It’s official, the 2011 Sharks Playoffs, presented by El Camino Hospital, will see a visit from the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit became the Sharks second round opponent due to the Vancouver Canucks victory against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Last year the Sharks dispatched the Red Wings in five games in the conference semifinals in moving to the Western Conference Final. They will have to take the same path to reach the Western Conference Final in 2011.
During the regular season, the Sharks captured three of four games against Detroit.
On November 30, Detroit won the season opener between the two by capturing a 5-3 decision at HP Pavilion. Jimmy Howard bested Antero Niittymaki that day.
In the first game at Joe Louis Arena on December 6, San Jose earned the first of three consecutive wins against their Western Conference rival as they came out on top 5-2. Antti Niemi
toppled Howard between the pipes.
In the return match in the Motor City, Team Teal brought home a 4-3 win. This was another victory for Niemi against Howard in what likely would be the playoff goaltending scenario.
The fourth and final matchup was at HP Pavilion and the Sharks against prevailed, this time 3-1. This time Niemi was victorious against Joey MacDonald.
Offensively, San Jose scored 15 goals in the four games and they were paced by Dany Heatley who scored four goals against the Wings. Ryane Clowe
, Joe Thornton
, Devin Setoguchi and Logan Couture
contributed two goals apiece.
Detroit on the other hand was led by Danny Cleary and Henrik Zetterberg who each contributed three goals in the series. Tomas Holmstrom found two other tallies.
The NHL will be releasing the second round playoff schedule as soon as possible and the Sharks television schedule will follow.