Those weren't the Wings that ousted the Flames. It couldn't have been. Detroit isn't supposed to be a physical team. But the veteran-laden squad proved that it can get nasty with the best of them -- and nasty was needed against Calgary. Detroit will need even more of it against the Sharks, who came through a physical battle with the Predators. The Wings' recipe for success remains the same: crash the net and get constant pressure in the offensive zone and production from the third and fourth lines. For the Sharks, they have to get something from their abysmal power play, which went just 2-for-30 in the first round. Also, young d-men, Matt Carle and Marc-Edouard Vlasic, must avoid breathers in the penalty box.
Joe Thornton Though he didn't light the lamp in the first round, Mighty Joe tallied six helpers -- which matched his output in four regular-season games against the Red Wings. What makes Thornton even more dangerous in this series is the production of Patrick Marleau, who had three goals and six points against the Preds. That gives the Sharks two lethal pivots, though you'll probably see them as linemates from time to time throughout this series. Thornton seems determined to carry the Sharks into the West final.
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Red Wings: Todd Bertuzzi After missing the first two games against the Flames, Bertuzzi finished strong with a goal and three points in the final three contests. If he can avoid silly penalties and get more shots on goal, Big Bert will be more than a handful for any of San Jose's blueliners -- as well as Evgeni Nabokov. Look for Bertuzzi to get stronger.
Sharks: Milan Michalek Playing on Thornton's line, the 22-year-old scored a team-high four goals in the first round. And if Michalek still has Mighty Joe as a linemate in the semifinals, look for much of the same. The gifted winger, as Sharks fan will attest, can be frustrating to watch at times because of his careless play, but he'll be a tough match for Detroit's back end.
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