For San Jose Sharks fans, Detroit is never just another game. Going back to the franchise’s first playoff run, topped by a seven game victory in the Motor City, Sharks fans have always used Detroit as a measuring stick.
“The guys don’t look at it as of big a deal as the fans, but it is still a big deal,” said Devin Setoguchi. “It’s a big game and we’ll see how we handle it. We know we’ve got to be ready.”
The Sharks players definitely know what the Red Wings represent.
“You’re always up for the defending Stanley Cup champs,” said Dan Boyle
. “Most people are picking them to win it all over again.”
“This is a big test for us,” said McLellan. “We’ll find out where we are at. Their team has improved since the beginning of the year. In my opinion, they are the best team in the NHL.”
The Sharks acknowledge they were more than disappointed in the last matchup, a 6-0 defeat in Michigan.
“They certainly embarrassed us in their building,” said Boyle. “At the end of the day, it is still two points and we have to play better in these kinds of games.”
“It’s another game and another step we need to take,” said Setoguchi.
Sharks defenseman Rob Blake left Thursday’s game in the first period after taking a puck to the face. He went to a treatment facility and the initial reports were positive.
“Rob had the day off,” said McLellan. “He went in last night and they got to rule out a couple of things. If there is more information that is negative, we’ll get it today, but I think he’ll be fine.”
Within the last few weeks, the Sharks have prominently hung a large photo of the Stanley Cup so players can see it on their way out to practice at Sharks Ice at San Jose.
“It’s not just for the players,” said McLellan. “It’s for the staff, the coaches and everyone involved in the organization.”
McLellan had an optional practice for his team on Friday.
The Sharks and Red Wings 7:30 p.m. game on Saturday will be carried on CSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com. Tickets can be found at www.ticketmaster.com or at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office.