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WGD: Game 76: Red Wings vs. Sharks

After a victory in Vegas on Saturday night, the Red Wings swing down the west coast to make a stop in San Jose before coming back East.

If nothing else, beating these Western Conference playoff teams is a confidence and morale-booster, so expect the Wings to go hard at it tonight. This will  be the second and final time this season the Red Wings play the Sharks. The last game was a 5-3 loss during Gustav Nyquist’s final game in the winged wheel. He was dealt to the Sharks later that night.

The Sharks have just recently clinched a berth in the playoffs, and they are planted pretty firmly between the first place Flames and 3rd place Golden Knights. At this point, it doesn’t seem like they’ll be moving much, meaning they’ll likely have a first round match-up against Vegas.

Unfortunately, these are not problems the Red Wings have to worry about.

Detroit is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games – From our friends at OddsShark

THE RED WINGS

LW C RW
Darren Helm
DARREN HELM

Rating: 70.6#146 LW

Dylan Larkin
DYLAN LARKIN

Rating: 77.5#34 C

Anthony Mantha
ANTHONY MANTHA

Rating: 73.6#54 RW

Tyler Bertuzzi
TYLER BERTUZZI

Rating: 72.9#66 LW

Andreas Athanasiou
ANDREAS ATHANASIOU

Rating: 77.9#29 C

Luke Glendening
LUKE GLENDENING

Rating: 69.7#117 RW

Thomas Vanek
THOMAS VANEK

Rating: 72.7#65 LW

Frans Nielsen
FRANS NIELSEN

Rating: 71.8#114 C

Taro Hirose
TARO HIROSE
Christoffer Ehn
CHRISTOFFER EHN

Rating: 69.3#130 LW

Michael Rasmussen
MICHAEL RASMUSSEN

Rating: 70.8#139 C

Ryan Kuffner
RYAN KUFFNER
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Dan DeKeyser
DAN DEKEYSER

Rating: 71.1#98 LD

Filip Hronek
FILIP HRONEK

Rating: 71.5#81 RD

Niklas Kronwall
NIKLAS KRONWALL

Rating: 71.6#91 LD

Madison Bowey
MADISON BOWEY

Rating: 69.0#99 RD

Libor Sulak
LIBOR SULAK

Rating: 72.5#74 LD

Brian Lashoff
BRIAN LASHOFF

Rating: 71.9#69 RD

At this point of the season, I don’t expect the Red Wings lines to shuffle too much. Especially since they won their last game, they might as well continue to roll with the success.

Taro Hirose continues his hot start, having recorded three assists through the first three games of his NHL career. Anthony Mantha is coming off a big 2-goal game in Vegas, where he scored the tying and game-winning goals. And Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou are looking to become the first two Red Wings 30-goal scorers in ten years.

There aren’t many story lines on this roster beyond that. One thing to point out, though: these are all young and developing players. It’s the rebuild at work. It’s fun!

THE SHARKS

LW C RW
Timo Meier
TIMO MEIER

Rating: 77.3#22 LW

Tomas Hertl
TOMAS HERTL

Rating: 78.7#27 C

Gustav Nyquist
GUSTAV NYQUIST

Rating: 75.4#38 RW

Marcus Sorensen
MARCUS SORENSEN

Rating: 73.9#45 LW

Joe Thornton
JOE THORNTON

Rating: 75.7#46 C

Kevin Labanc
KEVIN LABANC

Rating: 74.7#42 RW

Evander Kane
EVANDER KANE

Rating: 77.2#21 LW

Lukas Radil
LUKAS RADIL

Rating: 73.1#77 C

Joonas Donskoi
JOONAS DONSKOI

Rating: 73.8#52 RW

Micheal Haley
MICHEAL HALEY

Rating: 68.3#135 LW

Barclay Goodrow
BARCLAY GOODROW

Rating: 71.2#106 C

Melker Karlsson
MELKER KARLSSON

Rating: 71.5#87 RW

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Joakim Ryan
JOAKIM RYAN

Rating: 71.9#85 LD

Brent Burns
BRENT BURNS

Rating: 83.5#1 RD

Marc-Edouard Vlasic
MARC-EDOUARD VLASIC

Rating: 75.7#23 LD

Tim Heed
TIM HEED

Rating: 76.3#23 RD

Brenden Dillon
BRENDEN DILLON

Rating: 72.8#63 LD

Justin Braun
JUSTIN BRAUN

Rating: 71.7#75 RD

This Sharks team is definitely a contender, especially when you add in the players they currently have on injured reserve. But with no Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture or Erik Karlsson, do they have what it takes to beat the Red Wings? The answer is still yes.

It’s still very strange seeing Nyquist in a teal jersey, but I’m happy for him that he’ll get a good playoff run out of this team. In his 12 games played with the Sharks, he’s scored 3 goals and 3 assists. With the injuries listed above, he’s getting top-line minutes, but I’d expect him to shift down to the second line during the playoffs.

BETWEEN THE PIPES

Jimmy Howard vs. Aaron Dell

After a recent back-to-back leading into the weekend, I’d expect Aaron Dell to get the start for San Jose tonight. Martin Jones has played 57 games this season, so he’s earned a bit of a rest down the stretch, especially against low-threat teams like Detroit. Dell has not been terribly successful this year, putting up a 9-7-4 record through 21 games with a .887 save percentage and 3.14 goals against average.

As for Detroit, expect Howard to get the start because he’s our undisputed starter and is coming off a day’s rest. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Bernier get the nod, though. With the exception of his last game against the Blues, he’s actually been pretty okay.

HOW TO WATCH

It’s a late one tonight, folks! Puck drop is at 10;30 P.M. ET and you’ll be able to watch the game on Fox Sports Detroit or NBCSCA. It’s also being broadcast on Sportsnet in Canada for some reason, so if you’re tuning in from there you’ll be able to watch the game.