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Sharks Gameday: Winged Wheel Keep On Turnin', Proud Organization Keep On Burnin'

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7:30 PST
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26-19-10, 62 points 36-10-9, 81 points
8th in Western Conference
1st in Western Conference
Television
CSN-CA (HD)
Radio
98.5 KFOX, Sjsharks.com
Antagonists
Winging It In Motown
Abel To Yzerman

Rolling, rolling, rolling on the playoff river.

As we mentioned in December, the Red Wings have been racked with injuries this season, playing a large part in why they've toiled on the playoff bubble for the better part of the year. Unfortunately, for fourteen other teams in the Western Conference at least, things look to be headed in the right direction for Detroit.

Tomas Holmstrom reports back for duty tonight, immediately improving a powerplay that has seen an unprecedented lack of production compared to recent seasons. Detroit ranked third in 2008 and first in 2009, falling to nineteenth in 2010 where they've cashed in at a mediocre 17.6% clip. Holmstrom's presence can only help in this department; coupled with the news that Marc-Edouard Vlasic is still not practicing (Dan Boyle questionable), a Sharks defensive unit that managed to hold the Minnesota Wild to two goals on Saturday will have a much more difficult time dealing with bodies in the crease.

If there's a way to beat Nabokov right now it's by restricting his sight line to the puck. No one better in the league at that than Holmstrom. And if there's a way to expose the San Jose blueline right now, especially without their two best defenseman, it's to force them to become consumed with keeping Holmstrom out of that sight line. He has a knack for forcing blown assignments and accidental screens. That's something a big body like Douglas Murray can take care of. We'll see if the likes of Jason Demers and Kent Huskins can do so as well.

Although Detroit has gone 3-3-4 in their last ten, you have to assume it's only a matter of time before the players that have been out for so long start to re-acclimate with their teammates. Franzen still sits on the bench with a torn ACL, but is scheduled to return sometime in the next seven days. That's another important piece that sends the message that the Wings shouldn't be counted out quite yet, and I still think they'll find themselves in a mid-level playoff spot when the dust finally settles.

Better than a bottom-two seed, to be certain.

Preduction: Sharks win 3-2. Goals by Clowe, Marleau, and Pavelski. I rushed this post faster than your first time with a woman.

 

Go Sharks.