It seems it was over a year ago the last time the Red Wings took the ice in a playoff game. In fact, the time will be a full nine days from the game four stomping that took place in Arizona to the beginning of the conference semifinals in San Jose. Unlike the last time the Sharks and the Wings take on each other, this time the Red Wings come in rested and hungry to avenge last year’s defeat.
Last year there was too much pessimism following a major first round scare against the Coyotes that resulted in a rough seven game series. The Wings were off back-to-back trips to the Stanley Cup finals and any close series meant that trip three was not going to happen. When the NHL gave the Wings just one day off between the series’, and against a rested Sharks team, the signs were there for the Sharks to easily advance. Five games later, the Red Wings had squeaked out just a single victory and found themselves on the golf course by mid-May.
In the 2011 edition, the Sharks find themselves mired in a goaltending dilemma that came out of a difficult series with the Los Angeles Kings. If not for the Kings’ inexperience, we could be talking about the Wings-Preds series, but it was that incredible Sharks scoring attack of Clowe and Thornton that drove the Sharks into round two. Whether it’s Niemi or Niittymaki, both goalies will need to be pelted by shots, especially those that come from the injured Franzen and Zetterberg.
This series will not be as easy as the 2010 version for San Jose or the 2011 Phoenix series for Detroit. If this doesn’t read seven games all over it, then I don’t know what series ever will. Hopefully for all Red Wings fans, the team gets through the series quickly and without any injuries.