Darius Latham ruled out earlier in the week.

There were several other key defender with an uncertain playing status, and the Silver and Black got good news on all of them. Cornerback David Amerson (knee) said he was ready to return after missing last week, and he will play against the Bills.

Interior linebackers Malcolm Smith and Perry Riley Jr., both questionable with hamstring injuries, are active and ready to go. They are key cogs in a run defense that must operate well to slow the NFL’s best run game.

The Raiders will move on without DJ Hayden, who is now on injured reserve, and will look to either Dexter McDonald or Keith McGill, a safety with professional experience at cornerback, as the No. 4 option. TJ Carrie will take on Hayden’s job at slot corner.

There was a curious inactive, with DeAndre Washington a healthy scratch for a second straight week as the Raiders consolidate their running back rotation. Latavius Murray has become a true lead dog, with Jalen Richard as an accent back and return man.

Menelik Watson will be the extra lineman moving forward, meaning Denver Kirkland was a tolerated inactive against Buffalo.

The Bills are missing some key players, including tight end Charles Clay, receivers Percy Harvin and Robert Wood and cornerback Ronald Darby.

 

Despite losing record with Rams, Fisher gets contract extension

Despite losing record with Rams, Fisher gets contract extension

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Los Angeles Rams have given coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead contract extensions.

Rams spokesman Artis Twyman confirmed the moves before Sunday's game against the New England Patriots. The deal for Fisher was first reported by the NFL Network, which said it was a two-year extension through 2018.

Twyman said he couldn't comment on terms of the deals. He said, "I think that's something coach Fisher will discuss after the game."

In his fifth season with the Rams, the first four in St. Louis, Fisher has presided over a 31-43-1 record. They have yet to finish above .500 in his tenure and they haven't made the playoffs since 2004.

Snead also became the Rams' general manager in 2012, taking over a 2-14 team.

Both Fisher and Snead were in the final month of their deals. Owner Stan Kroenke, who moved the franchise from St. Louis to Los Angeles this year, has praised Fisher, a Southern California native, for capably shepherding the team's move.

Fisher was in a similar position in 1997 when the Houston Oilers moved to Nashville. He oversaw that transition during his fourth season in charge of that franchise, and by 1999 the Titans were AFC champions, losing, coincidentally, to the Rams in the Super Bowl.

Fisher coached the Titans through 2010, then was hired by the Rams after sitting out the 2011 season.

Fisher also has been a co-chairman of the NFL's powerful Competition Committee, which helps set the rules.

Before joining the Rams, Snead spent 13 seasons in the Falcons' front office.