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Wings' thoughts turn toward a showdown with Sharks

by Brian Compton
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Detroit Red Wings passed an enormous first test in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The second one will be even bigger.
By eliminating the Phoenix Coyotes with a 6-1 win at Arena on Tuesday night, the Red Wings earned a trip to San Jose, where they'll face the top-seeded Sharks in the Western Conference Semifinals.
Guided by former Red Wings assistant Todd McLellan, the Sharks won 51 games and racked up 113 points to earn the No. 1 seed in the West. San Jose disposed of the Colorado Avalanche in six games in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The series will begin at HP Pavilion at a date and time yet to be determined. Whenever it does start, the Wings vow to be ready.
"It's real better than the challenge of not playing," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said of facing San Jose. "We're thrilled to have the opportunity. Todd will have them really well prepared. We'll be prepared, too."
San Jose hasn't played since it eliminated the Avs with a 5-2 win at Colorado last Saturday. It took roughly 72 hours to find out who its opponent was going to be in Round 2.
"It's a little funny at practice because we've been doing different systems for different teams," forward Scott Nichol told the Sharks' Web site. "It is nice to know who we are playing."
The teams faced each other four times during the 2009-10 regular season. Detroit won the first three before San Jose salvaged the final meeting with a 3-2 shootout victory at Joe Louis Arena on Feb. 11, when Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov made 50 saves.
"They play a similar style to us," Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg said. "We've been facing them a lot in the last few years in the playoffs. It's usually a really good series. It's well-played hockey and it's exciting for the fans. We're going to enjoy this tonight and refocus and regroup tomorrow."
Perhaps that's when the teams will find out when Game 1 will take place? While the Red Wings just completed a rigorous seven-game series, it seems the sooner Round 2 begins, the better.
"A short turnaround is always nice," Zetterberg said. "We'll get right back at it."
Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
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