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Wings, Sharks renew playoff rivalry

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT -- The postseason deja vu continues for the Red Wings who learned early Wednesday morning that they will face the San Jose Sharks in the upcoming Western Conference semifinals in the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Sharks eliminated the Wings last May in the conference semis, doing so in five games.

For the second straight round, the Wings will follow the same playoff script as last year when they opened the postseason against Phoenix. Last year, they knocked off the Coyotes in seven games. This time, Detroit managed to sweep the Coyotes with four consecutive wins, setting up a lengthy rest period before heading off to San Jose, where Games 1 and 2 will take place this weekend.

This series will mark the fifth time that these two franchises will meet in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Prior to last year, the Wings had defeated the Sharks the last two times they faced in the conference semifinals, beating them in four straight in 1995 and in six games in 2007.

The Sharks' first-ever playoff series win came in their first-ever playoff series in 1994. Pitted against the highly favored Red Wings, the underdog Sharks pulled out a 3-2 win in Game 7 at Joe Louis Arena.

This season, the Red Wings finished with a 1-3-0 record against the Sharks, who out-scored Detroit, 15-11, in four games. The Wings' win came back in November when Patrick Eaves scored the game-winner with 11-seconds remaining in the second period and Jimmy Howard made 25 saves.

Here is how the Wings fared against the Sharks in the regular-season:

Nov. 30, 2010 at HP Pavilion
Red Wings 5, Sharks 3

Dec. 6, 2010 at Joe Louis Arena
Sharks 5, Red Wings 2

Feb. 22, 2011 at Joe Louis Arena
Sharks 4, Red Wings 3

March 3, 2011 at HP Pavilion
Sharks 3, Red WIngs 1

SWEPT AWAY: Since 1967, the Red Wings are 2-2 in playoff series that immediately followed Round 1 sweeps.

In their two Round 2 series wins, the Red Wings defeated Toronto (in 1987) and Anaheim (2009), but were pushed to seven games in both cases.

Detroit started out well in 1999 and 2000 with opening round sweeps of Anaheim and the Los Angeles Kings, but didn't do well enough in Round 2 series losses to Colorado both years.

Since the NHL's expansion in 1967, here's a look at the Wings' record in the best-of-seven Round 2 on a game-by-game basis:

Round 2 Appearances (1967-2010)

Game 1 – 9-7
Game 2 – 12-4
Game 3 – 6-10
Game 4 – 10-6
Game 5 – 5-8
Game 6 – 5-3
Game 7 – 3-1

Here is a complete schedule of the Red Wings-Sharks series. A complete broadcast schedule will be released shortly.

Game                 Date                                Time                      Venue        
Game 1                Friday, April 29                  10 P.M.                  HP Pavilion                  
Game 2                Sunday, May 1                     3 P.M.                  HP Pavilion                  
Game 3                Wednesday, May 4              8 P.M.                  Joe Louis Arena
Game 4                Friday, May 6                       7 P.M.                  Joe Louis Arena
Game 5*              Sunday, May 8                      8 P.M.                  HP Pavilion
Game 6*              Tuesday, May 10                     TBD                  Joe Louis Arena
Game 7*              Thursday, May 12                    TBD                  HP Pavilion


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