SHARKS (11-4-1) at RED WINGS (6-4-3)
Last 10 -- Sharks 8-2-0; Red Wings 5-2-3
Season series -- This is the first of four meetings this season. In 2008-09, each team won both games on its home ice. Ryan Clowe and Milan Michalek led the Sharks with a goal and 4 assists each. Marian Hossa (4-3) and Pavel Datsyuk (2-5) paced the Red Wings with 7 points apiece. Detroit outscored San Jose 17-11 in the series despite being outshot 133-122.
Big story -- It's a matchup of the last two Presidents' Trophy-winning teams, and while the Sharks are humming along toward a repeat with six consecutive wins, the Red Wings have not yet displayed the dominant form that has made them one of the NHL's powerhouses of the last decade.
Sharks -- The Sharks are looking for a sweep of their three-game road trip after winning 6-1 at Carolina on Sunday and 3-2 in a shootout at Columbus on Wednesday. They've won six in a row and are 7-4-0 on the road.
In fact, the Sharks learned they have a new fan in Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock, who told the Columbus Dispatch prior to their meeting on Wednesday: "There's a reason they win. It's not because they have a lock on the talent. It's because they play the game the right way."
"I respect Hitch's comments, but we're not that way all the time," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "We have our warts. We try to work through them just like every other team."
The San Jose way has led them to second place in the Western Conference with a conference-high 55 goals while permitting only 40.
Red Wings -- This is the second game in a two-game homestand for Detroit, which began with a 2-0 victory against Boston on Tuesday. The Red Wings are 4-1-1 at home, and have won three of their last four overall.
With a 29-save shutout against the Bruins, Detroit goaltender Chris Osgood has allowed only one goal in his last two starts. "I don't put much merit in shutouts, I don't know why, I never have," Osgood said. "The only thing they're good for is that you know you have a great chance of winning a game if you get one. ... I've said numerous times, I just remember watching (Hall of Famer) Grant Fuhr play, and it was just about winning games. And that's my mentality -- just to win."
With defensemen Brian Rafalski and Jonathan Ericsson missing Tuesday's game due to illness, the Red Wings inserted Doug Janik into the lineup. He had 1 goal and 5 assists in 10 games with Grand Rapids of the AHL. Rafalski and Ericsson are expected to return tonight.
Who's hot -- For the Sharks, Patrick Marleau has 6 goals and 10 assists in his last nine games, Ryane Clowe has a goal and 4 assists in his last three games, Dany Heatley has 2 goals and an assist in his last three games. Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk has 2 goals and 6 assists in his last four games, Darren Helm has a goal and 2 assists in his last two games, Brad Stuart has a goal and an assist in his last two games, and Kris Draper has 2 assists in his last two games.
Injury report -- For the Sharks, centers Joe Pavelski (lower-body) and Torrey Mitchell (leg) are on injured reserve, and right wing Devin Setoguchi (lower-body) and forward Ryan Vesce (lower-body) are day-to-day. Defenseman Rob Blake left Wednesday's game in the second period and did not return. For the Red Wings, defenseman Andreas Lilja (concussion) and forwards Valtteri Filppula (wrist) and Johan Franzen (knee) are on injured reserve, and winger Brad May (eye) and defensemen Rafalski (flu) and Ericsson (flu) are day-to-day.
Stat pack -- Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov was named the NHL's Third Star for the week ending Nov. 1. He posted a 3-0-0 record with a 0.97 goals-against average and .963 save percentage, helping the Sharks climb to first place in Pacific Division. Nabokov stopped 28 shots and five of six shootout attempts in a 2-1 victory against Los Angeles on Oct. 28, made 24 saves in a 3-1 victory against Colorado on Oct. 30, and finished the week with a 25-save effort in a 5-1 victory against Carolina on Nov. 1.
Puck drop -- "When you have done a lot of winning as a coach or a player you have some confidence that you know what should happen. Instead of changing your plan and deviating, you tend to be steady on the rudder and you just keep going." - Detroit coach Mike Babcock on his team's prospects for improved play in November