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Sharks return home to host Red Wings

by Davis Harper

RED WINGS (19-14-10) at SHARKS (27-11-6)


Last 10: Detroit 4-5-1; San Jose 6-4-0

Season series: Logan Couture was the only player to put the puck in the net in the teams' first meeting on Oct. 23 at Joe Louis Arena. He scored in the shootout to give the San Jose Sharks a 1-0 victory against the Detroit Red Wings. The Sharks were held scoreless in regulation for the only time in 44 games.

Big story: When these teams met in October, San Jose was in the midst of a season-opening 8-0-1 run. But many of the key players from that run are on the shelf. Couture (hand surgery) underwent an operation on Wednesday. He joins Tomas Hertl (right-knee surgery), Martin Havlat (lower body) and Tommy Wingels (upper body) on injured reserve.

San Jose remains fourth in the Western Conference with 60 points, but after alternating wins and losses in their past six games the Sharks need to find a spark in their quick two-game homestand against Detroit and the Boston Bruins.

Detroit, which opened a four-game road swing by beating the Dallas Stars 5-1 on Saturday, is also banged up. Stephen Weiss (sports hernia), Darren Helm (shoulder) and Johan Franzen (head) are on IR. Goalie Jonas Gustavsson (groin) will not play. Center Pavel Datsyuk (lower body) didn't play in Dallas and is questionable.

Team Scope:

Red Wings: Has Detroit finally found its offense? After a December in which they scored two or fewer goals seven times in 14 games, the Red Wings scored five times in the win at Dallas.

The Red Wings will need all the offense they can muster as they enter what may be the toughest road stretch of the season, with games against San Jose, the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks, who have six regulation losses among them. The Red Wings have the best road record in the Eastern Conference (13-4-3).

"It's a big challenge, but at the same time a good opportunity for us to get things going," defensemen Niklas Kronwall said Wednesday. "We didn't play great in Dallas but took advantage of our opportunities. Goaltending was great for us. We have to build on that."

Sharks: The Sharks are back home at SAP Center, where they are 15-1-3, after a 3-2 loss at the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.

"I didn't think we were good enough," coach Todd McLellan said of his team's effort. "Over the next little bit, our leadership group has to step up, and that starts with us as coaches. That's where the leadership starts. The four of us are going to have assume a big role and makes sure our team is prepared and ready to play."

Patrick Marleau scored a tip-in goal with 1:22 remaining in regulation, but the Sharks could not get the equalizer despite outshooting the Predators 11-5 in the final period.

Who's hot: Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg has three goals and three assists during a four-game point streak. … Joe Pavelski, named to the U.S. Olympic Team, has three goals and an assist in his past four games.

Injury report: Sharks forward Tyler Kennedy (flu-like symptoms) is questionable. Forwards Adam Burish (lower body) and Raffi Torres (right-knee surgery) are on injured reserve. … Detroit defenseman Danny DeKeyser (lower body) is probable, while defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (broken ribs) will miss 3-5 weeks.

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