NHL Playoff Preview: Western Conference Semifinals San Jose Sharks vs. Detroit Red Wings


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The 2011 Kentucky Derby betting is heating up just as the Detroit Red Wings are cooling down. Any sportsbook promo expert will tell you that this Red Wings team just does not look at all like the Cup wining teams in the Red Wings’ history. This team is either too old, or too young. By the time the youngsters reach their prime, the veterans will be gone. The 5dimes reviews of the first two games of this series show a Detroit team that cannot dominate the middle of the ice like they used to, and a Detroit team that is consistently losing races to the puck. The Detroit defense is old and slow, and none of the factors that have led to a Stanley Cup championship in the past are in place.

The San Jose Sharks are taking every opportunity to get under the Red Wings’ skin. From spraying snow at goaltender Jimmy Howard to pushes in the back after the whistle, the Sharks are showing signs of that confidence and swagger that the Red Wings used to be famous for. The Sharks are winning battles in the corners and keeping the Red Wings out from in front of the net. On the rare occasion that San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi is screened on a shot, he seems to be unaffected by it. This looks like a San Jose versus Detroit series, but the roles are reversed from previous years.

Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings are relying too much on goaltender Jimmy Howard. The defensemen are so used to getting up into the offensive play, that they are leaving Howard exposed to odd-man rushes and breakaways. Howard is simply not that good. He is not Dominic Hasek or Chris Osgood, and he cannot hold down the defensive zone play by himself. The Red Wings are going to have to collapse in around Howard to have a chance at coming back in this series. But that is just not the way that this veteran team plays hockey, and you can’t teach an old dog new tricks this late in the game.

San Jose Sharks

When the season started, the Sharks looked disorganized and goaltender Antti Niemi looked like he was going to be the biggest bust in San Jose history. But Niemi is a playoff goaltender, just like Billy Smith and Grant Fuhr used to be. In the regular season, Niemi is an average goalie at best. But when the playoffs start, he is one of the best in the business. The Sharks are also helped by the fact that players like Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are finally becoming factors in games. Even in the quarterfinals series against the Los Angeles Kings, it seemed like Marleau and Thornton were drifting around the ice. In this series, they are all business.

The Bottom Line

Things will be changing in Detroit after this season. Many of the remaining Stanley Cup players will retire, and the Red Wings will be left looking to rebuild. It will be interesting to see if the team can rebuild around a goaltender like Jimmy Howard. But, for now, the Red Wings are just no match for the Sharks.

Gambling Advisor blog Pick: San Jose Sharks


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