The San Jose Sharks (26-16-7, 2nd Pacific) will pay their first visit to Little Caesar's Arena (yes, that is its real name), hoping a game against the foundering Detroit Red Wings (19-21-8, 5th Atlantic) can boost their confidence and end a three game losing streak. The Wings have had rotten luck at the Pizza Palace lately: they've lost their last five at home. Still, any time the boys play the second half of a back to back series on the road, fatigue is no small cause for concern.
The Sharks handed the Pittsburgh Penguins two points last night in a 5-2 win, along with giving Evgeni Malkin two thirds of his hat trick, in a game where they out shot the defending champs 42-31. Egregious giveaways by Brent Burns and Martin Jones led to Malkin's first two goals, the latter of which would stand as the game winner. If the Sharks can get their wits about them after that reality check, they stand a chance of taking two points home tonight.
San Jose is not the only team in this game coming off of a deflating loss where they allowed a hat trick: Detroit's 5-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks before the all star break featured a three goal performance from Alex DeBrincat. Petr Mrazek came in in relief of Jimmy Howard just under nine minutes in, but the damage was done. Mrazek is having a bit of a resurgence in the past few weeks: in his last four games, including three starts, he's compiled a record of 2-0-1, a 1.05 goals against average, and a .965 save percentage. Along with back to back shutouts over the Hawks and New Jersey Devils, his is the hot hand, and the Sharks' scoring depth will be tested tonight.
The continued mediocrity of the Calgary Flames, including a brutal regulation loss in the final two minutes to the Vegas Golden Knights last night, has helped the Sharks cling to second place in their division during these troubling times, but the gap is narrowing. San Jose has spent up almost all of their games in hand, and their second place perch is only two points out of fifth. They'll need to start cleaning it up, and soon, if they want to push their tee times out into April.
Tomas Hertl -- Logan Couture -- Kevin Labanc
Mikkel Boedker -- Chris Tierney -- Joe Pavelski
Melker Karlsson -- Daniel O'Regan -- Joonas Donskoi
Marcus Sorensen -- Barclay Goodrow -- Joel Ward
Brent Burns -- Joakim Ryan
Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon -- Dylan DeMelo
Scratched: Jannik Hansen, Tim Heed
Injured: Joe Thornton (knee), Timo Meier (undisclosed)
The Sharks had no morning skate today, presumably to rest up after travelling, so these lines are an estimate and are subject to change. If recent history is any indication, that change could be pretty drastic.
Red Wings Lines
Anthony Mantha -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Gustav Nyquist
Tyler Bertuzzi -- Dylan Larkin -- Andreas Athanasiou
Darren Helm -- Frans Nielsen -- Tomas Tatar
Martin Frk -- Luke Glendening -- Justin Abdelkader
Jonathan Ericsson -- Trevor Daley
Niklas Kronwall -- Mike Green
Danny DeKeyser -- Nick Jensen
Scratched: David Booth, Luke Witkowski, Xavier Ouellet
The Wings will be getting Helm, Abdelkader, and Daley all back after missing time before the All-Star break, so they'll be extra rested, putting even more pressure on the Sharks to play a structured and disciplined game.
Where to watch
Broadcast: NBCSCA, FS-D
Stream: NHL.tv / NHL App
Radio: 98.5 KFOX / NHL App / Sharks App