Monday, October 17, 2005

GameDay: vs. San Jose (3-2-0, 6 Pts) 7:30 ET

Tonight is the first of four games between these two teams this season. They split the season series 2-2 in 2003-2004, with the Sharks winning their last meeting 5-2. The Wings have won their last two and are 5-1-0 so far this season. They are coming off a 2-0 win in Phoenix Saturday night that capped off a short two-game road trip. The Wings are still the second highest scoring team in the league with 24 goals in six games. Only Toronto has scored more, with 27 in six. The Sharks are riding a 3-game winning streak, a rebound from losing their first two games of the season. The lost their opener in Nashville, 3-2, and then at Chicago 6-3. They then headed to St. Louis and won 7-6. Their next two games were at home, a 4-1 win over Columbus and a 4-3 win over Chicago. Now, they are on the road for six games. They too have a high scoring offense, with 20 goals in six games, and they will give the Wings' defense a good test. Manny Legace will probably get the start for the Wings, though Babcock did mention the possibility of giving him a rest and starting Jimmy Howard for either the Phoenix game or tonight. Evgeni Nabokov will get the start for the Sharks. ... It looks like Steve Yzerman re-aggravated his groin injury while on the road trip. The Wings will not know more about his status until today, the papers are reporting, but I would not be surprised if he were to sit this game out. It doesn't make sense to make it worse and, with the next game coming Friday, he'll get a few more days than is usual between games to give it a rest. The Freep says it may have been due to the bad ice in LA and Phoenix, which made it harder to skate. Whatever caused it, it's a disappointment. Babcock told the Free Press, "He's just so" ticked "off he can't talk." If Yzerman does not play tonight, Mark Mowers will be plugged into the lineup to replace him. Let's hope The Captain can get this injury taken care of now so that it's not a concern as the season goes on. Update (1:41 PM): TSN confirms that Yzerman will sit the game out tonight. ... Injured goalie Chris Osgood is scheduled to head to Grand Rapids this week in order to get some playing time in before returning to the lineup with the Wings. He will play Wednesday night in San Antonio, at least, and maybe in one of the two games that follow (Friday at the Houston Aeros or Saturday versus the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights). He will likely return to the main roster for Monday's game in Columbus. (Freep) ... It should be a good game tonight. Both teams can score and both have good goalies. Sharks head coach Ron Wilson expressed some concern after their last game about his team's ability to move the puck quickly against a "pressure team," but I'm sure they've worked on that. The Wings' defense will have to play well tonight and we'll need to get solid, sharp play from our forwards in the offensive zone as well. No more soft passes. It will not be easy to score on Nabokov so they'll need to take advantage of the chances they get. Update (1:12 PM): Be sure to read Jes Golbez's exceptional 11th Carnival of the NHL. It'll be a tough act for anyone to follow. The bar continues to be set higher and higher.


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