Feb 28, 2013; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks right wing Ryane Clowe (29) checks Detroit Red Wings center Cory Emmerton (25) during the second period at HP Pavilion. The Detroit Red Wings defeated the San Jose Sharks 2-1 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Sharks Look To Slow Down Red Hot Wings: Game Preview

This evening, on the second part of a back-to-back at home, the San Jose Sharks (15-11-6) take on the visiting Detroit Red Wings (17-11-5) in the second of three matchups this season between the two teams.

The Red Wings have won three games in a row and five of their last six so they are very hot right now.  In fact they beat the Ducks twice, just as the Sharks did, although Detroit won both games in Anaheim.

Currently Detroit sits in the fifth seed in the west but are only three points ahead of the eigth place Sharks.  With the win last night San Jose was able to gain two points of breathing room between them and the Nashville Predators who are chasing them from the ninth spot.

Leading the Detroit Red Wings this season is none other than Pavel Datsyuk who leads the team with 11 goals and 35 total points.  He is also tied for the team lead in assists with Henrik Zetterberg with 24 assists.  Zetterberg is also second on the team in points with 32.  Forward Damien Brunner is the only other guy on the team with a double-digit scoring mark, and that currently sits right on the threshold at 10.

Brent Burns continues to impress as a forward on the top line adding another point to his resume.  He now has nine points in his eight games as a forward is seems to be making Ryane Clowe more and more obsolete by the second.

Another great sign for San Jose is that Martin Havlat is starting to heat up as well tallying five points in his last five games.  If he and Burns can continue to add support to the top four forwards, as well as guys like Wingels and Gomez, San Jose will be a very tough low-end seed come playoff time.

Also great to see was Antti Niemi getting his second shutout of the season last night.  He went through a little bit of a rut there during that road-trip but picked it up at the end and looks like he is starting to climb out of it.  No doubt he did his job earlier on in the season keeping the Sharks in games they had no business being in, but it is always nice to have a hot goaltender come playoff time.  Often, it is the team with the best goaltender that wins in the playoffs.  Hopefully Niemi can gain his form once again and make the Sharks a real threat.

Tags: Antti Niemi Brent Burns Damien Brunner Detroit Red Wings Henrik Zetterberg Martin Havlat Pavel Datsyuk San Jose Sharks

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