It feels like nothing can go right for this Sharks team lately. They’re rolling into Detroit tonight with a three-game losing streak. The loss of Joe Thronton to a knee injury has been noticeable. Last night in Pittsburgh, we saw some interesting line changes. Logan Couture was centering the first line alongside Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc. Chris Tierney took on the center role on the second line, with Mikkel Boedker and Joe Pavelski as his linemates. The third line consisted of Tomas Hertl at center, with Joonas Donskoi and Melker Karlsson on the wing.
The changes in the lines to try to remedy the very noticeable missing pieces left behind without veteran Sharks Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau were fairly ineffective. The Sharks fell 5-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Luckily, Martin Jones returned from injury, which at least meant the Sharks were also missing their starting goaltender. Unfortunately, he made an error that would lead to a go-ahead goal for the Pens. The third period got even more ugly, leading to the demise of the Sharks.
The last time the Sharks saw the Red Wings it was a favorable one for San Jose, taking a 6-3 victory. Goals were scored by Donskoi, Boedker, and Pavelski. Detroit saw goals from Thomas Vanek, Anthony Mantha, and Andreas Athanasiou.
The Detroit Red Wings are currently sitting fifth in the Atlantic Division with a 19-21-8 record. They’re coming off two losses to the Philadelphia Flyers and the Chicago Blackhawks. They were able to hold off the Flyers, but then fell 3-2 in overtime. As for the Chicago game, they were blown out 5-1 on Thursday before the All-Star break. The Red Wings coming off a similar situation as the Sharks means both teams will be out for blood. It’ll be a fun one.
Anthony Mantha, who had a goal in the last meeting with San Jose, leads the Red Wings in goals with 16. Dylan Larkin has the most points with 38. Goalie Jimmy Howard has 14 wins on the season with a. 911 save percentage.
Can the Sharks bounce back?
It has been a challenging month for the Sharks. Although we’ve seen some losses and have dealt with injuries to key players like Martin Jones and Joe Thornton, the Sharks haven’t looked that bad. They’re still sitting in a playoff spot, second overall in the Pacific division. The Red Wings haven’t been doing too hot, and this could be the game to end their losing streak.
Can the Sharks produce some goals?
Defense has been an issue for the Sharks all season, but with key offensive producer Joe Thornton out indefinitely, and the Sharks only netting two goals last night against Pittsburgh, it’s a fair question to ask. The Sharks’ offense, led by Logan Couture on the first line, could really shine tonight. The two goalies for the Red Wings have 21 losses on the season combined. Their point producers could make a big difference in tonight’s match up.
Can the Sharks back end fend off Detroit’s young guns?
The Red Wings have a strong base of veterans with Henrik Zetterberg and Mike Green, but the young guys have been stealing the show. 21-year-old Dylan Larkin leads the team in assists with 30, topping that off with eight goals. 23-year-old Anthony Mantha leads the team in goals, netting in 16 compared to Zetterberg’s six. Joe Hicketts, a Grand Rapids native and highly anticipated newcomer, made his NHL debut last week against the New Jersey Devils, racking up 15 minutes of ice time. He blocked three shots and made one hit. The young guys are definitely the ones to watch on this Detroit team.
Bold prediction: Logan Couture will have a three-point game, and the Sharks will beat the Red Wings 5-0. They deserve it, okay?
Be sure to check back later for our game day thread! If you have a bold prediction, leave it in the comments below!