Wednesday, February 11, 2004

GameDay: vs. San Jose (26-14-11-5, 68) 7:30 EST

Tonight is the third of four games between the Wings and the Sharks this season. The teams split the first two meetings with the Wings winning the first 3-2 and the Sharks winning the second 2-1. Before the break, the Wings came back to beat Colorado 3-2 in overtime after going down 2-0 in the first two minutes of the game. They are 3-0-2 in their last five games and 8-3-4-1 in their last 16. The Wings trail Colorado by two points for the Western Conference lead and have a solid eight point lead in the Central Division over the Nashville Predators. The Sharks are coming off a 2-1 loss to the Sabres on Tuesday and will be looking to avoid consecutive losses in regulation, something they haven't done since late October. The game in Buffalo was the beginning of a six-game road trip for the Sharks who lead Dallas by five points for the Pacific Division lead. Evigni Nabokov has played very well lately, posting two consecutive shutouts before his 33-save effort on Tuesday night. Curtis Joseph will get the start tonight and will play his first game as the official #1 goalie for the Wings, who are done with Hasek forever now. The Captain will play tonight, as expected. He will wear a partial mask in an effort to protect his teeth, which now have braces on them. He has no hard feelings towards Foote, however, and that will likely diffuse the situation on Saturday. This shouldn't be too tough a game for the Wings to win. The Sharks have been playing well lately but the Wings are the better team. They just need to play their game and not come out thinking San Jose will just roll over and give up. They are 21-2-1 all time against the Sharks at the Joe and if they take the game seriously, they should be able to improve that record. This is where they need to start playing for Curtis Joseph and it's time for them to get serious going down the stretch to the playoffs. Every one of these games are important and they'll want the momentum going in to Saturday's game. ESPN


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