NHL

Sharks-Red Wings Preview

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The Detroit Red Wings know they must be better defensively, especially with the San Jose Sharks coming to town.

The Sharks are the only team without a regulation loss, and the league's highest-scoring club begins a five-game trip Monday night in Detroit.

Detroit (6-3-0) had a four-game win streak snapped with Saturday's 5-2 loss at Phoenix. The shots finished even at 33 apiece after the Red Wings had been outshot in their previous six games.

"It's kind of been coming," coach Mike Babcock said. "We've been getting outshot, we've been getting outshot, we've been getting outshot. You give up too many chances, you get outshot pretty soon you'll lose so let's regroup and get back at it."

Getting back at it against a San Jose team that has totaled an NHL-best 39 goals and among the league leaders with 11 on the power play won't be easy. The Sharks (7-0-1) already have five skaters with at least 10 points, and matched a season high with three power-play goals in Saturday's 6-3 home win over Calgary.

Joe Pavelski had a season-high four points to take his team-leading total to 12 as the Sharks improved to 5-0-0 at home.

"We have a great comfort level here," captain Joe Thornton said. "We come out strong, heavy and jump on teams. We're aggressive from the drop of the puck."

Now the Sharks figure to be tested on this 10-day road swing after they went 2-0-1 against the Red Wings last season.

"I don't believe in carrying in momentum from game to game, I believe you have to re-establish it night in and night out," coach Todd McLellan said. "We're going into a building to start with that is a tough place to play and they're playing some good hockey right now. And we'll take that game first and we'll worry about the rest of it as we go."

Babcock may be looking to split up linemates Henrik Zetterberg and Daniel Alfredsson, who have combined for 20 points. The coach felt the rest of his team didn't perform well Saturday aside from those two and Pavel Datsyuk, who has nine points during a five-game run.

"I (had) Z and Alfy together and I probably can't do that, I gotta spread it out a little bit more because we don't have enough other pieces going," Babcock said.

Defenseman Niklas Kronwall didn't play after sustaining a concussion from a hard hit Thursday at Colorado. Kronwall's streak of 138 straight games came to an end, and he is listed as day-to-day.

While Detroit is allowing opponents to average an alarmingly high 32.7 shots, San Jose is second in the NHL in that department at 23.9. Antti Niemi has posted a 1.86 goals-against average while starting every game.

The Red Wings will be wary of Thornton, who has 18 points in a 13-game run in the regular season against them.

Tagged: Red Wings, Sharks, Joe Thornton

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