NHL on NBC: Wings go for 23 straight at home versus struggling Sharks

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Happy Hockey Day in America! Be sure to check out PHT throughout the day as we bring you features and previews of all the events, including a nine-hour NHL block of programming across NBC and NBC Sports Network.

Sunday at Joe Louis Arena, Hockeytown celebrates Hockey Day in America with a must-see – you guessed it – hockey game (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC). It’s the Detroit Red Wings, seeking their 23rd straight home victory, versus the team that’s eliminated them the last two postseasons, the San Jose Sharks.

While Detroit already owns the NHL record for most consecutive home victories within a single season, they can break the multiple-season mark of 22 that’s held by the Boston Bruins, who won the last 20 games of the 1929-30 season then won their first two the following year.

To put that record in perspective, when the Bruins set it, the Detroit team had just changed its name from the Cougars to the Falcons; there was a team from Philadelphia called the Quakers who had just moved from Pittsburgh, where they were called the Pirates; and Neil Armstrong had just been born.

So yeah, it’s a fairly long-standing record.

Friday at the Joe, the Wings earned their 22nd straight home win after Pavel Datsyuk took a brilliant no-look pass from teammate Henrik Zetterberg, weaved his way through the Nashville defense, and ripped it past Pekka Rinne with five seconds left in regulation to beat the Predators, 2-1.

“I kind of took a look and saw Pavel over there,” Zetterberg said, “so I knew there were just a few seconds left so there was nothing to lose so I tried to get him the puck and got lucky as it went through a lot of sticks before it got to him and he did the rest.”

The Sharks, meanwhile, won’t only be out to end Detroit’s historic run, they’ll be hoping to turn things around in the fifth game a daunting nine-game road trip.

Friday in Carolina, San Jose dropped its second straight in a 3-2 loss to the Hurricanes.

“I thought we lacked a lot of energy and jump and determination in the first two periods,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. “We didn’t win a lot of races to pucks. We didn’t establish body position around them. They were bigger and stronger than we were, quite frankly, and all of a sudden in the third period, we found it. … That desperation has to be there earlier.”