| Real test coming this
Pens and Wings will gauge
10/26/08 - By Mike Lee
7-2-0 start this season by the Sharks may have exceeded the expectations of
many, but it's not what you do in October that counts. It's what you do in May
and June. Well, almost. San Jose will get a chance to show the hockey world if
they're for real this week with two big tests. Those tests come in the form of
the two Stanley Cup Finalists from last season, and both are playing on caliber
with their play last spring.
The 5-2-2 Pittsburgh Penguins come to town
on Tuesday night for their only appearance in San Jose this season, followed by
a visit from the defending Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings.
by their budding super stars, Sydney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins
bring the 5th best record in the league and a true test for the Sharks. Malkin
leads the Pens in scoring with 11 points (3 G, 9 A), followed closely by
The tandem have combined for 16 points in their last four
The Sharks recent defensive woes will be put to the test by the
club that is recognized for its offense, but has played well on the defensive
side of the puck this season. Pittsburgh has allowed only 20 goals, which is
7th lowest in the league.
The Pens will also be looking to bounce back
from a 3-2 OT loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday. They will have Joe
Thornton's nemesis Matt Cooke back in the lineup after missing four games due
to injured ribs.
Thornton's former teammate Hall Gill may not see
action against the Sharks, while he deals with an issue with his hand. Gill
injured it while blocking a shot against the Bruins last week.
The Red Wings trail the Sharks by a point for top
record in the west, but more importantly carry the moniker of World Champions
into town. Former Red Wings assistant Todd McLellan now runs the show in San
Jose, so it'll be interesting to see how he prepares his team for the first of
four meetings between the two teams this season.
Detroit plays Anaheim
on Wednesday night, before traveling up the coast to face off against the
Sharks. San Jose fans will not see Red Wings forward Johan Franzen, who injured
his left knee on Saturday.
Franzen collided with Chicago Blackhawks
defenseman Brent Sopel in a knee-on-knee incident that sent the power forward
to the locker room. An MRI on Sunday confirmed that Franzen injured his medial
collateral ligament and will be sidelined 3 to 4 weeks.
new style of play after the Red Wings, Ryane Clowe will get an in-game lesson
from Tomas Holmstrom on crowding the net. The Red Wings are currently riding a
4-game winning streak, which has propelled them to the head of the Central
Division standings. They overcame a 2-goal deficit on Saturday to knock off the
Blackhawks 6-5 at the United Center.
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