Red Wings and Sharks meet in Second Round of Stanley Cup Playoffs

2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs
Western Conference Semifinals
#2 San Jose Sharks vs #3 Detroit Red Wings
Best of Seven Series Format: 2-2-1-1-1
Friday, April 29, 2011-Thursday, May 12, 2011
Series Price: Red Wings -115 / Sharks -105 (odds courtesy of Bookmaker)
Series Schedule (all times Eastern)

Friday, April 29 at San Jose, 10:00 p.m. VERSUS, TSN
Sunday, May 1 at San Jose, 3:00 p.m. NBC, TSN
Wednesday, May 4 at Detroit, 8:00 p.m. VERSUS (JIP), TSN
Friday, May 6 at Detroit, 7:00 p.m. VERSUS, TSN
*Sunday, May 8 at San Jose, 8:00 p.m. VERSUS, TSN
*Tuesday, May 10 at Detroit, TBD VERSUS, TSN
*Thursday, May 12 at San Jose, TBD VERSUS, TSN

The Red Wings and Sharks meet for the second year in a row in the Western Conference semifinals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Last year these two teams met in the second round. The Sharks won that series 4-1 after going up 3-0 to start. This year it won’t be as easy. The Red Wings are a much better team this year. Last year they battled injuries all season and had a depleted roster as they took on the Sharks. Though Henrik Zetterberg missed the first round series against phoenix for the Red Wings with a lower body injury, he is expected to be back for the series against the Sharks. Detroit didn’t need him as they swept Phoenix 4-0 in the first round. The Red Wings haven’t played in 9 days and outscored the Coyotes 18-10 in the four games, including 6-3 in the clincher April 20.

San Jose had a harder time with the pesky #7 seeded LA Kings, playing without leading scorer Anze Kopitar. They won in 6 games including 3 overtime wins. In game 4, the Sharks were down 4-0 at one point and came back to win in overtime 6-5. The series was very close as the Sharks and Kings both scored 20 goals in the 6 games.

San Jose beat Detroit 3 of the 4 times they played this season. Detroit won the first meeting 5-3 November 30th in San Jose. San Jose won 5-2 at Detroit December 6. The Sharks won at Detroit February 22 4-3,and at home March 3 3-1. San Jose has won 10 of the last 17 games against Detroit. Eleven of those seventeen games have gone over the total.

Detroit Goalie Jimmy Howard had a 2.50 GAA in the four games against the Coyotes with a .915 save percentage. Teh Red Wings needed the sweep to heal up some key injuries. Henrik Zetterberg is probable for game one with a knee injury. Left Wing Johan Franzen is also probable with an ankle injury. He hurt the ankle in Game 2 against the Coyotes, the same game where he had to have 23 stitches to close cuts on his forehead and upper lip. He came back into the game, remarkably. Center Pavel Datsyuk had 6 points including 4 assists in the four games against Phoenix. Center Valtteri Filppula had 5 points including 4 assists. Left Wing Tomas Holstrom has 4 points in the playoffs so far. Six Red Wings had 3 points, including Franzen. Detroit is scoring 4.50 goals a game so far in the playoffs and giving up 2.5 goals a game. Detroit was 4 for 15 on the power play against Phoenix for a 26.7% success rate. They did allow 6 power play goals out of 18 chances, for a 66.7% rate on the penalty kill.

San Jose goaltender Anti Niemi won the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks last year. He signed with the Sharks as a free agent. Niemi struggled in the first round against the Kings. He was benched twice and had a GAA of 3.99 in 6 games with an .863 save percentage. He will have to play much better against the deep red Wings or this will be a short series. Back-up Antero Niittymaki is waiting in the wings if Niemi falters. He only allowed 1 goal in 90 minutes of play during the series against LA and a save percentage of .967. San Jose defenseman Ryan Huskins is out for the season. Against the Kings, Sharks’ right wing Ryane Clowe had 7 points including 4 goals. Center Patrick Marleau  had 5 points as did Joe Thornton, Logan Couture, and Ian White. White had 5 assists to lead the Sharks. Four other Sharks had 4 points including Joe Pavelski and Dany Heatley. The Sharks scored 3.33 goals a game against LA and gave up the same. The Sharks struggled on the power play converting only 2 out of 23 chances. They gave up 5 power play goals to the Kings in 24 chances.

This has the potential to be the best of the 4 second round series. These two teams are so deep at the forward position that they can score a lot of goals. This series will come down to defense and goaltending. San Jose is a little weak along the blue line. Niemi needs to play a lot better and can’t give up 4 goals a game. If he plays like he did last year on the way to winning the Cup, then the Sharks have a chance to pull off the mild upset. I think teh stacked Red Wings get revenge for last year.

SERIES PREDICTION: RED WINGS IN 6

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Posted by on Apr 29 2011. Filed under Headlines, Hockey. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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