Much of the talk in both locker rooms after Tuesday's practices at Joe Louis Arena centered on whether the Red Wings will split up top-line superstars Henrik Zetterberg
and Pavel Datsyuk
or keep them together on the first line.
The Sharks said it doesn't really matter to them, because those two in particular are difficult to defend no matter how they're played.
"They're both high-end players and they're going to try and do different things to try to get a win," Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle
said. "That might be one of those things that we see. I think we feel pretty confident with the six d-men we have back there that we don't have to overthink the matchups and on the forwards side, same thing. We've got some lines that can handle what they do."
Still, Zetterberg and Datsyuk can cause problems in a hurry if the Sharks don't stay as disciplined as they've been in their own zone for the first two games. That, said San Jose's Douglas Murray
, is because the Red Wings' "Big Two" are both gifted with immense hockey intelligence.
"Pick your poison," Murray said. "They're both very skilled players. They might not be very big in stature, but they're strong on pucks and what sets them apart from a lot of people is they're so smart. You can't really defend them the same way all the time, because if you get stuck doing the same thing, they'll find a way to take advantage of it."
The way Murray described what it's like defending them, it sounds similar to the way the guards in the movie "Jurassic Park" tried to cage in the Velociraptors, which kept testing the high-voltage electric fence to see where its weakest points were.
"You almost got to play a little chess game with them, too," Murray said of Zetterberg and Datsyuk. "If you make the first move, they'll counter with something."