The San Jose Sharks renew the top non-Pacific Division rivalry that realignment might eventually erode from their brief history. For now, this is just the first year the Detroit Red Wings are in the Eastern Conference and the two teams should have plenty of intensity Thursday, January 9.
The Sharks will be without Logan Couture and up to six other forwards, but three of them were not playing in the first contest. Moreover, Dan Boyle and Brent Burns are healthy but were unavailable for that game.
Couture had the only shot to beat a goalie that night, and it came in the shootout. Neither goalie has been playing well lately, but the Red Wings were struggling offensively until a five-goal outburst in their last game. They will also be missing at least four players for this game.
San Jose has absolutely owned this series in recent years, with 18 wins in the last 24 contests including two Western Conference semifinals. Home-ice advantage has not meant much outside of those Stanley Cup games when three of Detroit's four wins came at home, while two of three regular season wins actually came at the Shark Tank.
Nevertheless, the Sharks have been especially hot at home. They have just one regulation loss all season, and their only blemish in 11 home games since is a shootout loss to the New York Islanders. They stand in second place in the Pacific Division, four games behind the Anaheim Ducks but just 1.5 games ahead of the Los Angeles Kings.
The Red Wings are a much-better road team than home: 13-4-3 is tied for best in the NHL. They have half a game lead on the other wild card team in the Eastern Conference, with a one game lead on the first team currently out of the Stanley Cup playoff picture that requires teams to be two games better in the Western Conference.