The Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks will meet in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the second straight season. It will also be the fifth time these two Western Conference foes have met in the postseason.
Sports Club owner Pete Korner, who disseminates the betting line for the majority of Nevada sports books monitored by Don Best Sports’ Real-Time Odds, has installed San Jose as a slight 115 series favorite. The Red Wings are plus 105.
Friday’s Game 1 finds the Sharks opening as 125 home favorites, with the total set at 5 ½ ‘over’ (minus 115). The puck drops from San Jose’s HP Pavilion at 7:05 p.m. (PT), with the Versus network providing
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San Jose eliminated Detroit in five games during last season’s quarterfinal series. Prior to last year, the Wings had defeated the Sharks the last two times they faced in the conference semifinals, beating them in four straight in 1995 and in six games during the 2007 campaign.
The Wings will follow the same playoff script as last year when they opened the postseason against Phoenix. Detroit needed seven games to eliminate the Coyotes last season, but the club managed to sweep the Coyotes with four consecutive wins this year. All four games against Phoenix skipped ‘over’ the closing total.
Detroit’s first-round sweep set up a lengthy nine-day rest period before heading off to San Jose. It also allowed the Red Wings to welcome Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen back into the lineup.
Zetterberg, the team’s leader in points during the regular season, missed the entire first round with a sprained knee. Franzen, the club’s leading goal scorer, missed the last two outings with an ankle injury.
The Don Best Sports injury report lists both Detroit forwards as “probable” for Friday’s Game 1.
It took three overtime wins and a memorable comeback for the San Jose Sharks to get past a short-handed Los Angeles Kings team in six games during the first round of the playoffs. The ‘over’ went 3-2-1 in the series overall and 3-1 in the last four matchups.
San Jose had a day off Tuesday following the 4-3 overtime win in Game 6 the previous night in Los Angeles. The Sharks had to kill a five-minute major penalty just before Joe Thornton scored the game-winner. That followed overtime wins in Game 1 at home and Game 3 in Los Angeles. That allowed the Sharks to become the fourth team to prevail after having a four-goal deficit to win a playoff game.
There were some issues that arose in the first round that San Jose must solve. The Sharks were outscored 8-1 in the opening period by a Kings team missing leading scorer Anze Kopitar all series.
Starting goalie Antti Niemi got pulled twice in a three-game span and had a bloated 4.00 GAA and an .863 save percentage for the series.
The power play, which was the second-most effective in the regular season, managed just two goals in 23 chances against Los Angeles. Both power play tallies were scored by the second unit.
There were also some positive points for the Sharks during the opening round. Each of the top three lines scored at least five goals, led by the eight from Logan Couture, Dany Heatley and Ryane Clowe.
The defense also got into the action with two goals and 14 assists in the series, giving the Sharks plenty of scoring options even if the opposition takes out Joe Thornton's top line.
San Jose captured three of the four regular season matchups against Detroit, with the ‘over’ also going 3-1.
The Sharks had little trouble with the Wings at Joe Louis Arena, registering wins of 5-2 and 3-1. The club’s split at HP Pavilion, with the Wings winning 5-3 on Nov. 30 and the Sharks winning 3-1 on March 3.