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Sharks v Red Wings - 2011 Stanley Cup Conference Semifinals

Sharks' Clowe to be a game-time decision

Eric Gilmore - NHL.com Correspondent

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- All eyes were on injured Sharks forward Ryane Clowe during Thursday's optional skate here at HP Pavilion, but the "Clowe Watch" will continue until the puck drops Thursday night for Game 7 against the Detroit Red Wings (9 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN, RDS).

Clowe missed Game 6 at Detroit with an upper-body injury and hadn't been on the ice since Game 5 in San Jose.

"Game-time decision," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said of Clowe. "He's feeling pretty good."

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Franzen a game-time decision for Red Wings

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Johan Franzen is showing his stubborn side, doing everything he can to get back in the lineup for the Detroit Red Wings.

Franzen, nicknamed "The Mule," took part in Thursday's morning skate here at HP Pavilion after an ankle injury sidelined him for Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Sharks. Franzen appeared to have to more mobility and less pain in his injured ankle, turning and stopping with less effort.

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said Franzen will be a game-time decision for Game 7 Thursday (9 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN, RDS) against the Sharks.

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Clowe, Franzen game-time decisions

NHL.com

Question marks are hanging over two key power forwards heading into Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinal series between the Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks (9 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN, RDS).

Sharks forward Ryane Clowe, who sat out Game 6 with an upper-body injury, took part in Thursday's morning skate, and has been ruled a game-time decision. He was on the ice for about 20 minutes, skating with assistant coach Jay Woodcroft.
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Game 7 heightens Sharks-Wings playoff rivalry

David Kalan - NHL.com Staff Writer

In more than a cursory glance of recent NHL history, you'd be hard-pressed to find two franchises that have known more regular season success than Detroit and San Jose. The Sharks, who won their fourth consecutive Pacific Division title this season, have missed the playoffs just once since 1998, while the Wings, they of the four Stanley Cups since 1997, are well-documented as the sport's most decorated team since Gretzky's Oilers.

But with the two franchises facing off in what is certain to be a historic Game 7 in San Jose, Thursday could very well be the next chapter in what is developing into one of the League's best postseason rivalries. Because Detroit and San Jose play in different divisions, regular-season and geographic tension hasn't built on the same level it might between the Red Wings and Blackhawks. However, with the Wings and Sharks meeting for the third time in the past five postseasons, there is evidence familiarity is starting to breed contempt.

Given the remarkable nature of tonight's Game 7, in which the Red Wings will attempt to become the fourth team in NHL history to rally from a 3-0 series deficit to win, this rivalry is certain to take on a higher stature in League lore. Detroit and San Jose have already combined for their fair share of big moments in five postseason meetings stretching back nearly two decades, including, most prominently, one of the greatest upsets in League history in 1994.
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Sharks look for a Game 7 hero

Eric Gilmore - NHL.com Correspondent

SAN JOSE,Calif. -- The Sharks are looking for a hero to emerge Thursday night in Game 7 of their Western Conference semifinals series against Detroit,but at this point they don't know if forward Ryane Clowe will even be a candidate.

Clowe,the team's leading scorer in the playoffs with 13 points,missed Game 6 at Detroit with an upper-body injury and was not on the ice when the Sharks held a brief practice Wednesday afternoon. Coach Todd McLellan said Clowe was "better today" and will be a game-time decision.

"He was at the rink,he had a treatment,he went home. He'll skate in the morning and if he can play,he'll play," McLellan said.
 
The Sharks certainly could have used Clowe on Tuesday night at Joe Louis Arena when they were outshot 45-25 in a 3-1 loss.
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Six players who could be heroes in Game 7

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- It seems that Game 7s usually don't remind us who the heroes are, but instead create new ones.

Stephane Matteau, Maxime Talbot and Michael Rupp all emerged in Stanley Cup Finals. Sean Bergenheim scored the winner against the Penguins this year in the first round. Even Cam Ward's entire 2006 postseason qualifies. There's an endless supply of players who became household names thanks to a surprisingly big performance in a do-or-die contest, no matter what round.

With the Sharks and Red Wings set to play the fifth Game 7 of this year's postseason, it's another opportunity for a lesser-known player to be forever remembered by fans.
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Thornton: Sharks are confident going into Game 7

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- If you believe Sharks captain Joe Thornton, confidence in San Jose’s locker room is as high as it can be.

That's a bold statement, considering the Sharks have dropped three straight to the Detroit Red Wings after jumping to a 3-0 series lead in their best-of-seven Western Conference Semifinal. The Sharks have squandered third-period leads in the past two games, setting up Thursday night's Game 7 at HP Pavilion.

The Sharks' power play has vanished during the three losses, going 0-for-10 on the power play during the skid. 
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Red Wings have Game 7 experience on Sharks

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

DETROIT -- When it comes to Game 7 experience, the numbers for the Detroit Red Wings are staggering.

Not counting inactive veteran goalie Chris Osgood -- who has played six Game 7s in his career -- the Red Wings have a combined 77 Game 7s under their belt spread among 21 players.

That's nearly twice as many players with Game 7 experience as the San Jose Sharks (11), whom the Red Wings will play Thursday at HP Pavilion (9 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN, RDS) in the deciding game of a Western Conference Semifinal series that's knotted 3-3 after Detroit stormed back from a 0-3 deficit.

"Everything is thrown out now," said Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi, who has 2 goals in three career Game 7s. "It's just one game and winner takes all. I like where we're at."
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Focus doesn't change for Red Wings

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

"You can't think about (making history). Your focus has got to be the same approach we had in the last three games. We're one win away from moving on, but we're also one loss away from not playing anymore in the playoffs. We know what's at stake, so our approach is going to be the same as the last three games." -- Nicklas Lidstrom

DETROIT -- Jimmy Howard lost his train of thought thanks to a compliment paid by none other than Mr. Hockey himself, Gordie Howe.

"Forwards hate this guy," Howe told a reporter interviewing Howard on Tuesday inside the Red Wings' locker room after Detroit's 3-1 win in Game 6 of their Western Conference Semifinal series against the San Jose Sharks.

Not long afterward, legendary veteran teammates and future Hall of Famers Nicklas Lidstrom and Mike Modano shared a smile, a high five and mini-chest bump after Modano's first appearance in what's been a memorable series for the Wings, who have overcome long odds to even up a series the Sharks once led 3-0.

"Hey, nice game," Lidstrom said, patting Modano on the back.

"You, too," Modano replied.

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Niemi's superb effort not enough for Sharks

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

DETROIT – Antti Niemi all but had the leather gloves on while doing his best impersonation of a cat burglar evading laser alarm triggers in a museum.

The San Jose Sharks goalie was leading his team toward a second theft of a road game in which they were being outplayed in this Western Conference Semifinal series against the Detroit Red Wings. After two periods – including a wild first period when Detroit outshot San Jose 18-6 – Niemi had stopped all 32 shots he faced.

He then continued to turn away shots in the first half of the third, with the Sharks clinging to a slim 1-0 lead, before he tripped one of those alarms and set off a Red Wings' outburst. Henrik Zetterberg tipped in a goal to tie 1-1, Valtteri Filppula followed it up thanks to a pinpoint pass by Pavel Datsyuk and Detroit was on its way to forcing an improbable Game 7 on Thursday in San Jose.

Still, the play of Niemi was one of the few bright spots the Sharks could look back upon after the final horn sounded.
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Quote of the Day

Just the feel for the direction they were headed and what they're trying to do, it just felt that this is a really good thing for this organization. They've got the pieces. We can put something together and go on a run or two and be together for a while, and I'm really excited about that opportunity. The team we have here has an opportunity to win, and that's the most attractive thing.

— Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen on why he decided to sign with the Capitals