Pavel Datsyuk, Torrey Mitchell

Your one-stop source for Sharks-Red Wings Game 7 content


In just a few hours*, the Vancouver Canucks will know their Western Conference finals opponents. If the San Jose Sharks make it, the two teams can give each other a knowing nod about nearly coughing up a 3-0 series lead. Conversely, if the Detroit Red Wings end up winning, they would be just the fourth team in NHL history to pull off such a feat.

While a lot of things are up in the air, we know a few things about tonight’s game. Barring unforeseen injuries, Jimmy Howard and Antti Niemi will be in net. The star-crossed Sharks crowd will probably have a lot of nervous energy. Many sportswriters will make judgments about the San Jose franchise, especially in defeat.

The biggest concrete question revolves around the statuses of Ryane Clowe and Johan Franzen. Both remain game-time decisions, but we’ll let you know if that changes anytime soon.

Detroit @ San Jose (Versus) – 9 p.m. ET; Series tied at 3-3

At this point, you’re probably aware of all the pressure resting squarely on the Sharks’ shoulders. Any team in this position would be under pressure, but considering the time-honored tradition of labeling San Jose “chokers,” this game might mean even more for this franchise. It might not be fair, but people could very well lose their jobs if they end up on the wrong side of the handshake line tonight.

That’s not to say that the Red Wings aren’t facing pressure either, though. Not everyone on the team is past their primes, but this team is a bit on the older side, so some might wonder how many chances this core group has left.

If this series’ previous six games are any indication, we should be in for a dramatic and closely fought game. The one definite group of winners is fans of the game as a whole.

In case you haven’t been keeping up with PHT content on this game, here’s a quick rundown of some of the previews and other information regarding Game 7:

Want some other “bigger picture” stories about the Red Wings and Sharks? Check these posts out.

If those posts don’t cover enough bases for you, don’t worry. Versus will air a special one-hour preview for tonight’s Game 7 beginning at 8 p.m. ET. Enjoy tonight’s contest and remember, hockey fans: it’s OK if you must bite your nails, but stop if your fingers start to bleed.

* Unless this game turns out to be an epic multiple overtime affair, which would mean it would instead take several hours …

Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist
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DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

Fleury had 21 saves.

The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.

Fabbri’s first spoils McDavid’s debut as Blues down Oilers

Robby Fabbri, Justin Schultz
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Rookie Robby Fabbri scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period to help the St. Louis Blues beat Edmonton 3-1 Thursday night, spoiling Oilers rookie Connor McDavid‘s NHL debut.

Vladimir Tarasenko had the tying goal for the Blues near the midpoint of the second period, and Troy Brouwer added an empty-netter with 18 seconds remaining in the third. Brian Elliott finished with 23 saves.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored in the first period for Edmonton and Cam Talbot had 28 saves.

McDavid, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, took 22 shifts, played 18:07 and was on the ice for Brouwer’s goal. He had two shots on goal, and struggled on faceoffs – winning only three of 13.

Fabbri, a 19-year-old forward — and McDavid’s childhood friend — was also playing in his first NHL game. The Blues’ first-round pick in 2014 was one of three rookies in the St. Louis lineup, joining defensemen Colton Parayko and Joel Edmundson.

Nugent-Hopkins gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead late in the first period with a fluke power-play goal. He lost a face-off but when Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo tried to clear the puck it bounced off Alexander Steen and past Brian Elliott. Nugent-Hopkins was credited with the unassisted power-play goal with 2:38 remaining in the period.

Tarasenko tied it a 9:10 of the second after getting loose on a breakaway with a stretch pass from Alex Pietrangelo and beating Talbot through his legs.

Tarasenko, who signed an eight-year, $60 million extension in the offseason, was the last Blues player to score in his debut.

NOTES: McDavid and F Anton Slepyshev made their NHL debuts for the Oilers. … St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina dropped the ceremonial first puck. … The attendance was announced as standing room-only 19,327.