Wings Head Out West

The last time the Detroit Red Wings played in San Jose, they ended the Sharks' Stanley Cup hopes.

The two teams meet for the first time since last season's Western Conference semifinals on Thursday night at HP Pavilion.

Though San Jose went 3-1-0 in the season series against the Red Wings in 2006-07, Detroit rallied from a 2-1 deficit in the playoffs with three straight victories, highlighted by a 2-0 road win in Game 6.

Through two weeks of the 2007-08 season, both are again among the top teams in the West.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made San Jose -130 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 50% of bets for this game have been placed on San Jose -130 (View NHL Bet Percentages).

Detroit (4-2-1) looks to bounce back from a 6-3 loss at Anaheim on Monday as it plays the third of a four-game road trip that started with a 4-1 victory over Los Angeles.

The Red Wings allowed their most goals in a game so far this season, and were whistled for 13 of the game's 24 penalties. Detroit had of the eight penalties called in the win over the Kings.

"There seem to have been a lot of penalties in the last two games, for some reason. I really don't know why, but we've been on the short end of it,'' said Brian Rafalski, who had a power-play goal against the Ducks.

Henrik Zetterberg scored his fifth goal and ties Colorado's Paul Stastny for the league lead with 13 points. Zetterberg, who had two goals and three assists against the Sharks in the playoffs, looks to extend his goal-scoring streak to five games.

Teammate Kris Draper, meanwhile, will try to score in his sixth straight game. He tallied just 14 in 81 games last season, but none against the Sharks.

Six-time Vezina Trophy winner Dominik Hasek made 23 saves versus Anaheim and has lost his last two starts. Though he posted a 1.45 goals-against average against San Jose in the playoffs, he allowed nine goals in two regular-season games against the Sharks, including eight in a 9-4 loss on Jan. 4.

San Jose (3-2-1) will play just its second home game Thursday, and looks to build off a 4-2 victory on Monday at Vancouver.

The Sharks, who were tied for third in the conference with 258 goals last season, enjoyed their most productive offensive showing after averaging two goals in their first five games.

Leading scorer Joe Thornton had a goal and two assists, while linemate Jonathan Cheechoo had a goal and assist for his first points after leading the team with 37 goals in 2006-07.

"We thought we were close to breaking through,'' Thornton said. "We were just throwing pucks at the net and working hard and getting chances.''

Thornton, who led San Jose with 114 points last season, has four points in his last two contests and had six assists last regular season versus Detroit.

"In the third period, Joe Thornton was a force, and when he starts playing like that, it's easy to be on a line with him and it's hard to play against him," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said.

Evgeni Nabokov had 24 saves against the Canucks. He allowed five goals in two regular season starts against the Red Wings in 2006-07.

by: AP Staff Writers - Email Us

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